(SEATTLE) — Peggy Sue Thomas, a former Ms. Washington and ex-wife of a millionaire, was sentenced to four years in prison for her role in the murder of a former colleague’s husband.
The ex-beauty queen accepted a plea bargain in January, one week before she was due to stand trial on a first-degree murder charge. Thomas pleaded guilty to rendering criminal assistance in the first degree, and in exchange for a guilty plea, prosecutors recommended a four-year sentence.
The punishment disappointed the family of Russell Thomas, who was found shot to death in his car two days after Christmas 2003.
“It seems like a travesty of the basic sense of justice that she would be sentenced to less than four years in prison for the cold and premeditated act that could not have happened without her involvement,” the victim’s father, Jim Douglas, said in court on Friday, ABC News’ Seattle affiliate KOMO reported.
Prosecutors said Thomas and her then-boyfriend, James Huden, lured Douglas into a remote area so Huden could shoot him.
Douglas was found dead in a car in Freeland, Whidbey Island, two days after Christmas 2003.
Prosecutors said it could have been a revenge murder, with Huden and Thomas suspecting that Douglas was abusing his wife and kids.
At his trial last year, Huden declined to reveal why he targeted Douglas and rebuffed a deal to testify against his former girlfriend.
Huden was convicted of first degree murder and was sentenced to 80 years in prison.
The former beauty queen was given an opportunity by the judge on Friday to come clean about the murder, but she declined.
Thomas did, however, address her tarnished image in January when she accepted the plea bargain.
“I’m not the woman that’s been portrayed in the papers over the last few years,” she said. “I would want to tell Russell Douglas and his family that I am so sorry for their loss.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Jon Ostrower and Rene Marsh, CNN
Paul R. La Monica, CNN
Andreas Preuss, CNN
Susan Scutti, CNN