Beauty queen gets 4 years after slaying

Feb. 17, 2013 at 2:24 PM   |   Comments

COUPEVILLE, Wash., Feb. 17 (UPI) -- A former Washington state beauty queen will spend four years in prison for her role in helping lure a man to his death, prosecutors said.

Peggy Sue Thomas, a former Ms. Washington who married a millionaire after joining the Navy, took a plea deal in Washington Superior Court to first-degree rendering criminal assistance in Russel Douglas' murder last month. Judge Alan Hancock sentenced her to a prosecution-recommended sentence of four years behind bars after prosecutors deemed a first-degree murder charge was too risky to take to trial, the Seattle Times said Saturday.

Thomas is accused of luring Douglas to a remote location on Whidbey Island, Wash., in December 2003, where Thomas' lover, James Huden, fatally shot Douglas.

Huden was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to 80 years in prison.

Thomas and Huden were accused of plotting Douglas' death. Thomas had worked as a beautician at a salon owned by Douglas' wife.

The motive for the killing remains a mystery. A tipster called Island County police saying Huden had confided about the killing, sparking the investigation. Huden refused to divulge the couple's reason for targeting Douglas during his own trial.

"She has escaped a major-league crime for a minor-league sentence," said Jim Douglas, the victim's father, said in court Friday.

Thomas was previously married to Alaska oil millionaire Mark Allen, whose horse, Mine That Bird, won the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

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