Notorious South end murder case goes to trial

One of two people charged in a South Whidbey murder case that’s received national attention will go on trial next week. James Huden, 55, is accused of first-degree murder in the 2003 Christmastime shooting death of Russel Douglas, a 31-year-old father of two. The trial is set to start with jury selection on Tuesday, July 10.

James Huden

One of two people charged in a South Whidbey murder case that’s received national attention will go on trial next week.

James Huden, 55, is accused of first-degree murder in the 2003 Christmastime shooting death of Russel Douglas, a 31-year-old father of two. The trial is set to start with jury selection on Tuesday, July 10.

Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks has been spending endless hours getting ready for the complex trial, which is scheduled to extend over three weeks.

“It’s big,” he said. “It’s big for me. There’s a lot of witnesses. There’s a lot of logistics. People are coming in from all over the country.”

Huden is accused of shooting Douglas in the head with a .380 caliber pistol after Huden’s mistress, Peggy Sue Thomas, lured him to a rural area of South Whidbey with the promise of a gift, according to the police report. Douglas’ body was found in the front seat of his 2002 Chevrolet Tracker next to a wooded driveway on Wahl Road.

Thomas, a Langley hairdresser and former beauty queen, has also been charged with first-degree murder. She worked for Douglas’ estranged wife at a Langley hair salon, which is apparently the link between the victim and the alleged killers. She’s scheduled to go to trial in November.

Huden was a fugitive for six years, but was finally arrested by a U.S. Marshal’s Service in Mexico last June. Thomas was arrested about a month later in New Mexico, where she had been living in a half-million dollar houseboat called “Off the Hook.”

Banks said Thomas won’t testify at Huden’s trial. But he said her trial will likely be a replay of the Huden case, with one big difference. Huden’s wife can’t testify against her husband because of the state’s marital disqualification law, but she will be able to testify against Thomas.

Among the many news organization that have been following the story is Dateline. Banks said the producers from the news show will likely be following the trial closely.

 

More in News

Lawmakers propose an increase in school levy rates

By Emma Epperly WNPA Olympia News Bureau Voter-approved school levy lid rates… Continue reading

Teens lead effort to make theater more accessible

Three Whidbey Island girls saw the problem: wheelchair and mobility-impaired access to… Continue reading

WICA presents award-winning ‘Next to Normal’

Winner of three Tony Awards, including best musical score, and the 2010… Continue reading

Author of new orca book heads to Langley

The public is invited to meet San Juan Island author Monika Wieland… Continue reading

New state revenue forecast shows a $554-million uptick

By Emma Epperly WNPA Olympia News Bureau Legislators have $554 million more… Continue reading

School District Bonds voting requirements to remain the same after Senate vote fails

By Emma Epperly WNPA Olympia News Bureau School District Bonds will still… Continue reading

Hoedown at WICA

At 7:30 p.m. today, March 23, for one night only, the South… Continue reading

Senators request info on PFAS standards

Washington’s two senators joined 16 of their Senate colleagues in requesting information… Continue reading

At long last, county will simplify land-use code

For years, there have been complaints that Island County’s land-use code is… Continue reading

Most Read