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U.S. Open tennis umpire allegedly killed husband with coffee mug

August 21, 2012 | 11:44 am

A high-ranking umpire on the U.S. professional tennis circuit arrested Tuesday in New York allegedly bludgeoned her 82-year-old husband to death with a coffee mug in Woodland Hills and then tried to make it look like he fell down the stairs, authorities said.

Lois Goodman, 70, was arrested at her New York hotel and charged with murder by the L.A. County district attorney's office. She was in New York to officiate at U.S. Open tennis matches.

Goodman, a well-known tennis official who has received dirty looks from John McEnroe, apologies from Andre Agassi and kindness from Pete Sampras, initially told police her husband, Alan Frederick Goodman, took a deadly tumble April 17 down the stairs of their Woodland Hills home. She reported it at 7 that evening.

But Los Angeles County prosecutors said Tuesday that Goodman was killed with a coffee mug.

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

Los Angeles police Lt. David Storaker said Alan Goodman's death "was a suspicious death from the onset," adding that his head injuries seemed more consistent with an attack.

Los Angeles County coroner's officials supported that and said the injuries were inconsistent with a 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 home, Storaker said. That evidence was presented to prosecutors, who recently filed charges.

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

She was arrested while having breakfast Tuesday morning, Storaker said.

"It was the referee's hotel," he said, adding the arrest unfolded without incident.

"If need be, we [would have] gone to" the U.S. Open," Storaker said.

Storaker said detectives believe they know a motive for the killing but are not releasing those details. They are asking the public to come forward with any relevant information about the couple in the months leading to the April killing.

Goodman shared the court with some of the world's top tennis players since the 1970s as umpire or line umpire.Through the years, she has seen the sport's biggest names up close: Jimmy Connors, McEnroe, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, to name a few.

In a 1994 interview, she told the Times: "It's exciting. This is my favorite sport and I'm out there rubbing shoulders with the best players. There's no real way to describe it."

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-- Richard Winton

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