Real Names: Marion Lee and Gertrude Thompson
Nicknames: Mickey (Marion); Trudy (Gertrude)
Location: Bradbury, California
Date: March 16, 1988
Details: During the 1980s, race car driver Mickey Thompson was well known to race car fans, first breaking the 400 mph land speed mark, and then surviving a speedboat accident that left him paralyzed for a brief portion of his life. His pioneering designs changed the face of racing, and he had an extremely profitable stadium-racing venture, with his wife, Trudy, always at his side. They worked hand-in-hand to promote their many business ventures, but reportedly, one of these deals went bad and according to his sister, Colleen, he started getting death threats from a specific individual. Mickey told Colleen that the individual was threatening to hurt both him and Trudy. He also stated that the individual was definitely capable of hurting them.
In the predawn hours of March 16, 1988, he and Trudy were in the driveway of their Bradbury home when they were brutally gunned down in cold blood. Sheriff's investigators were quickly called to the scene; they found Trudy laying near the end of the driveway, next to the couples' van. Closer to the garage, they found Mickey; both victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators soon ruled out robbery as a motive after they found $70,000 worth of jewelry on Trudy's body and $4,000 in cash in the victims' pockets. One other clue was found at the scene: a stun gun that did not belong to the victims.
Investigators believed that Mickey and Trudy were victims of a contract killing. On the morning of the shooting, a neighbor heard the gunshots and looked out his window, noticing two black males riding away from the crime scene on bicycles. Other neighbors noticed the two men riding away from the scene. Others had seen them in the area in the weeks prior to the murders. Based on this evidence, investigators are certain that they are the killers, and that they were hired by an unknown assassin, possibly the person who threatened Mickey's life shortly before the murders. However, no suspects were named.
Mickey's sister Colleen believes that the killers had studied the Thompsons' routine. On the morning of the murders, she believes the killers waited behind bushes for the couple to come out of their home. She believes they were then ambushed and killed, with Mickey pleading for them to not kill his wife before they were both shot.
Investigators did not understand why the killers came to the crime scene riding bicycles and shot the victims without using a silencer. They suspect that the killers may have planned on abducting the victims and killing them in another location, but something went wrong and they were killed in their driveway.
Sadly, there has not been enough evidence to charge anyone in the case, and the murderers remain at large.
Suspects: One of the neighbors described the hired killers as two black men in jogging suits. At the time of the murders, they were between twenty and thirty years of age. They were both 6'0" tall, muscular in build with one of them a bit more stocky in size. They have never been identified.
The prime suspect in the orchestration of the killings is the man who allegedly threatened Mickey prior to the murders. However, he has not been named by the police.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the February 15, 1989 episode. The Thompson murders was also profiled America’s Most Wanted.
Results: Unresolved. In December of 2001, Michael Goodwin was arrested and charged with the murders of Mickey and Trudy Thompson. He was a former business partner of Mickey's, and when the business went bad, he and Trudy sued and won a civil judgement against him. Police now believe he hired two hitmen to the kill the Thompsons. Goodwin was the individual that had threatened Mickey in the past; fifteen witnesses have come forward over the years to confirm that he hated the Thompsons and threatened to kill them.
Other witnesses came forward in the following years, claiming that Goodwin had to confessed to orchestrating the murders, one saying that the even bragged about it. Interestingly, one of the witnesses, his ex-girlfriend, claimed that he confessed to the crime after they watched the Unsolved Mysteries segment. Another witness stated that Goodwin owned the same type of stun gun that was found at the crime scene. Also, investigators learned that Goodwin had left the country and gone to the Caribbean just a few months after the murders. They suspect that he met with the hitmen there and paid them off.
In 2001, a witness came forward claiming to have seen two men sitting in a station wagon in the Thompson neighborhood before the murders. One of the men was spying on the Thompsons with binoculars. The witness and his wife both identified Goodwin as the man with the binoculars. The other man in the car matched the description of one of the shooters.
However, the case was later dropped by prosecutors, but then in 2006, he was charged once again with their murders. In early 2007, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to two life terms without parole. In 2015, he appealed his convictions, but the convictions were upheld.
Unfortunately, the two hitmen who were allegedly hired by him have never been found. Recently, two new composites were made of them. It is believed that they fled to Pensacola, Florida after the murders, and then possibly to the Caribbean. There is a $1,000,000 reward leading to the arrest of each killer.
- Mickey and Trudy Thompson on Unsolved.com
- Mickey Thompson on Wikipedia
- Mickey Thompson Website
- Racer-Promoter Mickey Thompson and Wife Slain Outside Their Home
- Arrest made in Mickey and Trudy Thompson murders
- A Strange Turn in the Mickey Thompson Murders Case
- New Witnesses Come Forward
- Thompson's kin says promoter threatened her
- Guilty verdict in Thompson murder case
- Mickey Thompson's killer gets 2 life terms
- Murder in the Fast Lane
- Court upholds conviction in 1988 killing of racing great Mickey Thompson and his wife
- People v. Goodwin
- Mickey and Trudy Thompson at Find a Grave