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Leonard 'Sheik' Thompson
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:19 pm    Post subject: Leonard 'Sheik' Thompson Reply with quote

Leonard 'Sheik' Thompson A-2705
June 10, 1923 - April 29, 1969

“How come everybody hated Sheik so much?”

“Cause the fool wasn’t human!”…”He used to work in the stone quarry, up that road you can see from the lower yard. It’s about two miles and it’s got a little grade. He used to run to work with some little sissy on his shoulders. On Field Meet Day, when they used to have that, he used to run the four-forty, eight-eighty and the mile…in the morning. Then in the afternoon, he would fight for the middleweight, light heavyweight, and the heavyweight titles. Sometimes he’d get a boxing lesson, but nobody ever knocked him out. He had the worst attitude.”

“Yeah,” another convict interjected, “He used to spit in people’s faces.”…”That’s dangerous in prison. And they stabbed him so many times. Mapa hit him in the head with a weight bar, hit him so hard it popped one of his eyes out-it was hanging by some kind of tendon. They tucked it back in and three weeks later he was on a fight card. Death row Jefferson and a couple others jumped him with shivs. He beat the “crap” out of all three of ‘em and then went out and testified. Death Row Jeff went to Death Row for it. That’s where he got his nickname.”

“Then there was the fight he had with Johnson, in Folsom. It was around behind building number one, and three guntowers opened up on ‘em. They were getting hit with thirty-thirties and thirty-ought sixes…and they’d get knocked down by bullets, and jump up at the other guy. Johnson bit Sheik’s ears off and swallowed em. When they finally broke it up and got ‘em to the hospital, the loudspeakers asked for blood donors. Not one dude in all of Folsom would give Sheik any blood. They went over and said they’d give Johnson some blood but “forget” Sheik Thompson.

He’d been in and out of prison all of his adult life and some of his exploits demonstrate how utterly ruthless he could be. Initially incarcerated on a charge of robbery, Sheik was released on parole in February 1952. During his time on the outside, Sheik made a couple of appearances as a professional boxer. His freedom and new found career came to an abrupt end after he was arrested in Los Angeles for the attempted murder of Paul Pargo. Pargo a promising local heavyweight boxer, refused Sheik's demand that he throw their fight at the Hollywood Legion Stadium. Following the conclusion of the card, Thompson went to Pargo’s house and threatened to kill him. After wounding Pargo slightly, Thompson was arrested and charged with “assault with a deadly weapon with intent to commit murder. A search of Sheik’s home turned up evidence of stolen property including a $40 ring that belonged to Pargo. That $40 robbery led to another robbery charge and a revocation of his parole. Held on $25,000 bail, Thompson would serve 13 years before receiving a release date on March 8, 1965.

Freedom would once again prove fleeting to Sheik as his parole was revoked once more in May of 1965. This time the charge was kidnapping for the purpose of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon upon a police officer. Sheik disappeared behind bars for the final time in September 1965. Expecting to serve a life sentence, Sheik continued to conduct himself in the same irrational manner as he always had. This made him a marked man and after a run in with two convicts aligned with the Black Guerilla Family, Thompson was clubbed and stabbed to death in the prison recreation shack where he was employed. Even in death, Thompson's legend lived on as a number of inmates who'd served time with him detailed his noxious disposition and disregard for rules and civilized comportment. If ever was there a prison gladiator, Sheik THompson was it.
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