Michael Goodwin Claims Innocence.
Michael Goodwin, convicted of the 1988 murders of off-road racing legend Mickey Thompson, and his wife, Trudy, gunned down in their driveway, is asking the question, “Does anyone know, or care, who really killed Mickey Thompson?” Goodwin has always maintained his innocence. “I had nothing to do with the Thompson murders,” he says, “what prosecutors presented at my trial was misrepresented at best, patently false at worst.”
Goodwin, creator of Supercross, the sport of motocross racing in NFL stadiums, in 1972, attempted to merge his highly successful Supercross business with Thompson’s nascent stadium off-road racing business in 1985 but, after only three months, Thompson bowed out, sued and won a $500,000 judgment against Goodwin. They battled in court for more than three years, the outcome of which was Goodwin ordered to pay Thompson over $700,000, the amount the original judgment had swelled to with interest and costs. “I had made sufficient funds available to settle the judgment early in 1988, Mickey’s attorneys had indicated that he was ready to settle, and, since such judgments survive the person to whom they are awarded, there was no motive for me to want to have Mickey killed.”
Before a final settlement could be signed, Thompson was brutally murdered by assailants who have never been identified. Goodwin was immediately suspected but after nearly nine months of investigation, authorities could develop no evidence tying him to the murders. Detectives did, however, develop other suspects, one of whom confessed, failed a polygraph, was identified as looking like a white man that was seen at or near the murder scene. However, 18 years later, at Goodwin’s trial, the judge would not allow Goodwin’s defense to present this, and additional evidence of other suspects, to the jury.
Despite the conviction, the prosecutors have never tied Goodwin to the murders. The jury foreman, having seen that there was evidence of other suspects, stated that the verdict would have been different had the jury seen this evidence.
Goodwin has been in jail since his arrest in December of 2001, even though the case was dismissed in Orange County in 2004. The Los Angeles District Attorney filed charges just hours before Goodwin could be released from the Orange County jail.
From a cell at R.J. Donovan State Prison, Goodwin detailed his efforts to clear his name. His appeal has been filed, responded to by the California Attorney General with a final reply by Goodwin on January 9th, 2014. Goodwin has also filed a complaint against the judge who presided at his trial, Judge Terri Schwartz, for extreme bias.