Michael Thompson is a former member of the neo-Nazi prison gang the Aryan Brotherhood. As part of his disassociation from the group, he cooperated with authorities investigating an unsolved murder dating back to 1987.
Michael Thompson went to jail as a young man following two convictions of first-degree murder. Once incarcerated, he became a notable part of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang organization, which was first formed in 1964. However, he later became disturbed the killings condoned and completed by the leadership of the Aryan Brotherhood and decided to become an informant instead.
In 1985, Michael Thompson testified against Joseph Michael O'Rourke, who was charged with the killing of Ricky Helt in 1977. O'Rourke was accused of killing Helt as part of a dispute about the latter stealing drugs from O'Rourke's girlfriend. The case was initially unsolved until 1984, when O'Rourke and another inmate told law enforcement authorities that O'Rourke had told them about his role in the murders during incarceration.
During the course of trial, Michael Thompson explained the inner workings of the Aryan Brotherhood's activities, stating that he had chosen to become a witness because he disagreed with the decision to kill Helt. However, O'Rourke was subsequently acquitted by a jury which found that Michael Thompson, along with two other witnesses from the Aryan Brotherhood, did not possess sufficient credibility to allow them to find O'Rourke guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
During his incarceration, Michael Thompson was also bunkmates with two men who were involved in another killing. In 1977, a woman named Margo Compton, her boyfriend, and the woman's two six-year-old daughters were murdered at the behest of Otis Garrett in retaliation for Compton's testimony against him in trial. The killing was executed by Bob McClure. Michael Thompson had known both men and said they had both admitted their involvement in the killing.
During his testimony in this trial, Michael Thompson explained that he had decided to inform against the two men because of his disgust that the two men had killed children, which he considered to be something he could not countenance. During his testimony, Michael Thompson also said that he had been so disturbed by learning of the two men's actions that he had considered ordering their execution.
The defense's response included charging Michael Thompson with lying in an attempt to gain favor with legal authorities. Garrett also claimed that he had not been acquainted with Michael Thompson at the time when he allegedly confessed to these crimes. However, the jury hearing the cases ultimately returned guilty verdicts against both Otis Garrett and Bob McClure. Michael Thompson remains an active collaborator with law enforcement officials seeking to better understand the operations of the Aryan Brotherhood. He is also a frequent lecturer on the subject, has been associated with a number of documentaries about the movement, and remains active in trying to discourage others from joining the Aryan Brotherhood.