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Emails emerge in murder case involving U.S. Open tennis referee

August 24, 2012 |  8:28 am

A 70-year-old pro tennis referee accused of killing her husband of 50 years was "communicating" with another man around the time of the slaying, according to court papers.

Lois Goodman was flow to Los Angeles from New York on Thursday night to face charges.

Emails reviewed by police, and contained in court papers, provide some intriguing but incomplete details about the case.

Police say Goodman was communicating on the Internet with another man. One email described in court papers included cryptic remarks about her "terminating a relationship" and having "alternative sleeping arrangements," though exactly what she meant remains unclear.

Authorities originally believed that her husband died of natural causes last spring, court records show.

But on the eve of his cremation, a perfunctory check at the mortuary triggered a series of stunning revelations: Alan Goodman had been beaten to death, the murder weapon was a coffee cup, and the prime suspect was his widow.

Lois Goodman was arrested Tuesday in New York City as she prepared to officiate at the U.S. Open.

Police who were called to the couple's Woodland Hills home April 17 found a blood trail leading to his body and severe wounds on his head. But officers accepted a theory advanced by his wife that he had fallen down the stairs before crawling into his bed.

"Some of the evidence matched her story," Lt. David Storacker said.

She told officers that she had been at Pierce College for six hours when she returned home and "observed a broken coffee mug on the floor which was covered in blood," according to an affidavit signed by a Los Angeles police detective.

"She discovered her husband lying in bed. He was covered in blood and did not appear to be breathing," Det. Jeffrey Briscoe wrote.

Two paramedics pronounced Alan Goodman dead and told their police counterparts about an "oddly shaped cut to the right side of the head," Briscoe wrote. "Firefighters advised officers that scene appeared suspicious and left the body undisturbed."

But after learning of the octogenarian's various medical maladies and consulting with the coroner's office, police determined there was no crime and allowed Lois Goodman to transfer his body to a mortuary without an autopsy. It was at Heritage Crematory on April 20 that a coroner's investigator, sent to sign the death certificate, noted the multiple cuts on Alan Goodman's head and ears.

The "deep penetrating blunt force trauma ... was consistent with being impacted with a sharp object," Briscoe wrote.

His observations launched a homicide investigation. An autopsy revealed shards of the coffee cup in the wounds. A search warrant executed April 21 turned up blood throughout the home "inconsistent with accidental death," Briscoe wrote. Stains on carpets, the refrigerator door, inside a linen closet and on the wall leading to the garage suggested "a mobile victim," police theorized.

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-- Richard Winton, Harriet Ryan and Hailey Branson-Potts

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