Army Vet Christian Martin Accused of 2015 Pembroke, Kentucky Homicides; No Motive or Physical Evidence Produced by Authorities on Day of Arrest; Says He’s Innocent (May 11, 2019)

The latest: Major Martin became a “person of interest” to law enforcement officials in the Fort Campbell area after several bodies were discovered Nov. 19 at two different locations not far from his Pembroke, Ky., home. One of the bodies was that of Calvin Lee Phillips, 59, a man who lived across the street from the major and was set to testify during the aforementioned military trial. Following an emergency hearing Nov. 24, a military judge ordered the trial, set to begin Dec. 1, delayed indefinitely. -Bob McCarty (Nov. 30, 2015)

Christian Martin interview

Screenshot of Christian Martin’s interview with News 4 Tennessee about the Pembroke murders (April 28, 2016). Click here for raw video.

Facts:

  • Nov. 18, 2015: Calvin Phillips was found fatally shot in his home & the bodies of his wife Pamela Phillips & neighbor, Edward Dansereau, were found in Pam Phillips’ burned out car on Rosetown Road in Pembroke, Kentucky
  • April 28, 2016: Christian Martin interviewed with the local media about the Pembroke murders. He denied any involvement and was confident that he would not be accused of the crimes. He wanted to set the record straight.
  • May 13, 2016: Christian Martin was found guilty of two counts of mishandling of classified material & two counts of assault of a child; Martin was found not guilty on two charges of rape of a child & communicating a threat; Sentenced to three months in jail & discharged from the Army
  • July 11, 2018: Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear faces scrutiny for past campaign contributions; Beshear’s top deputy was accused of taking kick-backs and bribes for political donations; Republicans accused team Beshear of being corrupt; although it had been two years at the time of print, the money still had not been spent but Beshear vowed to donate any tainted contributions to Common Cause, a government watchdog group
  • May 10, 2019: Martin was indicted on three counts of murder; one count of arson; one count of attempted arson, burglary in the 1st degree & three counts of tampering with physical evidence; Authorities have not given a motive or said what led them to believe Martin was responsible
  • May 21, 2019: Attorney General Andy Beshear wins the Democratic primary for Kentucky governor
  • May 22, 2019: At arraignment, Christian Martin pleads not guilty; the State of Kentucky AG is holding him in jail with no bond and threatening the death penalty

“The Christian County Sherriff’s Department tells FOX 17 that both Major Martin and [Joan] Harmon are persons of interest in the triple murder that happened in Pembroke back in November. The department says it has interviewed Harmon twice about the murders and what she knows. However, the department refuses to say she’s a suspect.” –Fox 17 Nashville (May 11, 2016)

In the News (2019):

  1. Christian Martin interview with Channel 4 I-Team about Pembroke murders (April 28, 2016) [VIDEO]
  2. Beshear faces scrutiny for past campaign contributions (July 11, 2018)
  3. NCFM Member ‘Kit Martin’ Indicted for Murder in Kentucky
  4. Pilot With NC Ties Indicted In 2015 Triple Murder
  5. Past defense attorney for Army Major indicted in triple murder says he’s innocent
  6. Former Army Major indicted in triple murder, past attorney says he’s innocent
  7. Neighbors relieved after suspect arrested in 2015 Christian County murders
  8. Arraignment Set For Pilot Charged In 3 Killings In Christian County
  9. Arraignment set for pilot charged in 3 killings in Kentucky
  10. Fiancee of commercial pilot charged in Kentucky triple homicide says he’s ‘100 percent innocent’
  11. Dad died over evidence he gave Army, victim’s son says after pilot’s arrest in triple homicide
  12. Pilot accused of triple murder claimed in interview one victim had affair with his ‘bigamist’ ex-wife
  13. Pilot arrested at Louisville airport pleads not guilty in triple murder case
  14. Christian Martin, pilot arrested in triple murder, pleads not guilty
  15. Pilot accused in 2015 triple homicide could face death penalty
  16. Update: Man Indicted For 2015 Christian Co. Triple Murder Could Face Death, Held Without Bond
  17. Andy Beshear wins the Democratic primary for Kentucky governor
  18. Andy Beshear Wins Democratic Primary for Kentucky Governor

All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. Arrests and charges are accusations by legal authorities until a suspect is convicted of the crime.

*****************************************************

Timeline of Events

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2015:
NCFM sends letter to Secretary of Defense about the wrongful persecution of Major Christian “Kit” Martin
Army Major Questioned in Pembroke Murders
Nashville’s Fox 17 Omits Key Details From News Reports About Army Officer Caught Up In Murder Investigation
Man found dead inside Ky. home was witness in court-martial case
Man found dead was to be witness in court-martial case
Home, Cars of Fort Campbell Army Major Searched in Connection to Ky. Murders
Major Martin 9-2-15 Interview with Updates (November 30, 2015)
Attorney Cites ‘Foul Smell in the Air’ Surrounding Effort to Link Army Officer to Multiple Murders Near Fort Campbell
Computer custody questioned in sex assault hearing
Law-and-Order Veterans ‘Smell A Rat’ at Fort Campbell
Officials Identify Gunshot Victim Found Inside Home While Facebook Comments About Case Appear and Disappear
NCFM asks DoD Inspector General for Referral to U.S. Attorney General for Criminal Probe of JAG Prosecutors in the Case of U.S. Army Major Christian “Kit” Martin, then there’s the triple murder…
NCFM used in triple murder case article linked to the Army’s persecution of Major Martin

2016:
Kit Martin interview with Channel 4 I-Team about Pembroke murders
Recording of victim 2 weeks before murders reveals connections to person of interest
Witnesses say Army major physically, sexually abused them
Minors take stand in court-martial of Army major to accuse of sex abuse
Family of Fort Campbell Army Major says he’s Innocent in Triple Murder Case
Army major found not guilty of sexual assault charges
Major Christian “Kit” Martin is acquitted of child sex abuse
NCFM update, Major Christian “Kit” Martin Dodges a Bullet in Courts-Martial at Fort Campbell – Is Acquitted of Child Sex Abuse Charges
Ft. Campbell Army Major Found Guilty of Assault on a Child
Court-martialed Army major found guilty, sentenced
NCFM update in the False Accusation and Wrongful Conviction Case of Army Major “Kit” Martin
U.S. Army Major Christian “Kit” Martin: The Wrongful Conviction of an American Hero
Triple Murder, False Rape Allegations and the corruption of both a police department and the U.S. Army
False Accusation and Wrongful Conviction Case of Army Major “Kit” Martin
Police still seeking info in Pembroke triple-murder
Police still seeking info in Pembroke triple-murder

2017:
Family offers $100K reward for information on Pembroke triple murder
$100K reward offered in deaths of Ky. couple found in burned car
$100,000 Reward In Triple Homicide

2018:
Three Year Anniversary Of Unsolved Pembroke Triple Murders

Christian Richard Martin is facing several charges, in Christian County, Ky., including murder and arson. Martin moved from Kentucky to North Carolina after the murders, the Attorney General’s Office said. -WFMY News 2 (May 11, 2019)

2019 (Arrest):
NCFM Member ‘Kit Martin’ Indicted for Murder in Kentucky
Beshear: Man Indicted for 2015 Christian County Triple Murder
Kentucky AG indicts man of 3 counts of murders in 2015
Pilot With NC Ties Indicted In 2015 Triple Murder
Man indicted for 2015 Pembroke, Kentucky murders
Man indicted for 2015 Christian County triple murder
Man Arrested In 2015 Triple Slaying In Christian County
Christian R. Martin Indicted for 2015 Christian County Triple Murder
Pembroke Triple Murder Suspect A Pilot For American Airlines
Pilot accused of 2015 triple murder in Western Kentucky arrested at Louisville airport
Pilot arrested at Louisville airport, indicted for 2015 triple murder
American Airlines pilot arrested at Louisville airport for 2015 triple homicide
Airline pilot charged with killing 3 in Kentucky in 2015
Airline pilot arrested, charged in connection with 2015 triple murder in Kentucky
Airline pilot faces murder and arson charges in 2015 triple slaying in Kentucky
Two bodies in a burned car, another shot in his home. Years later, a former neighbor is indicted.
Christian Co. Grand Jury Unseals Triple Murder Indictment Friday
Man Indicted for 2015 Christian County Triple Murder: After meeting with family members two years ago Beshear’s office took over the case (May 11, 2019 Tweet)
Past defense attorney for Army Major indicted in triple murder says he’s innocent
Former Army Major indicted in triple murder, past attorney says he’s innocent

2019 (Arraignment):
Arraignment Set For Pilot Charged In 3 Killings In Christian County
Arraignment set for pilot charged in 3 killings in Kentucky
Martin arraigned in court for Pembroke murders
Pembroke triple homicide suspect entered not guilty plea at arraignment
Pilot arrested at Louisville airport pleads not guilty in triple murder case
Christian Martin, pilot arrested in triple murder, pleads not guilty
Raleigh pilot Christian Martin charged with triple murder pleads not guilty
Airplane pilot pleads not guilty in Kentucky triple murder case
Pilot charged in Kentucky triple slaying pleads not guilty
Pilot arrested at Louisville airport pleads not guilty in triple murder case
Pilot arrested at Louisville airport pleads not guilty in triple murder case
Commercial pilot pleads not guilty to 2015 triple murder charges
American Airlines Pilot Pleads Not Guilty To Murder
American Airlines pilot pleads NOT guilty to the 2015 murders of three people
Fiancee of commercial pilot charged in Kentucky triple homicide says he’s ‘100 percent innocent’
Dad died over evidence he gave Army, victim’s son says after pilot’s arrest in triple homicide
Pilot accused of triple murder claimed in interview one victim had affair with his ‘bigamist’ ex-wife
Neighbors relieved after suspect arrested in 2015 Christian County murders
‘Monster’ in the Cockpit: Inside the Crazy Case of the American Airlines Pilot Accused of Triple Murder
Kentucky town hopes for closure as pilot returns to face triple murder charges
‘Scars the community’ Pilot, former Army major held without bond in triple Kentucky murder
Who Is Christian Martin? New Details On The Army Major Turned Airline Pilot Arrested For Triple Murder
Christian Martin: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Pilot accused in 2015 triple homicide could face death penalty
Update: Man Indicted For 2015 Christian Co. Triple Murder Could Face Death, Held Without Bond

The Perfect Murder Premiered ‘Whidbey Island Mystery’ on Investigation Discovery: Peggy Sue Thomas Manipulated Jim Huden to Kill Russel Douglas (August 30, 2018)

ID Go: After Christmas in 2003, on Whidbey Island off the coast of Washington State, Russel Douglas is found shot in the head, in his car along a deserted road. It’s the start of a case that will take a decade to solve, and leave many with lingering questions. -Whidbey Island Mystery, The Perfect Murder (S5, E6)

Russel Douglas was found dead in his car on Whidbey Island in Washington on December 26, 2003. It turns out Navy veteran Peggy Sue Thomas lured him to his death. Both Peggy Thomas and Jim Huden conspired to murder Russel Douglas for revenge. Investigators suspect that the duo committed the murder for Peggy’s friend Brenna, who alleged abuse, but there was never enough evidence to charge Brenna Douglas with any crimes. Jim Huden was convicted and sentenced to eighty years in prison. Peggy Thomas agreed to a plea bargain in exchange for a reduced sentence. Thomas was sentenced to four years for her role in the murder. Peggy Thomas continues to deny any involvement in the murder and claims she didn’t know that her boyfriend at the time was going to kill Douglas (despite being the last to text him shortly before he was murdered). Peggy Thomas was released from prison in 2016.

In the News:

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

48 Hours:

How did a former beauty queen end up at the heart of a murder case? -48 Hours

The true-crime author of over two dozen New York Times bestsellers tells “48 Hours” she couldn’t help but write about the Russel Douglas case. -48 Hours

Gail O’Neil shares memories of her son, Russel Douglas, who was murdered on Sept. 26, 2003, on Whidbey Island, Wash. -48 Hours

Jim Huden’s former band mates talk to “48 Hours” correspondent Peter Van Sant about what it was like to find out their one-time lead guitarist was accused of murder. -48 Hours

Detectives allege Jim Huden and Peggy Thomas lured Russel Douglas to his death by asking to drop off a present for Russel’s wife, Brenna. Both Jim and Peggy claim the present was delivered to Russel days before the murder. When investigators surprise their suspects with simultaneous separate interrogations, they discover discrepancies. Do you think Jim and Peggy are making up a story to throw off investigators? -48 Hours

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

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)

Investigation Discovery:

ID Go: On tiny Whidbey Island, Washington, beauty queen Peggy Sue Thomas seems to be a perfect wife and mother. But when her best friend’s husband is shot to death, Peggy finds herself on center stage of a murder investigation. -If Looks Could Kill, Beauty Queen Murders (S1, E5)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the 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. Download the ID Go app and binge away. 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 $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

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
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
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)
If Looks Could Kill | Beauty Queen Murders | Investigation Discovery (S1, E5)
Whidbey Island Mystery | The Perfect Murder | Investigation Discovery (S5, E6)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Mistress of Death’ on Investigation Discovery: Linda Cowan Convinced Son Vinson Thomas-Ward Cowan to Kill Woman Next Door (July 7, 2018)

ID Go: Two women living next to each other since childhood descend into bitter conflict when the ex husband of one starts seeing the other. Add property issues to this toxic mix and the result is an act of shocking violence that engulfs all. -Mistress of Death, Fear Thy Neighbor (Investigation Discovery: S5, E6)

On December 18, 2009, Army veteran Vinson Thomas-Ward Cowan shot at and injured his neighbor Christie Jackson in Burnet, Texas. Christie Jackson and Vinson’s mother, Linda Cowan, were engaged in a bitter three month feud between neighbors after Christie’s estranged husband Rudy started dating Linda. What started out as a disagreement between neighbors ended in someone getting shot. It is believed that Linda Cowan enlisted the help of her son Vinson to shoot and kill Christie Jackson and he obliged because he was protective of his mother. Vinson followed through and indeed shot Christie in the head through the window of her own home. Miraculously, despite the severe head wound, Christie lived, but will forever be affected by the ordeal. On the night in question, Christie was sleeping with both her daughters who also are forever changed by the experience.

One of Vinson’s friends, Thomas Pierson, who was aware of the plan to shoot Christie and be a look-out that night, informed the police of Linda and Vinson’s plans to shoot Christie in retaliation for all the trouble she caused her. The bottom line was Linda wanted Christie out of the picture. Linda Cowan was jealous that Rudy continued to see Christie and their children and angry because she assumed Christie called the City of Burnet to complain about her septic issues. Linda wanted revenge and she wanted to date Rudy despite his intentions to continue seeing Christie. In 2013, Linda Cowan was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for second-degree felony of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. And Vinson Thomas-Ward plead guilty to ten years in prison for second-degree felony of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Christie’s mother sold the family home in Burnet.

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the 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. Download the ID Go app and binge away. 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 $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
Burnet woman gets 15 years for her role in 2009 shooting (2013)
Burnet County man gets 10 years for 2009 shooting of woman (2013)
Linda Sue Cowan, Appellant v. The State of Texas, Appellee (2015)
Mistress of Death | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S5, E6)

International Men’s Day: FIVE Female Killers who Murdered Male Soldiers and Veterans (November 19, 2017)

Full Episode: Dark Secrets are the stock-in-trade of Deadly Women -Dark Secrets, Deadly Women (S2, E4)

‘Black Widow’ Judy Buenoano Executed by the State of Florida for Three Homicides; First Woman to Die by Death Penalty in Florida Since 1848 (March 30, 1998)

Full Episode: For these women, one good man wasn’t enough. An army wife didn’t want a soldier but a squad. These Deadly Women married for the money, honey. -For the Money Honey, Deadly Women (S8, E11)

Army Veteran Doug Gissendaner Murdered for the Marital Home & Life Insurance, Wife Kelly Sentenced to Death for First Degree Murder & Executed in Georgia (1997)

Full Episode: An Army Major lay lifeless in his bed, shot twice at close range while sleeping next to his wife. Investigators would soon uncover an intricately planned murder plot involving sex parties, adultery and coercion. -Behind the Picket Fence, Scorned: Love Kills (S1, E1)

Army Major David Shannon Murdered by Wife Joan & her Daughter Elizabeth for the Life Insurance; Joan Shannon Sentenced to Life, No Parole (2002)

Full Episode: Marriage is a lifelong commitment of love, and wedding vows. ‘To have and to hold; for better, for worse; until death do us part’. But for these monstrous wives, it was only the vow of ‘death do us part’ they upheld. -To Love and To Murder, Deadly Women (S5, E5)

Maryland Army National Guardsman Charles ‘CJ’ Lewis Murdered Before Deployment to Iraq for Life Insurance; Teresa Lewis Sentenced to Death (2002)

Full Episode: These women burn madly with anger so deep they’ll kill to satisfy it. What makes them turn on the ones they love? Find out as we explore for a lover’s revenge. -Lover’s Revenge, Deadly Women (S5, E17)

Army Veteran Gregg Whitmore and Girlfriend Karen Cummings Stabbed to Death in Home; Ex-Wife Shana Parkinson Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison (2004)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the 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. Download the ID Go app and binge away. 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 $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Navy Corpsman Jhadin Davis Convicted of First Degree Murder of Father & Son Albert and Duane Correll; Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (July 31, 2017)

Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 5.22.06 PM

Jhadin Davis, U.S. Navy

Offenders: 
Jhaden Davis, 21, US Navy, Camp Lejeune, NC (GUILTY, Sentenced to LWOP)
Joseph Pirrotta, 24, Navy Veteran, Beaufort, NC (GUILTY, Accessory to Murder)
Brandon Smallwood, 23, US Navy, Camp Lejeune, NC (GUILTY, Accessory After the Fact)

The homicides of father and son Duane and Albert Correll in Beaufort, North Carolina were featured on Investigation Discovery. Duane and Albert were both shot on June 2, 2012 in the course of a robbery. Duane was born in Michigan and his love for fishing brought him to North Carolina; shortly after arriving, he met his wife. They had Albert a couple years later and he joined Duane’s wife’s daughter Andrea. Eventually, the couple split and Andrea lived with her mom and Albert lived with his father. Duane hurt his back and was disabled so he had a hard time working. Albert got a job and went to work so his father wouldn’t have too. They were close and bonded over their love for fishing. It was especially tragic that the pair would be discovered together with gunshots. Albert wasn’t breathing and Duane was dying, yet more concerned about the health of his son.

Albert and Duane were rushed to the hospital; Albert was pronounced dead at the scene. They had both been shot in the chest. The police began their investigation and learned that they had just returned from Wal-Mart. Investigators wondered if they got in an altercation and were followed home. They didn’t find any weapons at the scene. They started interviewing the 911 callers but nobody actually saw what went down. One witness said he saw a gray vehicle and two individuals, one was confronting Albert. The confrontation lead to gunshots and the witness ran into their home to call the police. It was too dark to get a good look at the suspects before they took off. Then another witness came forward and said they were dead because of her. A woman claimed that her ex was jealous of Albert and said he was going to kill him. The police wanted to speak to him.

The day before, Kevin Connor sent Albert some threatening texts. It read “you won’t live to see the sunrise” so the police set out to find him. Albert’s girlfriend told police where he lived; he was roommates with Joseph Pirrotta. When police arrived at their home, they located three individuals inside. They cleared the apartment and Kevin wasn’t there. Joseph was home with a couple of his friends. He recently had been in the Navy and was stationed at Camp Lejeune but had been dishonorably discharged due to drug use two weeks prior. Joseph informed the police that Kevin no longer lived at the residence but he had his phone number. He was asked to call him, he answered and informed Joseph where he was at. The police immediately went to apprehend him. Kevin said he didn’t do anything but was willing to cooperate with the police.

Kevin told them he heard that Albert was shot; he used his girlfriend and other friends as his alibi for the day. He acknowledged he had problems with Albert and admitted to sending him a threatening text but denied killing him. Kevin had an airtight alibi and was absolutely cleared. Surveillance video footage at Wal-Mart did not indicate any suspicious activity and like Kevin was another dead end. That same night, Duane Correll didn’t make it and died. The police visited with Albert’s mother the next day and she had just recently learned that Albert and Duane had died; she was not doing well and in complete disbelief. The family couldn’t think of anyone who held a grudge against them and would want to murder them. The police went back to Albert’s girlfriend and learned that she had a brief fling with Jhaden Davis and he may have something to do with it.

Homicide Victims:
Albert Correll, 20, Beaufort, North Carolina
Duane Correll, 50, Beaufort, North Carolina

Nicki told detectives things didn’t end well with Jhaden because he accused her of taking $300 from his bedroom and for some reason he decided to go after Albert thinking he could get the money out of him. A couple weeks before the homicides, Jhaden called Albert demanding his money. He told him to pay up or it wasn’t going to be pretty. Investigators learned Jhaden lived in the same apartment as Joseph Pirrotta and another guy named Brandon Smallwood. They were all in the Navy and stationed at Camp Lejeune together. Police went back to the residence to speak with Jhaden and learned he was on base. The roommate shared that Brandon and Jhaden stopped by over the weekend to pay rent; he also said no one had any weapons. They reached out to NCIS because they didn’t have jurisdiction on base and needed NCIS agents to assist them.

Local police interviewed Jhaden first and he claimed he was on base all weekend but there was no way to prove or disprove this but Jhaden was off-duty on the night of the murders. Brandon admitted that they did leave base for little while and went into town. Jhaden and Brandon were told not to leave the base. Police subpoenaed the phone records of Pirrotta, Davis and Smallwood. They also reinterviewed the friends hanging out at their apartment that night. During the interview, they suspected one of them was hiding something. They showed her pictures of the victims and were able to push her to the point that she decided to tell them everything. She told them Jhaden used her car prior to the murders. Jhaden left the apartment with Joseph Pirrotta. Jhaden returned a little after 10 p.m., a few minutes after the 911 calls. Jhaden & Pirrotta left the apartment and went back to Camp Lejeune. The next morning Jhaden came back and confessed.

Jhaden Davis told Victoria that he shot both Albert and Duane. It appeared that he was bragging and he implied to her that she better keep it quiet because now she knows what he was capable of. When confronted, Davis wouldn’t budge and said he was on base the whole time. Brandon said Davis and Pirrotta asked him if he wanted to go with them. Pirrotta was confronted and he spilled the beans on everything. He admitted that Davis wanted his $300 and revenge. They surprised Albert and Duane and then ambushed them; the Correll’s had no idea who was behind them. Davis first hit Albert with the butt of the gun, then shot Duane who was trying to protect Albert. Afterward, Davis shot Albert in the chest two times because Albert was the main target. Pirrotta said he thought they were going to rob them, not murder them. Davis took the money out of Albert’s wallet and Pirrotta told them where it was located.

Prosecutors moved forward with cases against Jhaden Davis, Joseph Pirrotta, and Brandon Smallwood. In July 2017, Jhaden Davis was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to two life sentences without the possibility of parole. In December 2017, Joseph Pirrotta pleaded guilty to robbery and accessory after the fact to murder and was sentenced to ten years in prison. In March 2018, Brandon Smallwood pleaded guilty to felony obstruction of justice and was sentenced to five to fifteen months, with credit for time served. Albert and Duane’s family feel like the whole thing was so senseless, all over a girl and $300. Albert and Duane Correll will not be forgotten. The family left behind loves and misses them and still waits for their calls.

Source: Hearts of Darkness, Murder Calls, Investigation Discovery

Investigation Discovery:

ID Go: A dying man calls 911 saying he’s been shot in the heart, and his son has also been shot dead. The shooter escapes into the darkness, and as detectives investigate, they navigate a complex group of suspects to uncover a tangled web of rage and revenge. -Hearts of Darkness, Murder Calls (S3,E5)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the 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. Download the ID Go app and binge away. 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 $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
Names of victims released in double homicide
Sheriff: shooting deaths related to recent larceny
Suspect search on in double homicide
Three Arrested in Double Murder of Corrells
Camp Lejeune sailors arrested in Beaufort killings
Camp Lejeune Navy Corpsmen arrested for double murder
Camp Lejeune Navy Corpsmen arrested for double murder
Three accused in murders make appearance
New twist in double murder case involving Climax-Scotts native
State, defense prepare for trial in murder case
Court Day for Suspects in Father/Son Murders
Double murder trial gets underway
Accused killer’s ex-roommate testifies in double murder trial
Witnesses: Davis later confessed to two shootings
Former Navy corpsman found guilty of killing father & son
Davis Convicted in Carteret Double Murder
Former Navy corpsman convicted in 2012 double murder
Former corpsman gets life in 2012 Beaufort double murder
Former corpsman gets life in 2012 Beaufort double murder [YouTube]
Albert Correll and his son Duane Correll were murdered by Jhaden Davis over a debt
Carteret homicide case featured on true-crime series
Carteret homicide case featured on true-crime series
Hearts of Darkness | Murder Calls | Investigation Discovery (S3,E5)
Navy Corpsman Jhaden Davis Murdered Father & Son Albert and Duane Correll During a Robbery Attempt in Beaufort, NC; Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (June 2, 2012)

Reasonable Doubt Premiered ‘Failure to Remember’ on Investigation Discovery: Penny Brummer Maintains Innocence in the 1994 Homicide of Sarah Gonstead (June 21, 2017)

Penny Brummer, a military vet, is accused of murdering her ex-girlfriend’s best friend in a jealous rage. However, Penny was so drunk that night she was in a blackout state. Can Chris and Melissa help fill in the gaps of her memory to prove her innocence? -Reasonable Doubt, Investigation Discovery

Air Force veteran Penny Brummer was convicted on October 1, 1994 of murdering her ex-girlfriend’s best friend 21-year-old Sarah Gonstead in Madison, Wisconsin. On March 14, 1994, after a night of heavy drinking with Penny, Sarah was shot in the back of the head execution style and found three weeks later in a secluded field. Detectives theorized that Sarah most likely trusted her killer. On this episode of Investigation Discovery’s Reasonable Doubt, Penny’s mother, Nancy Brummer, turned to Detective Chris Anderson and criminal defense attorney Melissa Lewkowicz to help her prove Penny’s innocence. Nancy believes the prosecution had no concrete evidence except for circumstantial evidence and she also believes the the jury was biased and led to believe that lesbians are inherently violent. Detective Anderson and Melissa Lewkowicz worked with Nancy Brummer by taking a second look at Penny Brummer’s case featured in the ninth episode of Reasonable Doubt aptly titled ‘Failure to Remember’. It’s their job to investigate the cases that family members swear are wrongful homicide convictions and in the end the duo share their assessment of guilt or innocence based on meticulous investigative work.

Nancy Brummer has been fighting to free her daughter for twenty-two years. She told Detective Anderson and Melissa that they were her last hope. The two learned that Sarah Gonstead left her mother’s house to go out for a night of drinking to celebrate her 21st birthday with her friend Penny but Sarah never came home. Twenty-five days later, Sarah was found in a secluded field in Madison. Sarah had been shot execution style in the back of the head and Penny was the last known person to see her alive. Eight days later, Penny was arrested and charged with first degree murder. Penny claims she pulled over to clean up some beer that spilled in her vehicle and Sarah exited the vehicle to walk half a block to her best friend Glenda’s house. But prosecutors painted a darker picture. They theorized the two got drunk and Penny drove Sarah out to a empty soy field and murdered her. Prosecutors believed the motive was jealousy because Glenda had just broken up with Penny and Penny blamed Sarah for the break-up. They claimed Penny wanted revenge and the jury bought it. Penny Brummer is currently serving life in prison and her first opportunity for parole is in 2045.

Detective Anderson and Melissa met with the Nancy Brummer first to hear her plea for justice. Nancy stated that she wanted to find the person who committed the crime and free Penny so she can come home. Nancy confirmed that Glenda and Penny were dating and broke up about a month prior to Sarah’s disappearance. Sarah was Glenda’s best friend and the three of them would hang out and party together. Penny was in her early twenties at the time of the homicide so her behavior was typical of most young people at that stage in their life. Nancy Brummer described Penny as very social and happy-go-lucky. She said Penny was really into sports and she was on the softball team and volleyball team in high school. Nancy opined Penny was a typical teenager and started drinking around the age of seventeen. After high school, Penny joined the Air Force and shared with her mom that it was hard being in the military because of the secrecy she had to maintain regarding her sexual orientation. Nancy Brummer believes that the jury was biased and led to believe that a lesbian is more prone to violence. She referenced a questionnaire that Melissa agreed was inflammatory and would need a second look.

The prosecution painted a picture that Penny was jealous of the friendship between Glenda and Sarah. The two were strictly friends and Sarah was straight. Nancy observed that Penny was sad and disappointed about the break-up but not what one would consider obsessive. She reminded Detective Anderson and Melissa that the prosecution had nothing: no physical evidence, no DNA, no blood evidence, nothing that tied Penny to the murder. The prosecution said the gun that was used in the commission of the crime was a 22 handgun that belonged to Penny’s father. Nancy admits that her husband’s gun did go missing and was never recovered. When Sarah’s body was found, Nancy said a witness came forward to the police and said that he had driven by the scene of the crime a day or two after the murder and saw a suspicious vehicle along the side of the road. He saw a man standing behind the vehicle with what looked like a pink and purple duffle bag and as it turns out, Sarah’s jacket was the same pink and purple color. Nancy said this evidence was ignored. Nancy informed both Detective Anderson and Melissa that even if they don’t find Penny innocent, she will keep fighting for her release.

Detective Anderson and Melissa began their investigation. Detective Anderson started with the man who was the eyewitness. This man told Detective Anderson that he did in fact see a vehicle by the side of the road near the location of where Sarah’s body was found in the field. He claims he made eye contact with the man in question but that was about the extent of it. He said after the man made eye contact with him, he put his head down. The eyewitness was concerned that this man was trying to move the body, after all it was only a couple days after she had gone missing. He said the police informed him that they already had a suspect in the case and he felt that his testimony was largely discounted and ignored. Melissa investigated the prosecutors jealousy motive. One of Penny’s close friends described her as a great friend and a someone she went bar-hopping with. Penny’s friend believes that she was a binge drinker and most likely an alcoholic because she would drink until she blacked out. Penny’s friends said she hoped she would get back together with Glenda but certainly didn’t act like a jealous ex-girlfriend. Penny’s friend Mary believes she is innocent.

Detective Anderson met with a forensic expert to go over the physical evidence or lack there of. The two examined the crime scene photos and other evidence available. The forensic expert didn’t see any signs of struggle and it appeared Sarah’s body fell forward after she was shot in the head. There was no sexual assault and no beating. It was an execution style killing and Sarah most likely knew and trusted the person who shot her. Sarah was walking in front of the perpetrator when she was shot in the back of her head. Detective Anderson visited the last known location of both Penny and Sarah, a local bar in Madison. A witness said Sarah and Penny were celebrating Sarah’s birthday because she had just turned twenty-one. The two had been drinking prior to their arrival at the bar but the witness didn’t think either appeared to be drunk. She said they showed up at the bar around 10:30 p.m. and left a couple hours later; they had a couple drinks while they were there. The witness observed they were both in great spirits and having fun and they were both able to carry on a conversation. On the night in question, Sarah was kind of quiet while Penny appeared to be enjoying herself with others at the bar. Neither of them were agitated or upset; they both appeared to be in a really good mood.

Detective Anderson interviewed Penny via the telephone. Penny said she dated Glenda for 8 or 9 months and admits she fell in love with her. She also claimed to have a nice friendship with Sarah. She shared that Sarah never did anything bad to her and never meddled in her relationship with Glenda. Penny said Glenda just decided one day to end things and told her she was going back on birth control. Penny assumed Glenda wanted to go back to guys. After the break-up, Penny was heartbroken. She admitted she got physical with Glenda one time; they pushed each other during an argument. On March 14, 1994, Penny said she got out of work around 7:30 p.m., got some beer, and went to Sarah’s house. Penny said they stopped at a couple bars and drank more beer. Penny said she doesn’t remember being at Jakes (the bar where the eyewitness last saw both Penny and Sarah at around midnight). Penny admitted she was an alcoholic then and was very intoxicated. Penny and Sarah were on their way to pick up Glenda when Penny spilled some beer in her car and stopped to clean it up. Penny said Sarah wasn’t feeling well so she started walking to Glenda’s house which was about a half a block away. Penny told Detective Anderson she doesn’t know why she didn’t take Sarah to Glenda’s house but she went home after cleaning her car. Penny reminded Detective Anderson that she isn’t the type to kill anyone, she didn’t have a weapon, and she had absolutely no reason to hurt Sarah.

In the meantime, Melissa looked at the questionnaire that was given to the jury asking them about their thoughts about lesbians and violence. Melissa said, as a criminal defense attorney, she would insist that the jury not be subjected to or see the questionnaire because it is inflammatory. Melissa also spoke with Glenda who was the glue that held the case together. Glenda claimed she dated Penny for about a year but wasn’t necessarily in love with her. Glenda claimed Penny drank a lot but could still function; she just wouldn’t remember it. Glenda described Sarah as a shy, soft-hearted, and loyal friend. Glenda believed that Penny was jealous of her friendship with Sarah. Glenda admitted that Penny did in deed find her birth control pills and assumed that she was breaking up with her so she could date men again. Glenda admitted she broke up with Penny because she was way too controlling. Glenda also claimed Penny was pissed that she broke up with her. When Glenda ended it, Penny shoved her and she shoved her back and kicked her out of her house. Glenda said the look in her eyes scared the crap out of her and she began to cry. Glenda believes they have the right person and is still grieving the loss of her friend.

Detective Anderson and Melissa met with Nancy Brummer to share the results of their investigation. Nancy claimed the jury was bias because of Penny’s sexual orientation and Melissa believes she was absolutely right. Melissa said the questions asked of the jury were highly prejudicial. Penny’s close friend felt that the motive of jealousy was crap but Glenda was 100% convinced Penny was the killer. Glenda claimed the motive in this case was vengeance. Glenda declared that if Penny gets out of jail, she is moving to another state because she is scared of her; if Penny did this once, who is to say she won’t do this again? Nancy doesn’t believe Glenda and said she is a good actress. Detective Anderson told Nancy he followed up with the eye witness at the scene of the crime and said this was a problem because each and every lead needs to be taken seriously. He also shared that only one of the detectives was alive and he refused to meet with him. Melissa confirmed that there is no physical evidence tying Penny to the crime. Detective Anderson addressed the gun they believed was used in the commission of the crime and Nancy confirmed the 22 they owned had indeed gone missing. Detective Anderson addressed the autopsy photos and shared that the forensic expert did not observe any signs of struggle. It was a cold night and if someone ran towards Sarah, she definitely would have heard it. Detective Anderson deduced Sarah was shot by someone she knew or was led into the field at gunpoint.

“Circumstantial cases are a series of little things that add up until they point in one direction.” -Detective Chris Anderson, Reasonable Doubt

Nancy Brummer said there was no way her daughter would have shot Sarah in the back of the head. But Detective Anderson had some serious issues with the fact that the only person who claims Penny was in a black out that night is Penny. He spoke with a bartender who claimed that Penny appeared to be functional. Jake’s bar is significant because it is less than two miles from where Sarah’s body was found. Detective Anderson noted that Penny said she couldn’t remember being at Jake’s that night but she remembered very specific things earlier and later that night. Detective Anderson felt it was suspicious that Penny remembered everything really well that night except being at this bar. Is this a form of convenient amnesia? Melissa empathized with why Nancy felt a sense of injustice all these years. The biased questionnaire, the ignored witnesses, and the overall investigation had major problems; the evidence was highly circumstantial. Penny was the last known person to see Sarah alive that night; Penny was last seen at a bar with Sarah which is located less than two miles from where Sarah’s body was found; Penny said she can’t remember being there but does remember a lot of details earlier and after Sarah went missing; Sarah was killed with a 22 and Penny’s father owned a 22 that was now missing; Penny was a military vet who was trained to shoot guns; and Sarah wasn’t trying to run away, she didn’t struggle, and she most likely knew and trusted her killer.

Why would Penny do this? Melissa shared that she read through the police reports and noted that Penny admitted she was heartbroken when things ended with Glenda. Penny also admitted that after the break-up she wondered who Glenda was with, where she was, and what she was doing. Penny also said Glenda was in her head 24 hours a day (obsessed) and that she resented Sarah because she assumed Sarah was trying to drag her back into the straight world. On the night of March 14, 1994, Penny did what she always did. Melissa explained Penny got really drunk, the break-up was fresh, her feelings were raw, and she spent the entire night with the person she believed came between her and the woman she loved. Melissa asked, “did Penny plan to walk Sarah into the woods or was it just a horrific idea fueled by fifteen drinks? Did she remember shooting Sarah, does she remember her falling to the ground, or does she not remember anything at all?” Ironically, Penny admits that prison saved her life. Penny believes she would not have made it to thirty had it not been for prison. Penny said she turned her life around behind bars. Based on the leads Nancy provided and an independent investigation, Detective Anderson and Melissa revealed there was nothing new in the investigation that would bring Penny home. They both suggested Nancy ask her daughter the tough questions and then she will know, even 22 years later.

“The problem is that the things Penny remembers are the things that will help her and the things that she can’t remember are the things that would potentially hurt her.” -Melissa Lewkowicz, Reasonable Doubt

Source: Reasonable Doubt ‘Failure to Remember’

Twenty-one years ago a jury found Penny Brummer guilty in the murder of Sarah Gonstead. The family of Brummer has spent those 21 years working to prove her innocence. Dave Delozier reports. -Channel 3000 | News 3 (December 14, 2015)

MJFA Links:
Sarah Gonstead was Shot Execution Style in the Back of Head After a Night Out Celebrating 21st Birthday with Friend & Air Force Veteran Penny Brummer (March 14, 1994)

Related Links:
Who Killed Sarah?
Seeking justice for Penny Brummer
New Trial for Penny Brummer, Wrongfully Convicted | Petition
Penny Brummer Defense & Support Fund by Truth in Justice

1994
Sarah Gonstead Murder

1995
Reasonable Doubt by Ingrid Ricks | The Advocate

1997
State of Wisconsin v. Penny L Brummer

2003
A short history of exposing misconduct

2005
Chapter 1: A tale of three young women
Chapter 2: A hole in her story
Chapter 3: A surprise witness appears
Chapter 4: Defense sows seeds of doubt
Chapter 5: Emotional debate ends in guilty verdict
Chapter 6: Supporters of Brummer offer their theories; they say the evidence was too thin and question makeup of jury
Gift enables investigative journalism class to probe old murder case

2012
Dane Co. DA Approves DNA Testing in 1994 Killing
Wisconsin DA approves DNA testing in 1994 killing
Will DNA Save Penny Brummer?
Spring Green woman could be cleared

2013
Innocence project founder promotes cause of Madison woman convicted of murder
Did Homophobia Convict a Wisconsin Woman of Murder?

2014
A Look Back After 20 Years
A look back at a 20-year-old murder and if the right person was convicted

2015
Who killed Sarah? The trial of Penny Brummer
Group questioning conviction of Penny Brummer in 1994 death of Sarah Gonstead
Reward offered in 21-year-old homicide conviction
$10,000 Reward Offered in Wrongful Conviction Case
Person of Interest Hits Wrongfully Convicted for Serving in U.S. Military
On Wrongful Convictions and Penny Brummer

2016
Penny Brummer’s fight for justice
The Lynching of a Madison Lesbian: Wisconsin’s Wrongful Conviction of Penny Brummer
Wrongful Conviction: Penny Brummer Is Innocent and Still in Prison
Richmond Crime Author Sheila Berry Takes on Wrongful Convictions Nationwide

2017
Penny Brummer convicted of murdering Sarah Gonstead, but is there Reasonable Doubt?

Books:
Who Killed Sarah? by Sheila & Doug Berry (2005) | Amazon
Who Killed Sarah? by Sheila & Doug Berry (2005) | Walmart

Video Links:
Reward offered in 21-year-old homicide conviction
Reasonable Doubt | Investigation Discovery | Amazon
Failure to Remember | Reasonable Doubt – Investigation Discovery
Failure to Remember | Reasonable Doubt | Investigation Discovery | YouTube

MFJA Links:
Sarah Gonstead Shot Execution Style on 21st Birthday; Friend & Air Force Veteran Penny Brummer Found Guilty of 1st Degree Murder, Sentenced to Life in Prison (March 14, 1994)
Air Force Veteran Penny Brummer Found Guilty of the 1st Degree Murder of Sarah Gonstead; Sentenced to Life in Prison with Possibility of Parole After 50 Years (October 1, 1994)

A List of Soldiers Targeted & Murdered for Military Survivor and Life Insurance Benefits (SGLI)

21328_sgli

This research is not complete. As a matter of fact, it has only just begun. This list was created as a result of one google search and the discovery of a few cases as research is conducted in other areas. The majority of these murder for life insurance cases are examples of civilian women targeting mostly Army soldiers. Criminals are in fact targeting soldiers for lifetime benefits including monthly financial benefits, housing, medical, and the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance. The best armor is education. If it seems too good to be true then it probably is. If it appears that your significant other is especially interested in financial matters despite just meeting them, red flag. If they appear adept in how the military works and begin controlling you by threatening to go to your Commander, is that love? How many other soldiers did they marry or date before you? Often we want to overlook things for the sake of peace and the benefit of the children involved. Is it fair that you are an after thought and all that really matters is your paycheck? Be careful of who you let in your world and who you marry. Most of these cases involve a woman targeting a male soldier. Was there substance abuse and/or domestic abuse prior to the final act of homicide? Did they verbally threaten the soldier’s life? Did the soldier feel trapped because they had nowhere to turn without risking their career? How can we prevent these crimes from happening in the future?

All our soldiers need a safe place to turn if they suddenly realize they are trapped in a situation they didn’t bargain for. Spouses literally have a license to abuse on a federal military base. The Commander cannot hold them accountable because they are civilians. Civilian authorities do not have jurisdiction on federal bases. Who holds civilian spouses accountable on federal bases for crimes against soldiers? How often is the soldier punished and held accountable for the spouse’s behavior? Will reporting these crimes mean risking losing their career? Are our male soldiers afraid they won’t be believed or they will be belittled by their Chain of Command and Commander? The spouses who have you murdered in the end for the life insurance are the same spouses that will level false allegations against you, use the children as a weapon, and blow your money while you are fighting wars and risking your life in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our soldiers need a safe way to exit domestic abuse situations without worrying about this same spouse lying to the Commander to manipulate the narrative. This is why seasoned investigators would benefit our soldiers to help evaluate and assess the situation in an effort to keep people safe and prevent further harm. We cannot ‘believe all women’ as evidenced by the female perpetrators in the majority of these life insurance motivated homicide cases. As of now we are dependent on the assessment of one Commander. It all depends on who can tell the best sob story. You have a 50/50 chance at justice in the military if you are dealing with some kind of sociopath hell bent on revenge because you rejected them. Is this why soldiers are not reporting domestic abuse and instead ending up dead?

In Their Name:
James Goodyear, US Air Force (Orlando, Florida, 1971)*
Kenneth Barnes, US Army (Fort Gordon, Georgia, 1972)*
Chester Garrett, US Army (Fort Bliss, Texas, 1977)*
Lee Hartley, US Navy (Jacksonville, Florida, 1982)*
Bill Lipscomb, US Air Force (Lackland AFB, Texas, 1986)
Anthony Riggs, US Army (Fort Bliss, Texas, 1991)*
Joseph Snodgrass, US Air Force (Clark AFB, Philippines, 1991)
David Russo, US Navy (Lemoore Naval Air Station, California, 1994)*
Elise Makdessi, US Navy (NAS Oceana, Virginia, 1996)*
Doug Gissendaner, US Army Veteran (Auburn, Georgia, 1997)*
Kevin Spann, US Army (Fort Gordon, Georgia, 1997)*
Marty Theer, US Air Force (Fayetteville, North Carolina, 2000)*
Lynn Reister, US Army (Fort Bliss, Texas, 2002)*
David Shannon, US Army (Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 2002)*
Jeremy Meyers, US Army (Fort Lewis, Washington, 2003)
Gary Prokop, US Army (Fort Hood, Texas, 2003)*
Paul Berkley, US Navy Reserve (Raleigh, North Carolina, 2005)*
Michael Severance, US Air Force (Dyess AFB, Texas, 2005)*
Donald Gower, US Army (Fort Hood, Texas, 2007)
Gilbert Hart, US Army Retired (Clarksville, Tennessee, 2009)*
Remano Campbell, US Army Veteran (Mobile, Alabama, 2011)*
Travis McGraw, US Air Force Reserve (Saluda, North Carolina, 2011)
Isaac Aguigui, US Army (Fort Stewart, Georgia, 2014)*
Alphonso Doss, US Navy (Orange Park, Florida, 2014)*
John Eubanks, US Army (Fort Stewart, Georgia, 2014)*
Brandon Horst, US Army (Minnesota National Guard, 2014)*
Michael Walker, US Army (Aliamanu Military Reservation, Hawaii, 2014)
Michael Andrews, US Army (Fort Benning, Georgia, 2015)*
Dmitry Chepusov, US Navy (Armed Forces Network, Germany, 2015)*
Jonathan & Lenin Otero, US Army (Florida National Guard, 2015)
Nathan Paet, US Air Force (Nellis AFB, Nevada, 2015)*
Elizabeth Shelton, US Navy (Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, 2015)**
David Wi, US Army (Fort Campbell, Kentucky, 2015)

The asterisk (*) denotes that the soldier was a victim of homicide or attempted homicide for the insurance money. **Elizabeth Shelton and unborn baby survived the murder-for-hire plot.

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)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Burn Neighbor, Burn’ on Investigation Discovery: In Retaliation, Andrew Sindriewicz Burned Down Two Family Homes in New York (May 4, 2016)

ID Go: In peaceful Alden, New York, siblings who live in neighboring houses get into a conflict when their prodigal brother returns home. Soon, the family is at each other’s throats until their war finally comes to a shocking, fiery end. -Burn Neighbor, Burn, Fear Thy Neighbor (S3, E6)

Date: June 3, 2009
Victims: Helena & David Ward, Raymond Sindriewicz, and Holly & Dale Earsing
Offender: Andrew Sindriewicz, 49, Marine Corps veteran, disabled, caretaker for mother
Location: Alden, New York
Circumstances: Brothers Raymond and Andrew didn’t get along as they got older, Raymond moved in next-door with his sister Helena due to failing health, Andrew started blasting heavy metal music in the garage and Raymond asked him to turn down the music, Andrew would turn it down initially but after Raymond left, he turned it back up, Andrew harbored grudges, sister Helena described Andrew as menacing, Andrew had a dark side, Raymond collected furniture that he restored & sold at local flea markets, Andrew didn’t like all the junk collecting on his sister’s property, Andrew trimmed a tree that dropped on Raymond’s furniture but he wouldn’t admit he did it on purpose, Andrew refused to turn down loud music, Andrew and Raymond got in a physical altercation because of the loud music, Andrew was accidentally cut by the skill saw, Andrew became distraught about their oldest sister who died, Andrew pointed a gun at his sister Helena one night, Andrew suffered with anxiety, Andrew wouldn’t leave the house because he was afraid Raymond would shoot him, Helena called the police for fear that Andrew would commit suicide, instead Andrew was charged with menacing behavior and possession of a deadly weapon, Helena felt bad that he was arrested and went to bat for him at court, the charges are dropped, but Andrew didn’t forgive her, their mother died in the spring of 2007, Raymond was cut out of the will, Raymond felt betrayed that he got nothing and believed that Andrew manipulated their mom, Andrew and sister Helena inherited their mom’s house but Andrew had no money to maintain the house, Andrew wanted his niece and her family to move into the house and help him pay the bills, Andrew turned the garage into his permanent home after they moved in, Andrew started getting annoyed with the children and their messes, Andrew played loud music day after day and wouldn’t turn it down as if he was torturing everyone, niece Holly called the police on Andrew who pretended to be asleep, Holly hoped the issue was settled but it was not, Andrew was very upset that she called the police, the kids got a new puppy but Andrew was not happy because they didn’t ask his permission first, Andrew got his own dog and gave the dog commands to bite their dog, he hoped his dog would kill their dog, Dale confronted Andrew and they got in a fight, Andrew resorted to underhanded tactics like removing the A/C unit from the window, Andrew stopped talking to Holly and Dale, everyone was walking on eggshells, Andrew blasted his music later and later into the night so Holly & Dale shut off his power one night, Andrew tried breaking into their home and they called the police but he couldn’t be charged because it wasn’t criminal in nature, it was a nuisance, there was nothing the police could do to help Holly and Dale, Helena obtained a court order on June 2, 2009 allowing her to sell their mother’s property without Andrew’s say, Andrew was not happy, when Helena returned home the next day, her house was on fire, Dale and Holly’s home was also on fire, both homes were permanently damaged, the family pet was trapped inside and died, the garage apartment also was engulfed in flames, authorities initiated a manhunt for Andrew, the presumed arsonist, after the fire was out, firefighters discovered Andrew’s body in his mother’s home, after an investigation, the family learned that Andrew was seen filling gas cans in town, he poured gasoline all over the properties and then he cut the gas lines, Andrew also purposefully killed the dog and himself in the house fire, neither house was salvageable
Disposition: Andrew Sindriewicz died in the housefire, ruled suicide

Related Links:
N.Y. family dispute ends with fiery death
Sibling dispute turns tragic, ending in arson and suicide Brother dies after setting fire to 2 homes
Fire rescue of man poses a puzzle
Burn Neighbor, Burn | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (website)
Burn Neighbor, Burn | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S3, E6)