Robert Thompson shot outside Eureka bar

November 9, 2008 

Thompson

Robert Daniel Thompson, the man acquitted of murder charges in the 1986 unsolved homicides of two Atwater girls, is in the hospital after being shot Friday in Eureka.

The 43-year-old Hells Angel was listed in serious, but stable, condition at UC Davis Medical Center on Sunday, according to hospital staff.

Although details about the incident are sketchy, the Eureka Times-Standard reported Thompson was shot several times outside of a bar called "The Shanty," found lying in an intersection, bleeding from gunshot wounds.

Eureka police responded to the scene after 11 p.m. and four suspects were arrested shortly thereafter. Eureka residents Eric Gunner Lundin, 28, Dustin Christopher Liebes, 36, Brad Lee Miller, 26, and Redding resident Eric Dean Garcia, 28, were booked into Humboldt County jail on suspicion of attempted murder, according to the Eureka Times-Standard.

Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen told the Eureka Times-Standard the shooting may be rooted in the simmering feud between the Hells Angels and their biker rivals, the Mongols, although that hasn't been confirmed.

Nicknamed "Bobby T" by friends and family, Thompson was tried twice in the 22-year-old double homicide case of 12-year-old Jodi Ragsdale and 15-year-old Sheila Carter. A Merced County jury in July found him not guilty of committing the murders, months after his first trial ended in a hung jury.

Thompson continues to maintain his innocence in the girls' deaths.

He was convicted in 1987 for kidnapping a woman and served seven years in prison. As a result, he is listed as a convicted sex offender on the state's Megan's Law Web site.

The gruesome killings, which happened Dec. 13, 1986, horrified residents and remains one of Merced County's most heinous crimes. The girls' battered bodies were discovered along the shoulder of Campodonica Road near Alves Road in rural Merced County; their heads crushed so badly, they were rendered almost unrecognizable.

Animosity between the Hells Angels and the Mongols has boiled over in recent months, including in Merced County. A June 28 melee between members of both gangs in Los Banos resulted in gunshots and one man stabbed.

Last month, Modesto police arrested a man suspected in the Sept. 2 shooting death of a Hells Angel leader in San Francisco. Police believe the suspect may be a Mongols member, according to The Modesto Bee.

Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsun-star.com.

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