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Ex-Partner Reportedly Threatened Thompsons

Times Staff Writer

Friends of millionaire Anaheim racing promoter Mickey Thompson and his wife have told homicide detectives that the couple complained of death threats from his former business partner before their gangland-style slayings 10 months ago, court documents show.

In an affidavit filed with Los Angeles Municipal Court to support issuance of a search warrant last month, a sheriff’s investigator said the couple’s acquaintances claimed that the Thompsons said the threats came from Michael Goodwin, a Laguna Beach racing promoter. Goodwin had waged a fierce legal battle with Mickey and Trudy Thompson, who operated their lucrative promotions out of offices at Anaheim Stadium.

But Goodwin’s Santa Ana attorney, Alan Stokke, said Wednesday that his client would have no comment on the statements by Thompson’s friends reported in the court document, “other than to say that he absolutely and completely denies that he had any part of it.”

Goodwin, 43, and Thompson, 59, the first American to break the 400-m.p.h. land speed mark, had a falling-out in 1985 and filed several lawsuits against each other. Goodwin and his company declared bankruptcy after a court ordered him to pay Thompson $500,000.

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The Thompsons were gunned down as they were leaving their Bradbury estate in the San Gabriel Valley on March 16, 1988. Two men were seen leaving the scene on bicycles and a third man abandoned a bicycle in nearby Irwindale, hitching a motorcycle ride out of the area.

One of Thompson’s neighbors, according to the affidavit filed by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide investigator Cheryl Lyon on Dec. 9, recalled that Thompson told him Goodwin “was going to kill him.”

A woman reportedly remembered Trudy Thompson confiding that if anything happened to her or her husband, “Michael Goodwin would be responsible.”

According to the affidavit, a business associate said the famed racing figure once told him over the phone, “Can you believe this? The guy threatened to kill me if he lost the civil suit.”

Thompson reportedly went on to say--in the witness’s words--that “the guy would not only kill him, but his whole family.”

Attempts ‘Thwarted’

In her affidavit, Lyon said Goodwin’s attorney had “thwarted” attempts to ask Goodwin if he was the source of the death threats or a “link with the suspects who were hired to kill the Thompsons.”

The search warrant was for records at a Los Angeles cellular telephone billing office and was prompted by what Lyon said had been a call from Goodwin’s 57-foot boat, Believe.

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Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide investigators would not say Wednesday whether they had found the person they were seeking.


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