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Murder trials inaugurate new year in county
Three high-profile murder cases are scheduled to be held in Island County Superior Court during the first three months of 2013.
Joshua D. Lambert, a 31-year-old homeless Oak Harbor resident, succeeded in getting his double-murder trial moved to March 13.
Lambert, who’s acting as his own attorney, was scheduled to go to trial at the end of this month, but argued to get it postponed. He got his way in court Wednesday after both sides agreed they won’t be prepared since Lambert’s mental health expert hasn’t completed his report.
Lambert is presenting an insanity defense. He is accused of stabbing to death his paternal grandfather, George Lambert, tying up his great aunt, Kay Gage, and then stabbing to death his maternal grandfather, August Eugene “Sonny” Eisner, on Oct. 3, 2011.
Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks said Lambert’s trial had to be pushed out by four months because of the difficulty in scheduling a potentially long and complicated trial during the holiday season; in addition, trial dates aren’t available in the early part of the new year because of two other murder trials.
“It will be an intensely busy time for the entire office if these dates hold,” Banks said. “I hope they do hold, though. Every delay impacts many witnesses and victims whose lives are attached to these very important cases.”
Peggy Sue Thomas is schedule to go to trial Jan. 29 for the 2003 murder of Russell A. Douglas. The 47-year-old former beauty queen allegedly helped her boyfriend murder Douglas by luring him to a secluded spot on South Whidbey, according to court documents.
Thomas’ alleged accomplice, James Huden, was convicted in the murder earlier this year.
Thomas had been scheduled to go to trial in November, but her trial date was continued in order to make time available for the Lambert trial.
Robert “Al” Baker, a 62-year-old Greenbank resident, is scheduled to go to trial Feb. 25 for murdering his wife this summer, according to court documents. The body of 53-year-old Kathie Baker was found wrapped in a tarp in a ravine behind their home.
The Bakers were well known in the South Whidbey communities as the owners of the former Harbor Pizzeria in Freeland.