Killer Couples Premiered ‘Peggy Thomas and Jim Huden’ on Oxygen: Russel Douglas Found Shot Execution Style on Whidbey Island the Day After Christmas (August 27, 2016)

Russel Douglas

Russel Douglas, Whidbey Island, Washington

Russel Douglas was found murdered in his car in a remote location on Whidbey Island in Washington on December 26, 2003. Russel was shot execution style in the head and there were few clues at the scene but the police knew it was a murder because they couldn’t find the gun. It took the police a few years but eventually they got a phone call from someone who said they had information about a murder. Investigators learned that a man by the name of Jim Huden admitted that he wanted to kill someone and did in fact kill someone. Through the course of the investigation, they also learned that Jim, who was married, had been having an affair with Peggy Thomas, a Navy veteran and former beauty queen in Washington. Peggy was the connection to Russel Douglas because she once worked with his wife Brenna at a hair salon and Russel’s wife was renting a home from her on Whidbey Island. When Jim Huden and Peggy Thomas were interviewed by the police, they didn’t admit to anything and would not cooperate. Therefore, detectives didn’t have enough evidence to arrest them.

After being questioned by police, Jim Huden started drinking more and fled to Mexico; Peggy Thomas got married and divorced; and the police continued investigating Russel Douglas’ murder. And then the unexpected happened. Jim’s estranged wife was arrested for drugs and check fraud. Detectives offered her a deal and promised if she gave them information about the Russel Douglas’ murder and where Jim was located, they would drop the charges against her; she gave them the information. Investigators began developing a theory based on the witnesses they had interviewed and the evidence they gathered. They believed the end game was money for Peggy and she was the one that put things in motion. Russel and his wife were having marital problems and investigators believe that Peggy offered to help Brenna murder her husband in return for some of the life insurance pay out. They theorized that Peggy convinced Jim that Russel was abusive so he would want to kill him. Jim was abused as a child so he was easily manipulated to believe that Russel deserved to die. In the end, both Peggy and Jim conspired to murder Russel Douglas for different motives.

Jim Huden wanted revenge for his childhood abuses and Peggy Thomas wanted cash. Investigators suspected the duo committed the murder for Brenna who claimed Russel abused her but there was no past history of domestic violence or child abuse on record; Jim didn’t know that and most likely went on the word of Peggy who used it to manipulate him. In court, Brenna testified that Russel mentally abused her but never admitted to any physical abuse. Unfortunately, police didn’t have enough evidence to charge Brenna Douglas with any crimes because both Jim and Peggy refused to talk. Jim Huden and Peggy Thomas were charged with Russel Douglas’ murder. In July 2012, Jim Huden was found guilty and sentenced to eighty years in prison. A month later, Peggy Thomas agreed to a plea deal in exchange for a reduced sentence and was given four years in prison for her role in the murder. Jim refused to testify against Peggy and pleaded the fifth at her trial. Peggy continues to deny any involvement in the murder and claims she didn’t know Jim was going to kill Russel. Peggy Thomas was released from prison in 2016.

Killer Couples (Oxygen):

A Las Vegas red haired siren and her millionaire boyfriend become suspects in a murder, hundreds of miles away. -Peggy Sue Thomas & Jim Huden, Snapped: Killer Couples

Killer Couples: S8 E4 After the Verdict – Peggy Thomas and Jim Huden | Oxygen

Killer Couples: S8 E4 Bonus Clip – Peggy’s New Self | Oxygen

Full Episode: A Las Vegas red haired siren and her millionaire boyfriend become suspects in a murder, hundreds of miles away. -Peggy Thomas & Jim Huden, Snapped: Killer Couples (S8, E4)

In the News:

From pageants to famous husband to prison, murder suspect allowed to visit NM. -KRQE (October 7, 2011)

Related Links:
Peggy Sue Thomas: Drop-Dead Gorgeous
Documents show victim’s wife is suspect in murder
Washington jury says ‘guilty’ in Russel Douglas murder
Former Washington beauty queen pleads guilty to lesser charge in murder case
Ex-beauty queen gets 4-year sentence in killing
Ex-beauty queen sentenced for role in Whidbey Island murder
48 Hours: Tracing a fugitive killer’s footsteps in Mexico
Man lured to his death by beauty queen and wannabe rockstar on Boxing Day
‘I’m giving up four years of my life for something I didn’t do’: Ex-beauty queen jailed for helping her lover carry out 2003 murder claims she is an innocent ‘victim’
Peggy Sue got released: TV show recounts sensational Whidbey Island murder
Peggy Thomas, Jim Huden: ‘Snapped Killer Couples’ Details Whidbey Island Murder Case Involving Sultry Beauty Queen and Rock Star Lover
Murder of Russel Douglas by Jim Huden spotlighted on The Perfect Murder
Pageants to Famous Husband to Prison
If Looks Could Kill | Beauty Queen Murders | Investigation Discovery (S1, E5)
Snapped: Killer Couples ‘Peggy Thomas and Jim Huden’
Sneak Peek: Dangerous Beauty | 48 Hours
Why Ann Rule was intrigued with the Russel Douglas murder case | 48 Hours
Remembering Russel Douglas | 48 Hours
Band mates open up about rocker, murder suspect | 48 Hours
Suspects surprised with simultaneous, separate interrogations | 48 Hours
Whidbey Island Mystery | The Perfect Murder | Investigation Discovery (S5, E6)
Russel Douglas Found Murdered on Whidbey Island in Washington; Navy Veteran Peggy Thomas & Lover Jim Huden Convicted For Their Roles in the Homicide (December 26, 2003)
The Perfect Murder Premiered ‘Whidbey Island Mystery’ on Investigation Discovery: Peggy Sue Thomas Manipulated Jim Huden to Kill Russel Douglas (August 30, 2018)

Oxygen:
Peggy Sue got released: TV show recounts sensational Whidbey Island murder
Peggy Thomas, Jim Huden: ‘Snapped Killer Couples’ Details Whidbey Island Murder Case Involving Sultry Beauty Queen And Rock Star Lover
Peggy Thomas and Jim Huden (Oxygen website)
Killer Couples: S8 E4 Preview – Peggy Thomas and Jim Huden | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E4 After the Verdict – Peggy Thomas and Jim Huden | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E4 Bonus Clip – Peggy’s New Self | Oxygen
Peggy Thomas & Jim Huden | Snapped: Killer Couples | Oxygen (S8, E4)

Missy Berry Found Murdered in Stopped Vehicle at Intersection; Army Veteran Clifford McDaniel Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (September 17, 1994)

Hard-working fast food manager Missy Berry is found dead in an idling car at a deserted intersection. Kenda discovers suspects from Missy’s past who may have wanted her dead. But a surprise twist in the investigation leads him into uncharted territory. -Drive Thru Murder, Homicide Hunter (S2,E6)

Missy Berry was found shot execution style in a stopped vehicle at a Colorado Springs intersection on September 17, 1994. As Lt. Joe Kenda investigated the homicide, he learned Missy Berry dropped off the deposits every night after she left work. Lt. Kenda found out the money was never deposited and was not in her vehicle; he suspected robbery was the motive. Lt. Kenda learned from a fellow officer that a man who looked like he worked at the restaurant was hanging out in the parking lot around the time Missy left work. It was believed this man most likely asked Missy for a ride but at the time the police officer thought nothing of the interaction. Kenda wondered who at work might have asked Missy for a ride. Kenda spoke with the restaurant manager to find out who might have a motive to kill Missy. The store manager thought maybe it was a guy named Darren who she suspected was into drugs. Kenda tracked down Darren Haney and found him in the hospital waiting for his child to be born. He was cleared.

Darren offered Kenda a valuable piece of information. He suggested that his co-worker George Clifford McDaniel may have a motive to kill Missy Berry because he hated her. He said he wanted that bitch dead a couple weeks earlier. Apparently, Missy gave Cliff a hard time about his work and the fact that he was a mommy’s boy. Kenda learned Cliff lived one block away from the scene of the crime. At this point, Cliff was Kenda’s primary suspect after learning he fit the description offered by the police officer who observed him hanging around the parking lot. Kenda learned Cliff was the son of a former military police officer. He was born in England and his mother married a serviceman. Cliff too served in the U.S. Army for a couple years. He appeared helpful, cooperative, and didn’t raise any red flags with Kenda. His family was having a hard time financially and Cliff was working at the restaurant to help the family. He said he was with his friend Ronnie Houston watching a movie until 1:20 a.m.

Before the interview wrapped up, Cliff McDaniel suggested it was someone who asked Missy for a ride. Kenda checked out McDaniel’s alibi. Ronnie Houston admitted Cliff was there but Ronnie’s rendition of events did not match those shared by Cliff. Cliff said he left Ronnie’s at around 1:30 a.m. but Ronnie said Cliff left at 11:30 p.m. Cliff could not account for this two hour gap. Ronnie shared another important piece of information. He said Cliff had a gun and said he was planning to rob the restaurant. Kenda now believed Cliff asked for a ride from Missy, shot her at the intersection, and stole the night deposit. When Kenda went to arrest Cliff for suspicion of murder, he learned Cliff was no longer in town. They searched his home but didn’t find any physical evidence in the house tying him to the crime. After Kenda reminded the family they could be charged with accessory to murder, Cliff’s mother told Kenda he was in London, England. The police needed to find Cliff McDaniel because they were afraid he would do this again.

Kenda interviewed the travel agent who arranged the one-way ticket for Cliff. Kenda believed Cliff’s escape to London was a sure sign of guilt and he was going to bring this international fugitive to justice. They contacted New Scotland Yard to ask for assistance with the search of Cliff McDaniel. He was staying with family, the same aunt he told the travel agent had died. New Scotland Yard arrested Cliff McDaniel however getting him back to the states was a whole new battle. England would not honor the extradition unless the State of Colorado agreed not to execute him. With the help of the U.S. State Department, Kenda was able to extradite Cliff McDaniel back to the United States. The Crown Judge agreed to sign an international extradition warrant. Cliff thought he would get away with this murder and move on in England. The stolen money and murder weapon were never recovered but nonetheless McDaniel was convicted. George Clifford McDaniel was found guilty of one count of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Source: Drive Thru Murder, Homicide Hunter, Investigation Discovery

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
Marchel Fay “Missy” Berry (1962-1994) – Find A Grave Memorial
Drive Thru Murder | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S2,E6)
Drive Thru Murder | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
Drive Thru Murder | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Drive Thru Murder | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
Marchel Fay “Missy” Berry murder 9/17/1994 Colorado Springs, CO *George Clifford McDaniel convicted of her murder, sentenced to LWOP*
Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘Drive Thru Murder’ on ID: Army Veteran Flees From Colorado After Execution Style Murder & Robbery (November 13, 2012)
The PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. George C. McDANIEL, Defendant (March 13, 2003)