Tennis umpire's lawyer: Poor LAPD work may let real killer escape
An attorney for tennis umpire Lois Goodman blasted Los Angeles police and said poor detective work could keep them from catching the real suspect who killed her husband.
Alan Goodman, 80, died on April 17. He was found dead in his bed after Lois Goodman told police she came home and followed a trail of blood upstairs to their bedroom. She said she believed that he had taken a fatal fall.
Police, at least initially, agreed with her assessment and released Alan Goodman's body to a mortuary. It wasn't until three days later that a coroner's investigator at the funeral home noticed a deep wound in Alan Goodman's head. An autopsy revealed shards of ceramic pottery in the wound, prosecutors said. Police executed a search warrant on April 21 and turned up blood throughout the home inconsistent with an accidental death.
But now, attorneys for Lois Goodman believe the lack of crime scene integrity makes finding the real assailant impossible.
"The only DNA evidence of another killer is trampled right now under the footprint of an LAPD officer who didn't maintain the scene," said Robert Sheahen, one of Goodman's attorneys.
Although Goodman has been charged with first-degree murder, her attorneys contend that she was physically incapable of the brutal bludgeoning described by prosecutors. They said she is too weak and suffers a variety of physical maladies, including two bad knees, a replaced left shoulder, a torn rotator cuff, rheumatoid arthritis and back pain.
Numerous other family members and friends have also filed character references on behalf of Lois Goodman.
James F. Flood, past president of the Southern California Tennis Umpires Assn., wrote a letter to the court, saying that he had known Goodman and her husband for more than 20 years and she did "not have a violent bone in her body."
"Her character screams love, caring and generosity!" Flood wrote. "It is my absolute belief that nowhere in her character can one find the capacity for her to do what she is accused of."
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Lois Goodman, sitting next to her attorney, Alison Triessl, pleads not guilty in a Van Nuys courtroom to the charge of murder. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times