SANTA ANA, Calif. (April 15, 2002)—A preliminary hearing in the case against a man connected with killing auto racing legend Mickey Thompson and his wife, Trudy, began April 15 in Orange County Superior Court.
Michael Frank Goodwin, 56, was arrested Dec. 13, 2001, and subsequently charged with two counts of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in the 14-year-old case. He is being held without bail. The hearing will ascertain if there is sufficient evidence to try Mr. Goodwin, once known as the "Father of Supercross" for his 1980s dirt bike competitions at California's Anaheim stadium.
Mr. Thompson, co-founder of Stow, Ohio-based Max-Trac Tire Co., and his wife were shot to death March 16, 1988, in the driveway of their Bradbury, Calif., home as they were leaving for work at about 6 a.m. At the time, authorities had ruled out robbery as a motive after finding $70,000 in jewelry and cash untouched inside the house.
Mr. Goodwin is a former business partner of Mr. Thompson's. Their partnership ended in a bitter breakup and a $514,000 court judgment in Mr. Thompson's favor. Mr. Goodwin later filed for bankruptcy.
According to police, the two actual gunmen in the case are still unidentified. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has for some time circulated a wanted poster with sketches of the two suspects “as seen March 1988.” The unsolved case also has been featured several times on the “America's Most Wanted” TV show, and the Thompson family has offered a $1 million reward for information leading to the killers' arrest.