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Michael Thompson was a leader in the Aryan Brotherhood (AB) prison gang. He has been in prison since 1973, and has been sentenced to additional life terms for crimes committed behind bars. Thompson is particularly known for his cooperation with authorities following a moral dichotomy in Aryan Brotherhood leadership, and has spent his latter years depicting the operational methods of the Aryan Brotherhood.
Michael Thompson was born October 2, 1951 (according to prison records), in Bakersfield, California, coming from a European and Native American background. He stands almost 6 feet, 4 inches (192 cm) tall and has a massive figure. He was a former high school football star. Contrary to some reports, Michael was never a troubled teenager, but his mother's boyfriend didn't want all seven of her children. The two systematically started to place the children elsewhere, and Michael was put in a boys' home. His sister was sent to an orphanage, and later put up for adoption. His older sisters were pregnant and married by the time they were 16, and his older brother was forced to enlist in the military by his mother, who had forged his birth date.
Thompson moved from the boys' home to a foster home, which was a working horse ranch in Orange County, California. He attended Villa Park High School, where he excelled in football and was an A-B student. A family took him in and mentored him, and he became the first to graduate high school in his immediate family.
He was later convicted of two counts of first-degree murder. Following the murder, Thompson was placed into Corcoran State Prison on a life sentence. Upon his entry, he was introduced to the Aryan Brotherhood and quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the gang's leaders.
Thompson later became an informant against the Aryan Brotherhood after another AB member, Curtis Price, killed the father and the wife of an AB informant named Steven Barnes. Thompson was appalled by the violence against non-members, and during a high-level gang meeting that involved the killing of women, children, and elders, Thompson was the only member of the leadership to vote against the killings. Thompson started cooperating with the FBI and his name was subsequently put "in the hat", which is AB code for placing his name on their "kill-list."
Though still in prison, Thompson has spent the past twenty years working with authorities in their efforts to clamp down on the activities of the AB. As well as testifying against AB members in court, he has given lectures and written documents on the activities of the Brotherhood. Thompson is sentenced to multiple life sentences with no chance of parole, and will spend the rest of his life in protective custody sections of California prisons.