Peggy Sue Thomas pleaded guilty, Friday, to a reduced charge of rendering criminal assistance. Thomas, formerly married to Roswell celebrity and owner of Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, Mark Allen, was originally charged with homicide in the 2003 murder of Russel Douglas. According to reports, Douglas was found deceased from fatal gun shot wounds in the front seat of his 2002 Chevrolet Tracker in Freelund on Whidbey Island, Washington.
Thomas allegedly plotted Douglas’ murder with her boyfriend, James Huden. She reportedly lured Douglas to his death. Douglas had been shot twice in the head. Huden was arrested in June, 2011. Thomas was apprehended in July 2011 on her houseboat “Off the Hook” near Farmington.
The one-time beauty queen and native of Washington State purportedly assisted in the killing because she believed Douglas was abusing his wife and children. Thomas had once worked as a beautician at a salon owned by Douglas’ wife.
Huden was convicted of first-degree murder last summer and sentenced to 80 years. According to the Seattle Times, the case has drawn national media coverage from NBC’s “Dateline” and “America’s Most Wanted.”
In an unprecedented move, Washington courts gave Thomas, who was free on $500,000 bail at the time, permission to attend a memorial for her recently deceased half-sister in Idaho and then allowed her to travel to Roswell to sell a house, go to her dentist, and collect her winter clothes in 2012.
Thomas continues to maintain her innocence. However, she accepts the lesser charge as the lesser of two evils. If she had been found guilty, she would be facing a 45-year prison term. Instead, Thomas will serve four years as an accessory.