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)

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)


When the Violence Comes Home

A new study in the Journal of Family Violence starts off with a strong, hard truth: “Female Veterans experience intimate partner violence (IPV) at alarming rates.” Women in military service, the authors say, are not only at risk of sexual assault while they are serving; they are also at a much greater risk of domestic violence at home than non-vets. The authors, led by Katherine M. Iverson at the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, say that the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) needs to be much better equipped to detect and treat this persistent and troubling phenomenon than they are now.

Read more:

Army Pvt. Elizabeth Lynch-Gonzalez Died By Suicide After Jumping Off the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York (June 10, 2010)

Elizabeth Lynch

Pvt. Elizabeth Lynch-Gonzalez, U.S. Army

Army Pvt. Elizabeth Lynch-Gonzalez, 19, died on June 10, 2010 after jumping off the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York. Her death was ruled a suicide.

Related Links:
19-Year-Old Dies in Plunge Off Tappan Zee Bridge
Police Confirm Elizabeth Lynch-Gonzalez’s Body Washes Ashore
Witnesses recount pleading with TZ jumper
Community Says Farewell to Elizabeth Lynch-Gonzalez
Army pvt. bound for Hood jumps from NY bridge
Soldier who jumped to her death was upset about deployment

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams Featured ‘The Other PTSD: Sexual Abuse of Women in the Military’ (May 4, 2007)

The Other PTSD: Sexual Abuse of Women in the Military, NBC Nightly News (May 4, 2007)

“All the stories you hear about women not doing anything about it and crawling into their own little hole and hiding from it and not talking about it — I always thought, ‘Well, that’s ridiculous. If it happens to me, I’m gonna be out there,” Tina says. “That’s not what I did at all. I hid and I didn’t talk about it.” –NBC Nightly News

Related Links:
The Other PTSD: Sexual Abuse of Women in the Military (May 4, 2007)
Military sexual trauma — the new face of PTSD | NBC Nightly News
Men’s Trauma Recovery Program (MTRP) | Department of Veterans Affairs
Women’s Trauma Recovery Program (WTRP) | Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans for Peace: Sexual Assault on Military Members Press Conference, Seattle, Washington (August 11, 2006)
Jamie Leigh Jones Testified at the House Judiciary Committee Halliburton/KBR Iraq Rape Case Hearing (December 19, 2007)
Air Force TSgt. Jennifer Norris Testified Before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington DC (January 23, 2013)
CBS News: Sexual assault victim, “The system is rigged” (May 16, 2013)
Paying It Forward Thanks to Army Specialist Suzanne Swift (March 6, 2016)
Christine Hassing Published ‘Jennifer and Onyx’ | Our Story of Triumph & Hope After Military Sexual Trauma (February 17, 2019)

Chicago Tribune Published ‘In War Without Front Lines, Women GIs Caught in Chaos’ (March 11, 2004)

Xatavia Hughes, an Iraqi war vet is looking for a safer neighborhood for herself and two sons. She is in her current home in the Englewood neighborhood on Nov. 6, 2013. -Chicago Tribune (December 2, 2013)

“One woman saw the military as a stop along the path of higher education. The other saw service as a road out of poverty. They enlisted in what’s typically thought of as a man’s world, and they both died in it. When Pfc. Nichole Frye’s convoy was attacked with a roadside bomb in Baqouba, Iraq, in February, she became the 15th servicewoman to die in the Iraq war, equaling the official number of female soldiers killed in the 1991 Persian Gulf war. When Capt. Gussie Jones, 41, died Sunday of a heart attack in the Baghdad hospital where she served as an Army surgical nurse, that gulf war total was officially surpassed. The conflict in Iraq now has the designation of claiming the lives of more U.S. servicewomen than any hostile theater since World War II, according to Department of Defense statistics. The stories of women like Frye and Jones–what drew them to the military and how they died in that service–reveal much about the role of American military women in Iraq.” -Chicago Tribune (March 11, 2004)

Read more ‘In War Without Front Lines, Women GIs Caught in Chaos’ from the Chicago Tribune here

Related Links:
Once homeless female vet struggles in civilian life | Chicago Tribune
In war without front lines, women GIs caught in chaos