PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -The former business partner of Mickey Thompson, accused of murdering the slain racing legend, told a judge on Tuesday that he will not testify in the trial.

Former sports promoter Michael Goodwin had earlier expressed a desire to take the stand, his lawyers told Superior Court Judge Teri Schwartz.

But after discussions, attorney Elena Saris said, “We prevailed, and he agrees with us that he will not testify.”

The judge advised Goodwin of his right to take the stand, then asked him directly whether he wished to testify.

“No, your honor,” Goodwin said in a husky voice in the brief proceeding without the jury.

Goodwin, 61, is accused of arranging for gunmen to shoot Thompson, 59, and his wife, Trudy, 51, outside their home in the Los Angeles suburb of Bradbury in 1988.

Goodwin, whose partnership with Thompson in the motocross business disintegrated into a bitter legal battle, is charged with two counts of murder with special circumstances and could face life in prison if convicted.

Goodwin, who owed Thompson a legal judgment of more than $700,000, was arrested in 2001. The gunmen escaped on bicycles.

On Tuesday, Goodwin’s lawyers presented testimony from ballistics expert Jacobus Swanepoel, who said that the shots that killed Mickey Thompson appeared to have been fired in quick succession and that both victims suffered gunshot wounds to the body and the head.

He said the head wounds on both victims came from the same gun.

With Swanepoel’s testimony, Saris attempted to demonstrate that the shots fired did not fit the pattern of a carefully orchestrated execution.

“We’re showing that both shooters went all over the crime scene and were shooting all over the place. It’s less consistent with an execution,” Saris said afterward.

She has maintained that the killings happened during a botched robbery attempt.

A key point in the prosecution’s theory is that Goodwin ordered the hired killers to force Mickey Thompson to watch his wife die before he was killed.

On cross-examination, Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson scored points after he asked Swanepoel whether his conclusion would change if he were presented with a statement from an eyewitness who saw Trudy Thompson being killed first and her husband saying, “Don’t hurt my wife.”

“It could lead to only one conclusion,” Swanepoel replied after being asked the question twice, “that Trudy was shot before Mickey.”

Final arguments are set for Monday.

AP-ES-12-12-06 2158EST


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