Jurors to resume deliberation in Thompson case UPDATE #3 Michael Goodwin, brash creator of the motor sport of super-cross and a relentless self-promoter, was certainly a "jerk," his lawyer conceded recently.
He was also an "egomaniac." A "braggart," too, she said.
But the question, which jurors return to this week, is not Goodwin's character but whether he killed his former partner, racing legend Mickey Thompson, and Thompson's wife, Trudy.
As jurors resume deliberations after a holiday break, they will do so without some of the most intriguing evidence the defense and prosecution tried to present about the slayings.
The judge excluded as irrelevant, confusing or prejudicial the sighting of a long-haired blond man near the scene of the killings and possible links to the earlier slaying of Thompson's nephew.
Prosecutors also dropped a witness who had testified that Goodwin bragged about getting away with murder. More at LATimes.com
12/21/06 Jurors deliberating in the Mickey Thompson double-murder case asked Wednesday to have testimony by seven witnesses read back to them.
The panel asked to hear again testimony from four prosecution witnesses and three defense witnesses in the case against Michael Goodwin, 61, a former business partner of Thompson.
The request for readbacks decreased the likelihood of a verdict this week. The jury was scheduled to return to court Thursday. If no verdict, deliberations would not resume until Jan. 2. The jury also requested a half-day on Jan. 2 because of a juror's appointment.
12/20/06 Jurors began deliberations Tuesday in the case against a man accused of having racing legend Mickey Thompson and his wife murdered nearly 19 years ago. The jury deliberated for several hours before retiring for the night. Talks were to resume Wednesday.
12/19/06 The prosecution and defense each gave their closing arguments Monday. The prosecution will give their rebuttal Tuesday morning and the case will then go to the jury.
PASADENA, Calif. - A prosecutor fell to his knees in front of a jury Monday and held his hands up to imitate a pose an eyewitness described of racing legend Mickey Thompson's wife pleading with a killer for her life moments before she and her husband were gunned down more than 18 1/2 years ago.
Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson told jurors in his closing argument that Michael Goodwin, Thompson's former partner, is guilty of the murders even though he was not present at the scene and did not pull the triggers.
Arguing for acquittal, defense attorney Elena Saris told jurors that the prosecution had created "a Hollywood version of events" that could not be supported by evidence.
"What really happened we don't know," she said. "The killers were never found. The reason they want you to convict is that someone has to pay. It's a terrible crime. There's a rip in the fabric of society when someone is murdered. But this is not about closing a case by having a Hollywood unsolved mystery ending."
Saris said the prosecution presented only a theory, not evidence.
She said she knew witnesses had described Goodwin as brash, loud and a braggart and quoted him repeatedly as making threats against Thompson. But, standing with her hands on Goodwin's shoulders, she said, "Regardless of whether you like this man - they've told you what a jerk he is - the law protects people who are unpopular.
"We're putting our faith in you to do right by Mr. Goodwin, to do justice."
Jackson spent much of his argument explaining the laws of aiding and abetting and of premeditation.
He said the murders were planned by Goodwin, that his own words in multiple threats to Thompson and to others proved that he was planning to have his opponent executed.
"This case is about a man whose ego was so fragile ... he could not face the possibility of failing. In 1988, Michael Goodwin was used to winning at all costs. But he could not win at any cost against Mickey Thompson," Jackson said.
"Michael Goodwin was being financially crippled by Mickey Thompson and he wasn't used to it," Jackson said.
The courtroom of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Teri Schwartz was standing-room only Monday.