Washington Judge allows murder defendant, Peggy Sue Thomas, to take road trip/Thomas sentenced to four yrs in prison

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Normal Washington Judge allows murder defendant, Peggy Sue Thomas, to take road trip/Thomas sentenced to four yrs in prison

Post by raine1953 on Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:36 am

AP) SEATTLE - A Washington state judge is letting a murder defendant take a two-week, five-state road trip so she can attend her half-sister's memorial service, go to the dentist and pick up some winter clothes.
Former hairdresser Peggy Sue Thomas was arrested this summer at her houseboat in New Mexico and charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors say that in 2003 she lured a man named Russ Douglas to the spot on Whidbey Island north of Seattle where he was killed.

Thomas, free on $500,000 bail, asked a judge this week for permission to attend a memorial for her recently deceased half-sister in Idaho, and to travel to New Mexico, Utah and Nevada to take care of a few chores — preparing to sell a house, going to her dentist, and picking up her winter clothes, among other things.

In an oral ruling on Monday, Judge Michael Moynihan agreed, over the objections of Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks. The judge also delayed Thomas' arraignment a week, to Oct. 31, to accommodate the trip.

"That's the first time I've ever seen anything like that," Banks said Thursday. "We're sure hoping she comes back."

Thomas will be on GPS monitoring during her travels, but Banks said she may be out of signal range at various points — meaning the company that conducts the monitoring might not immediately know if she flees the country.

Her attorney, Craig Platt, did not return a call seeking comment Thursday. But in asking the judge for permission, he noted that she has so far complied with the terms of her pre-trial release and said she'd be happy to check in with law enforcement during her trip.

He laid out a tentative itinerary that includes Thomas driving to Bonners Ferry, Idaho, to attend the memorial before flying to Albuquerque, N.M., to stay with one of her daughters. She'll then drive to her home in Roswell, N.M., to pick up photographs and other items she says could be crucial to her defense.

She also needs to arrange for repairs at the house so she can prepare to sell it to pay legal fees and living expenses, Platt wrote. After that, she'll be driving to Clark County, Nev., to another property she owns there — one of two properties she put up as collateral for her bail. That home is also in need of maintenance, and if it doesn't get it, Thomas might get fined by her homeowners association, Platt wrote.

Beyond that, he added: "Winter is coming and Ms. Thomas desires to winterize her houseboat in order to avoid extensive damages and incurring additional costs. Additionally, Ms. Thomas also needs to see her dentist who is also located out of state."

"She seems to have a lot of resources, financially," Banks said. "She certainly seems capable of hiring people to take care of those things on her behalf.
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Last edited by raine1953 on Sun May 19, 2013 3:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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Normal Ex-Ms. Washington sentenced to 4 years in murder case

Post by raine1953 on Sun May 19, 2013 3:49 am

COUPEVILLE — Former beauty queen Peggy Sue Thomas was sentenced this morning to four years in prison for luring a man to death nearly a decade ago.

Thomas, winner of the 2000 Ms. Washington pageant, pleaded guilty last month to first-degree rendering criminal assistance after striking a plea deal with Island County prosecutors who were preparing to try Thomas for first-degree murder. Had she been convicted of murder, Thomas, 47, could have received what would have amounted to a life sentence.

In exchange for her guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to recommend a four-year sentence.

Thomas was accused of plotting with her then-boyfriend, James Huden, to kill Russel Douglas, who was found shot to death in a car in Freeland, Whidbey Island, two days after Christmas 2003. Thomas, a former beautician, had once worked at a salon owned by Douglas’ wife.

Huden was arrested in Mexico in June 2011 and Thomas was arrested a month later in Farmington, N.M., on her houseboat.

Huden was convicted of first-degree murder in Island County Superior Court last summer and sentenced to 80 years in prison. But he refused to testify against Thomas, even declining an offer from the prosecution that would have lessened his sentence, according to the Whidbey News-Times.

Huden never did disclose a motive for the slaying.

During this morning’s sentencing hearing, Jim Douglas, the slain man’s father, spoke via Skype from Virginia in support of a longer sentence for Thomas.

““You’’re not a victim, you’’re a predator,”” Jim Douglas said to Thomas.

Island County Superior Court Judge Alan R. Hancock said that despite the sentence, Douglas’ family still does not know exactly why he was killed because Thomas never opened up.

“I call on her to give a full account of what she knows,” he said. “Without this information there will always be a cloud over this. If Ms. Thomas does not tell everything she knows it is only fair she be tormented the rest of her life by what she knows.”

Craig Platt, Thomas’’ lawyer, said that she feels terrible about what happened to Douglas.

Thomas declined to address the court.

Thomas’ case has drawn national media coverage. NBC’s “Dateline” and “America’s Most Wanted” have followed what some scribes breathlessly dubbed the “Drop Dead Gorgeous Case.” True-crime author Ann Rule, who was in court this morning, reportedly plans a book on the homicide.

Thomas went to beauty school, had stints repairing cars and naval aircraft, and was once wed to the millionaire owner of Mine That Bird, a thoroughbred that won the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

In October 2011, shortly after her arrest, Thomas made headlines when an Island County judge allowed her to take a two-week, five-state road trip so she could tend to personal business.

Thomas, who was free on $500,000 bail, sought permission to attend a memorial for her recently deceased half-sister in Idaho, and to travel to New Mexico, Utah and Nevada to prepare to sell a house, go to her dentist, and collect her winter clothes, among other things.
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