It Took Nearly 30 Years to Bring Racing Legend Mickey Thompson's Killer to Justice

Mickey Thompson's sister never gave up on putting her brother and sister-in-law's killer behind bars.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Jul. 10 2024, Published 8:53 p.m. ET

Mickey Thompson stands in his garage by a single–seat off–road racer in Sept. 1986
Source: Getty Images

The story of Mickey Thompson and his wife Trudy will be featured in Dick Wolf's series Homicide: Los Angeles, which takes a hard look at the devilish deeds that go down in the City of Angels.

Episode two centers around the brutal murders of Mickey and Trudy, who were gunned down in front of their home in Bradbury, Calif. in 1988.

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Where is Mike Goodwin, Mickey Thompson's killer, now? Doing time.

Goodwin is currently serving a life sentence at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, Calif., where he has been incarcerated since April 11, 2007. If you're checking the math, that's a full 29 years after Mickey and Trudy were murdered.

On the day Goodwin was convicted in January 2007, Mickey's sister told the Los Angeles Times, "I wish I could look up and touch Mickey and Trudy and say, ‘We won!’"

Collene Campbell, sports legend Mickey Thompson's sister, wears a necklace given to her by their mother on her deathbed.
Source: Getty Images

Collene Campbell, sports legend Mickey Thompson's sister, wears a necklace given to her by their mother on her deathbed.

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Collene Campbell showed up in court that day wearing the same St. Christopher medal that her brother wore during all of his races, vowing only to remove it when her brother's killer was brought to justice.

This was a request made by their deceased mother on her deathbed, 11 years prior to the conviction.

She never gave up on finding the person responsible for the deaths of her brother and sister-in-law. Over the years, Campbell hired "private investigators, offered a $1 million reward, prodded police and prosecutors, and became a national crusader for victims’ rights," reported the outlet.

According to her husband Gary, "She never quits; she never gives in." Goodwin was always the main suspect, but he never actually pulled the trigger.

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What happened to Mickey and Trudy Thompson?

On March 16, 1988, two men were seen fleeing the Thompson's home on bicycles. Witnesses described them as Black men wearing hooded sweatshirts. As of the time of this writing, the gunmen have never been found or charged with the murders. What was originally thought of as a burglary gone wrong, was changed to homicide when it was discovered that nothing of value had been stolen.

Thousands of dollars and expensive jewelry remained in the home.

Mike Goodwin sits in court during his trial
Source: Getty Images

Mike Goodwin sits in court during his trial.

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Prosecutor Alan Jackson, who has since switched to criminal defense and was Karen Read's lawyer, believed this was a revenge killing. Goodwin and Thompson were once business partners, who had worked together to promote motorsports in and around Southern California.

Thompson was an accomplished drag racer while Goodwin invented supercross. When they had a falling out, Thompson sued Goodwin and won $514,000. This was still pending when he and Trudy were killed. Because of it, Goodwin filed for bankruptcy.

Over the years, the story of the Thompsons's murders would be told via shows like America's Most Wanted, which caused witnesses to come forward with information about Goodwin.

Roughly 15 people would later testify they heard Goodwin say he wanted to kill Thompson or anyone associated with him.

It finally took two key witnesses to bring a charge against Goodwin in 2004. One said he confessed to the killings a decade after they happened, while another claimed to have seen Goodwin "scouting out the Thompson neighborhood," per the Los Angeles Times.

That was enough for Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley to file new murder charges. Three years later, Goodwin was found guilty.

For more on this story, stream Homicide: Los Angeles on Netflix, starting July 16, 2024.

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