LOS ANGELES (June 8, 2004) — Orange County, Calif., prosecutors have decided not to challenge an appeals court ruling that dismissed charges against Michael Goodwin, the accused killer of racer and private brand tire marketer Mickey Thompson.
The county's district attorney's office had been mulling an appeal to the California Supreme Court after the Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled April 23 that Orange County had no jurisdiction in trying Mr. Goodwin.
Mr. Goodwin had pleaded not guilty to the murders of Mr. Thompson and his wife Trudy, conspiracy to commit murder and three special circumstances: murder for hire, lying in wait and murder for financial gain.
The county's decision means Mr. Goodwin could go free at any time, depending on the appeals court, said Susan Schroeder, deputy district attorney for Orange County. She said the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office also could take over the case and file charges since the murders did occur in that county or the state attorney general could take over the case, though she said that is unlikely.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office is reviewing the case, according to a spokeswoman.
Mr. Goodwin's attorney has filed motions for release. A promoter and former business partner of Mr. Thompson's, Mr. Goodwin has been held for more than two years.
Mr. Thompson, the first to break the 400 mph speed barrier, was shot to death, along with his wife, in the driveway of their Bradbury, Calif., home in 1988. The gunmen, who sped away on bicycles, remain at large.