Tennis referee in court to face murder charge
A lawyer for a professional tennis referee accused of killing her 80-year-old husband denounced the allegations Friday and criticized Los Angeles police for arresting her in New York, where she would have been a line judge in next week's U.S. Open.
Still wearing a tennis official outfit, Lois Goodman, 70, appeared briefly in Superior Court in Van Nuys but her arraignment and bond hearing were continued to Wednesday to allow her attorney time to file a motion seeking reduction of her US$1 million bail and allow her to be released on her own recognizance.
Her sister and daughter were in the courtroom but couldn't see her because she was behind a meshed-covered window.
Outside court, Goodman's lawyer condemned the arrest.
"She's distraught. This is an outrage," Alison Triessl said. "She is in shock and her family is very concerned for her."
Goodman has co-operated with investigators throughout, she said.
"These charges are outrageous and they're completely unfounded," the lawyer said. "The Los Angeles Police Department should be ashamed of arresting a 70-year-old woman in New York who has made herself available to investigators in Los Angeles."
Deputy District Attorney Lisa Tanner said prosecutors allege that Goodman bludgeoned her husband to death with a coffee cup that broke and then used the sharp handle to stab him.
"All of these facts will come out during the trial," Tanner said. "The people are confident that justice will prevail."
Goodman was returned to Los Angeles late Thursday after agreeing to not fight extradition from New York.
Los Angeles police have said Goodman was poised to be in New York for several weeks and they wanted to move swiftly to arrest a murder suspect.
Her husband, Alan Goodman, died on April 17 at the couple's condominium in Woodland Hills. Authorities briefly accepted Lois Goodman's explanation that she returned home to find a blood-covered coffee mug and her husband lying in bed not breathing after most likely falling down the stairs.
Two fire department paramedics answering the 911 call made note of an odd-shaped wound on Goodman's head, according to a police detective's affidavit. They advised police that "the scene appeared suspicious and left the body undisturbed," said the document attached to a search warrant by police Detective Jeffrey T. Briscoe.
But after questioning Lois Goodman, police released her husband's body to her and it was transported to a mortuary for cremation. But on April 20, before that could happen, a coroner's investigator, Mario Sainz, was sent to the crematory to sign a death certificate. His examination of the body turned the case into a homicide investigation, according to the affidavit.
"Saenz discovered that the decedent sustained multiple lacerations to the right side of his head and also had three cuts to the right ear," said the affidavit. "The injuries appeared to be deep, penetrating blunt force trauma that was consistent with being inflicted with a sharp object.
"Saenz stated that he believed there was sufficient evidence to suggest that this was a homicide," said Briscoe.
The body was then taken to the coroner's office for an autopsy which found nine to ten distinct injuries to the right side of Goodman's head and concluded "his death was caused by another person."
When police executed a subsequent search warrant, they found blood throughout the three-story house "inconsistent with accidental death" and suggesting a "mobile victim," the affidavit said.
Blood was found on the carpets, in a linen closet, on the refrigerator door and on a wall leading to the first floor garage.
During the search, police seized evidence that Lois Goodman had been communicating on the Internet with another man, though the nature of that relationship was not clear.
The affidavit said one email contained the phrases "terminating a relationship," and having "alternative sleeping arrangements," though police could not determine to what they referred.
During her initial questioning, Goodman "went out of her way to account for her time on the day of the decedent's death"
"Lois' emotional reaction to what she had seen and the loss of her husband was not typical of that of a grieving spouse," the affidavit said.
Detectives worked the case for four months. An arrest warrant was filed Aug. 14.