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Thompson takes stand, denies killing girls

Robert Thompson said he’s been a lot of things in his life — a convicted kidnapper, a user of illegal narcotics and a thief.

However, he told jurors in his double homicide trial that he is not the killer of 12-year-old Jodi Ragsdale and 15-year-old Sheila Carter.

The 42-year-old Thompson went to the stand in his own defense Wednesday, telling jurors in his gravelly voice that he remembers seeing Carter and Ragsdale around 2 a.m. on Dec. 13, 1986 in the parking lot of Bellevue Bowl in Atwater.

While prosecutors have alleged that Thompson later that morning bludgeoned Carter and Ragsdale to death with a car jack, Thompson said he asked the girls “why they were cruising around” and then told them to go home. “After that, they left and I never saw them again,” Thompson said.

For more about this story, read Thursday's Merced Sun-Star.