An Oral History of the Crime Victim Assistance Field
Video and Audio Archive

Collene & Gary Campbell
Interview Transcript

Picture from Collene & Gary Campbell
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Interview Transcript

timecode Seymour: I'm going to ask you all to start by saying and spelling your names for the record.

timecode Collene: My name is Collene, maiden name Thompson, Campbell. That would be C-O-L-L-E-N-E, Thompson T-H-O-M-P-S-O-N, Campbell C-A-M-P-B-E-L-L.

timecode Gary: And I'm Gary Campbell G-A-R-Y, C-A-M-P-B-E-L-L.

timecode Seymour: Thank you all for being part of the Oral History Project. And as you know, I've asked you, to -- we're going to do things a little bit differently. We're gonna ask you both to talk about your experiences as crime victims in both of your cases and then, Collene, we'll continue the interview with you. And...whoever would like to start off, please.

timecode Gary: Well, I think the spokesperson in our family for the most part has been Collene and she's been the one that has got a great deal accomplished. So, let's let Collene start.

timecode Collene: Well, we'll go back to how we got involved in this movement. And God gave us a wonderful family, good dad, dad and mom, both of us. And I have a picture of my father when I was a little girl, and my brother. And I'll tell you about my brother later on, but this is a picture of my father who was an Alhambra police officer, a Captain in charge of detectives. And you can tell he is definitely a big, Irish cop. And however, as a child if I would have used the word "cop" I probably would have been in a lot of trouble. He was a police officer and he taught us integrity. He taught us to do what was right and he taught us to fight for what we believed in. As we went along we, Gary and I, who have now been married fifty-one years, were very fortunate to have a son and a daughter, the perfect family. Life was good. This is a picture of our son, Scott Campbell, that was taken just a couple months before he was murdered.

timecode He was holding our granddaughter, who today is twenty-one years old and, by the way we're still in the justice system. But Scotty was wonderful. Here's a picture of him a little bit earlier and he was our only son and we were really proud of him and loved him a lot, naturally. And as we went along, I had one sibling, a brother, Nicky Thompson. And he later became known in the auto racing world, and became quite famous, setting more land speed records than anybody in the world, first man to go over four hundred miles an hour, first American to go over four hundred miles an hour. And he was a man that I was tremendously, tremendously proud of a person that did a lot of good for a lot of people. He went into the Watts area, helped young kids learn how to work on cars. He gave scholarships at high schools and he was the perfect brother, one that Gary and I had a tremendous amount of fun with and he married a lady named Trudy. Sadly, Nicky and Trudy, and this is their picture, were murdered in 1988. They were shot, assassination style. As they were leaving their house at six o'clock in the morning, two men jumped out of a bush and killed them.

timecode Fifteen years later we're, since their murder, we're about ready to go to trial, hopefully, with the man who murdered Nicky and Trudy. It's been a hard life because for nearly twenty-one straight years we have never been out of the justice system and we've been going right straight through the courts, the appeals, the trying to get people in prison that have killed our family. It's a hard... it's a hard thing to endure, but fortunately God and our family have been really good to us in helping us along.

timecode Seymour: Gary, is there anything that you want to add?

timecode Gary: Well, I feel that her father, Marion, and her brother, Nicky, were, I consider them to be my mentors. She made comment that... that they were fine people, but I think that... that sort of doesn't have the emphasis on their character that I would like to see placed on it. They were people who had the courage of their convictions. And they... they believe that right was right and that you had to do right. And I'm sure that's what has brought Collene and I to the place where we are today, working to try to do right to right the justice system.