Ex-Convict Is Freed on Reduced Bail of $5,000
San Francisco Chronicle - Jan. 20, 1981, p. 15

    Phillip A. Thompson, the suspected felon who was released on his own recognizance last week despite a 15-year-long criminal history, was released from city prison again last night after his bail was reduced from $16,000 to $5,000.

    Investigators believe Thompson is linked to the disappearance of Valerie McDonald, 26, an artist and would-be film star who vanished from her North Beach apartment November 9 in the company of one of Thompson's associates.

    Thompson was arrested last Wednesday during a raid on a warehouse in Hunter's Point which contained evidence from a series of Northern California crimes, including the hijackings of two United Parcel Service truck. Charges against him include grand theft, possession of an illegal firearm, being an ex-felon in possession of firearms and possession of drugs and narcotics paraphernalia.

    Investigators who later searched the warehouse found evidence which they fear may mean the missing woman has met with foul play.

    Thompson was released Thursday without bail by Municipal Court Judge Louis Garcia, but Garcia revoked Thompson's release after learning that he has an extensive criminal record.

    He was re-arrested Friday night at a motel in Berkeley and was held in lieu of $16,000 statutory bail.

    The amount of Thompson's bail was reduced during a court hearing before Municipal Court Judge Maxine Mackler Chesney yesterday afternoon, and he was released shortly after 9 p.m.

    Another suspect arrested with Thompson, James M. Dunagan, 26, remained in custody last night, with bail set at $2,000.