Jurors visit Mickey Thompson's home
BRADBURY, Calif. - Jurors in the trial of a man accused of arranging the killing of Mickey Thompson and his wife more than 18 years ago visited the racing legend's hillside home Thursday, comparing photos of the crime scene to what they were seeing in person.
The jurors - taken by van and escorted by sheriff's deputies, lawyers and the judge - were allowed to walk the suburban Los Angeles path where killers confronted the victims and escaped on bicycles.
The trip was arranged as part of the trial of Thompson's former business partner, Michael Goodwin, who is charged with plotting a revenge killing and hiring the men who shot the couple.
The jurors paused to peer at the ground where Thompson's body was found. They also stopped at the end of the driveway where Trudy Thompson's body lay crumpled after she was killed. Some took notes.
Lawyers brought photographs of the crime scene to the former Thompson home and mounted them on easels in the driveway. The images showed the scene when it was splattered with blood and when bodies lay in the area. Jurors studied the photos carefully, comparing them with what they saw in person.
News helicopters hovered overhead as the tour began. The wooded area where the Thompsons lived is studded with mansions and equestrian ranches.
They spent almost two hours looking at four separate scenes in the vicinity, including the hidden roadway through the trees where witnesses reported seeing the suspected killers fleeing on bicycles. Neither suspect has been caught.
Goodwin was not present at the tour, having waived his right to attend.
His partnership with Thompson in the motocross business disintegrated into a bitter legal battle. He is alleged to have arranged the March 16, 1988, slayings of Thompson, 59, and his 41-year-old wife. Goodwin, who had owed Thompson a legal judgment of more than $700,000, was arrested in 2001.
The defense rested its case Wednesday. Court is in recess until Monday, when attorneys are scheduled to present final arguments.