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Shock after U.S. Open tennis referee accused of killing husband

August 23, 2012 |  6:36 am
 Lois Goodman was arrested Tuesday at a Manhattan hotel. She was in New York to officiate at the U.S. Open.

The arrest of a high-ranking umpire on the U.S. tennis circuit for allegedly bludgeoning her 80-year-old husband to death with a coffee mug in their Woodland Hills home has shocked some in the tennis world.

A longtime colleague said she doesn't believe Lois Goodman killed her husband.

"I've worked with her for years, and I don't believe any of this," said Annette Buck, a program director at the United States Tennis Assn.'s Southern California Tennis Assn.

Goodman, 70, was taken into custody at a hotel in New York City, where she was preparing to work at the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Goodman has worked as an umpire for decades, officiating matches of some of the sport's top players.

She initially told police that her husband, Alan Frederick Goodman, took a fatal fall April 17 down the stairs of their Woodland Hills home, police said.

But Los Angeles County prosecutors said Tuesday that Alan Goodman met a far more gruesome end at the hands of his spouse.

"She bludgeoned him to death with a coffee mug," said Jane Robison, a district attorney's spokeswoman.

Despite Goodman's expression of sadness over the accident, Los Angeles police Lt. David Storaker said it "was a suspicious death from the onset," adding that Alan Goodman's head injuries seemed more consistent with an attack.

Within weeks, forensic evidence supported that view. A Los Angeles County coroner's medical examiner found the injuries were inconsistent with an accidental fall.

"It was a homicide. He had multiple sharp-force injuries," said Ed Winter, assistant chief of investigations for the coroner.

During the last few months, detectives gathered evidence and served several warrants, including at least one at Goodman's town house, Storaker said.

Neighbor Adaline Handler recalled seeing police raid the house about a month ago.

"They did a search warrant and put her out on the porch," Handler said. "Bad news travels fast in this complex.... The police cars were very obvious."

Handler said neighbors in the Oxnard Street complex were told Alan Goodman fell down the stairs with something in his hand. Lois Goodman "had all the rugs cleaned right after it happened and then the police came back," Handler said.

She described Alan Goodman as a "nice little man" who suffered from diabetes. The couple were often seen together at the swimming pool, she said.

Los Angeles police said it has been difficult to track down Goodman because she travels frequently, and for weeks at a time. They learned she was scheduled to be in New York for the U.S. Open, where qualifying matches are underway.

They arrested her after she finished breakfast Tuesday morning at a Midtown Sheraton. New York police handcuffed her and walked her past photographers. She wore a blue U.S. Open jacket.

Storaker said detectives believe they have a motive for the killing, but they declined to release those details. They are asking the public to come forward with any relevant information about the couple in the months leading to the killing.

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--Richard Winton

Photo: Lois Goodman was arrested Tuesday at a Manhattan hotel. She was in New York to officiate at the U.S. Open. Credit: CBS 2

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