Tennis umpire got manicure, left husband to die, D.A. says
U.S. Open tennis umpire Lois Goodman stabbed her 80-year-old husband 10 times with a broken coffee mug and left him to die in his bed as she went to "tennis and to get her nails done," a prosecutor told a judge Tuesday.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Sharon Ranson said the slaying of Alan Goodman on April 17 in the couple's Woodland Hills condominium was premeditated and that his 70-year-old wife wielded the broken coffee cup as an "improvised knife."
Prosecutors offered the new details in court Wednesday as Lois Goodman pleaded not guilty to the murder charge. Commissioner Mitchell Block reduced her bail from $1 million to $500,000, citing her age, lack of criminal record and ties to the community. If she is released from custody, Block ordered Goodman to remain on home electronic monitoring.
Her attorney, Alison Triessl, has said that Lois Goodman is too weak and physically incapable of committing the crime. She noted in a court motion that Goodman has two bad knees, a replaced left shoulder, a torn rotator cuff, rheumatoid arthritis and "back pain that requires pain-blocking sent from an implanted device."
Lois Goodman has told police that she came home and found her husband dead in bed. She said she believed he crawled there after falling down the stairs.
Authorities only began to investigate the death as a homicide a few days later when a coroner's investigator at the funeral home noticed a deep wound in Alan Goodman's head. An autopsy revealed shards of pottery in the wound.
A search warrant executed April 21 turned up blood throughout the home "inconsistent with accidental death," Det. Jeffrey Briscoe wrote. Stains on carpets, the refrigerator door, inside a linen closet and on the wall leading to the garage suggested "a mobile victim" who, police theorized, would have called for help.
Outside court, Ransom reiterated the prosecution's contention that Lois Goodman, after attacking her husband, went about her business as he lay mortally wounded. "He was left there to die," she said.
Triessl said an allegation that her client was involved with another man is "absolutely, categorical not true."
Triessl said Lois Goodman's family "maintains their mother did not do this."
Co-defense counsel Robert Sheahan said Goodman would be acquitted and that police mishandled the investigation.
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-- Richard Winton in Van Nuys
Photo: Lois Goodman pleaded not guilty in a Van Nuys courtroom to a charge of murder. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times