Murder in the Fast Lane

A woman seeks justice for the murder of her brother and sister-in-law

Produced By Jamie Stolz

This story was first broadcast on April 28, 2007. It was updated on July 3, 2008.

Racing legend Mickey Thompson made headlines in 1960, when he set the land speed record of 406 miles per hour in the salt flats of the Utah desert.

In 1988, he made headlines again for how he died: Mickey and his wife Trudy were murdered execution-style outside their California home.

There was no gun, no DNA, no hard evidence at all. But there was Mickey Thompson's younger sister Collene, who vowed to find justice. After 20 years, has a killer finally met his match?

Correspondent Bill Lagattuta reports.

Mickey Thompson's name became synonymous with speed - from dragsters, to Indy, to off-road racing. Like American legends Chuck Yeager, who broke the sound barrier, and John Glenn, who orbited the earth, Thompson would also go on to make history.

By the time he was 25, he was racing professionally; he'd eventually go on to set 395 different speed records.

After an early first marriage, Mickey met and married Trudy Feller, a former secretary at "Hot Rod Magazine."

"He was the man. He was a great dad, you know? Coached baseball, coached football, still was out racing. Like I said he was, he was the man," remembers Mickey's son, Danny Thompson.

On March 16, 1988, Mickey and Trudy set out for work together, as they always did, at 6:00 a.m.

Danny remembers the moment he heard something had happened at his father's house. "And I got a phone call. From one of my dad's employees at the office and he said 'There's something happened up at the Bradbury house. And we don't really know what it is but something's happened,'" he remembers.

Danny grabbed his car keys and made a phone call to his aunt Collene Campbell.

"And I says, 'What is it Danny?' And he says, 'I don't know. I'm on my way up. I don't know what happened they just said there were gun shots up there,'" she recalls.

Neighbor Lance Johnson recalls being startled out of bed. "And all of a sudden we were awakened by some gunshots. About 15 seconds went by with silence and all of a sudden I heard Mickey Thompson, who was our next door neighbor, who lived right over here, and he was screaming. Just screaming at the top of his lungs," he recalls.

When Danny arrived, he saw the bodies of his father and Trudy uncovered.

Everyone in the racing community expressed their shock and outrage, including Michael Goodwin, Mickey Thompson's business partner. "It was just a tragedy and it was apparently an assassination. Somebody shot them, so it wasn't an accidental death," Goodwin said.

Detective Mark Lillienfeld would spend much of his career piecing together exactly what had happened. The motive, says Lillienfeld, was murder and nothing else; investigators had found about $500 on Mickey Thompson.

Police put out sketches of two African-American hooded gunmen, which eyewitnesses had described. But the shooters were long gone, escaping on bicycles.

Fourteen years later there were still no arrests. And that's what was most troubling to Thompson's family and friends, because they say they knew from the moment they heard about the murder who was behind it.

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