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Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Robert Daniel Thompson,Hells Angels motorcycle club member was in fair condition at U.C. Davis Medical Center after he was gunned down outside


07:58 |

Robert Daniel Thompson, a 43-year-old convicted sex offender and Hells Angels motorcycle club member was in fair condition at U.C. Davis Medical Center after he was gunned down outside The Shanty in Eureka late Friday night. In 2006, Merced County Sheriff's deputies arrested Thompson on suspicion of killing 12-year-old Jodi Marie Ragsdale and 15-year-old Sheila Carter on Dec. 13, 1986. The two girls' mangled bodies were found dumped alongside a rural road, their heads badly battered.
”These young girls were savagely bludgeoned to death and left out in a dirt road,” said Larry Morse, the Merced County District Attorney. “It really shocked the community.” According to Morse, Thompson was a suspect early on in the case. Department of Corrections information indicates Thompson had been released from prison just months before after serving time for weapons and drug possession.
”This was one of the most horrific crimes I've ever seen,” Morse said. “It was the kind of crime that was fueled by an incredible rage.” There was DNA evidence linking Thompson to the suspected murder weapon -- a car jack. And there was a witness. Thompson kidnapped a woman 10 days after the two girls were murdered, and drove her into a forested area to rape her. According to Morse, Thompson never raped the woman, but she later testified at the murder trial that Thompson had confessed to her he had recently murdered two girls. ”It was a very difficult case because of the time here,” Morse said. “Many of the players frankly were not around, or memories had dimmed.” The first trial ended with a jury that hung eight to four in favor of his guilt. The second trial ended with his acquittal. ”We were delighted he left Merced County,” Morse said. “There were a lot of people here who believed he escaped justice.” Throughout the course of the trial, Morse said members of the Hells Angels routinely came in to observe. Although no motive has been confirmed, authorities have stated that the shooting may have stemmed from an ongoing feud between the Hells Angels and a rival biker gang, the Mongols. Detective Patrick O'Neill, Eureka Police Department investigative supervisor, said no motive has been established, but four suspects have been arrested, and a handgun has been retrieved. The suspects -- Eric Gunner Lundin, 28, Dustin Christopher Liebes, 36, Brad Lee Miller, 26, and Redding resident Eric Dean Garcia, 28 -- have been booked into the Humboldt County jail. Lundin, Liebes and Miller are held on $500,000 bail, while Garcia is held on $500,000 plus an additional $10,000 stemming from an arrest warrant out of Manteca, Calif.

O'Neill could not say whether those men have any connection to the Mongols or the Hells Angels, and the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office has yet to file formal attempted murder charges. The men are expected to be arraigned later this week. At least one of the suspects has a violent criminal history. On Aug. 3, 2006, Liebes pleaded guilty to threatening his former girlfriend, and mother of two of his children, with a knife. According to court documents, the woman escaped Liebes by hiding in her vehicle and calling the police, while Liebes stood outside her car, scratching the door with his knife. The men were arrested while driving shortly after the shooting. O'Neill said a handgun was found with the men inside their car, but could not say whether it has been positively identified as the weapon used in the shooting. Morse said he is familiar with the feud between the biker gangs. ”He's running with a tough crowd, and there's obviously a lot of hostility between the Hells Angels and the Mongols,” Morse said. “I don't know why he was targeted. But (he was) playing a dangerous game, and this is sometimes what happens.” Eureka Police investigators continue to investigate the shooting, and new information is expected soon, O'Neill said.


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