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Michael Thompson is a former leader in the Aryan Brotherhood (AB) prison gang.[1][2]



Michael Thompson was born October 2, 1950 in Bakersfield, California, coming from a Native American background. Michael was never a troubled teenager as depicted by certain articles about him. His Mother had a boyfriend who didn't want all 7 of her children, so systematically they started farming them out. Michael was put in a boys home for no other reason than he was a kid. His sister was also put in an orphanage and later put up for adoption. His older siblings were pregnant and married by the time they were 16 and his older brother was put in the military by his Mother forging his birth date. He moved from the boys home to a foster home which was a working horse ranch Orange County California and attended Villa Park High School where he excelled in football and was an A-B student.A family took him in and mentored him. He was actually the first to graduate from High School in his family. After graduating from high school he attended Orange Community College At 19 he married a woman 12 years his senior (Berdell). She was a Go-Go dancer and bartender at a local bar. Through her, he was introduced to a whole new "type" of people. She got him a job as a bodyguard for a drug dealer. He killed 2 drug dealers with a ball peen hammer and was convicted of two counts of 1st degree murder. He claimed this was to prevent an assasination plot against his boss, but it is generally believed that he wanted to be with the wife of one of his intended victims. He married the wife of one of his victims (Patricia Nunley) before she knew he actually murdered her husband. He has been in prison since 1973, and has been sentenced to additional life terms for murders committed behind bars.

Aryan Brotherhood days

He always had reservations about joining the group, but eventually relented. As it was put to him "you join, or you die". He claims to have killed twenty-two people behind bars, all gang-war related while a member of the Brotherhood. His first involvement with the Brotherhood was when he was attacked at Deuel Vocational Institute in Tracy by two members of the Black Guerrilla family and excelled in the fight with knives. From this point he moved to Folsom where he protected Ralph Sonny Barger of Hell's Angels fame and from there moved on the San Quentin where he ran the yard and many would say the prison. From here he was moved to Chino and a summit at Palm Hall with other leaders of the AB.


Thompson later became an informant against the Aryan Brotherhood after another AB member, Curtis Price, killed the father, wife and friend of an AB informant named Steven Barnes. Thompson was appalled by the lack of respect shown by AB to the informant in its ranks, and started cooperating with the FBI. Thompson's name was put "in the hat," which is AB code for placing his name on their kill-list.[3]

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.[4]


  1. ^ David Grann. ""The Brand"". The New Yorker. Retrieved 5 June 2007.  
  2. ^ Matt Dellinger. ""Murder in Maximum Security"". The New Yorker. Retrieved 5 June 2007.  
  3. ^ THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. CURTIS FLOYD PRICE, Defendant and Appellant
  4. ^ United States v. Barry Byron Mills, et al.

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