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Tennis umpire too weak to kill her husband, attorney says

August 29, 2012 |  9:28 am

Lois Goodman

Tennis umpire Lois Goodman could not have bludgeoned her 80-year-old husband to death with a coffee mug because she's too weak to deliver the fatal blows, one of her attorneys said.

Goodman is accused of killing Alan Goodman on April 17 and then telling officers she came home and found him dead in bed. She said she believed he crawled there after falling down the stairs.

Her attorney Alison Triessl noted in a court motion that the 70-year-old woman 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."

Detectives know it's physically impossible for her to have committed the crime, Triessl said. She was seeking to have Goodman's bail reduced from $1 million to $100,000 at a court hearing Wednesday.

"Mrs. Goodman is a 70-year-old mother and grandmother with no prior criminal record," Triessl wrote.

Triessl said her client was innocent and an easy target for sloppy police who allowed the body to be removed from the Goodmans' home. She said that detectives have also suggested that her client was involved with another man, which is untrue.

Authorities only began to view Alan Goodman's death as a homicide on April 20 when a coroner's investigator at the funeral home noticed a deep wound to 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.

They also found that Lois Goodman, married to her husband for nearly 50 years, was communicating on the Internet with another man. One email described by Briscoe included cryptic remarks about her "terminating a relationship" and having "alternative sleeping arrangements."

In addition to blood samples and the email correspondence, officers seized documents about a living trust and a broken ceramic mug.

In Lois Goodman's initial conversations with police, she "went out of her way to account for her time on the day of the deceased's death" and had reactions "not typical of a grieving spouse," Briscoe wrote.

She later gave detectives conflicting accounts of what she had seen in the home, at one point describing the scene as "violent" and suggesting his body might have been "positioned," Briscoe wrote.

Investigators continued working the case for four months. They presented it to prosecutors last week and then tracked Goodman to New York, where she was set to officiate in the U.S. Open, one of pro tennis' Grand Slam events. She was wearing a U.S. Open track suit when police took her into custody in a Manhattan hotel.


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-- Richard Winton

Photo: Lois Goodman with her attorney, Alison Triessl, at her arraignment on Thursday. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press