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Suspect in 2003 murder on South Whidbey arrested in Mexico

A suspect in a South Whidbey murder who has been on the run since May 2005 has been arrested in Mexico, Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks said Friday.

“Last night I was informed by the United States Marshal’s Service that James Huden was arrested in Guadalajara, Mexico,” Banks said in a news release.

Huden is the prime suspect in the murder of Russel A. Douglas of Langley, who was found dead in his car in a driveway near Wahl Road in Freeland shortly after Christmas 2003. Douglas, 31, had been shot in the head.

An arrest warrant for Huden was issued by an Island County Superior Court judge in 2005, and bail was set at $1 million.

Huden, 54, is from Punta Gorda, Fla. and had friends and family that lived on Whidbey Island at the time of the murder. He grew up in Clinton and was a 1971 graduate of Langley High School.

“We have been told that Huden will be flown to Houston, Texas, where he will await extradition to Washington,” Banks added. “At this point, the timeline for his return to Island County is unclear, be we expect it will be no more than 60 days, and possibly much sooner.”

Banks said he would not comment further on the case.

Police received a break in the case in July 2004, when William Hill, a Punta Gorda, Fla. resident, told police that Huden, his friend, had allegedly shot a man in the head while visiting Whidbey during the 2003 Christmas holiday.

Police believe Huden left Whidbey with his mistress, Peggy Thomas, for their home in Henderson, Nev. after the murder.

Huden told Hill he used a .380 caliber handgun, and police said in 2005 that a shell casing from a .380-caliber firearm had been found in the vehicle where Douglas was found dead.

Police questioned Huden a few days after Hill called them, but the investigation stalled when several hurricanes hit Florida in September 2004.

The murder was recounted on a segment of the popular show “America’s Most Wanted” in 2008.

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