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Tennis umpire's DNA not on the murder weapon, attorney says

November 8, 2012 |  4:29 pm

Lois Goodman

Tennis umpire Lois Goodman's DNA is not on the coffee cup that authorities say she used to bludgeon her 80-year-old husband to death last April, one of her attorneys said Thursday. He cited preliminary DNA test results.

Defense attorney Robert Sheahen said an initial DNA test showed that although her DNA was not on the shattered coffee cup, Alan Goodman's DNA was. The information was among thousands of pages of discovery turned over by L.A. County prosecutors to Goodman's defense team. Sheahen said prosecutors after Goodman's arrest sought her DNA and tested her pants but found her DNA only on the clothing and none from her husband.

Sheahen said the "DNA findings bolster our contention from the very beginning that this is a horrible accident."

Goodman has pleaded not guilty to the attack on her husband. She told police she came home and found her husband dead in bed. She said she believed he crawled there after falling down the stairs and falling on the coffee cup he was carrying.

Prosecutors have insisted that Goodman was a calculating killer who bludgeoned her husband with the coffee cup and then stabbed him when it shattered. They allege she left him to die and went off to a tennis match and to get a manicure as he bled to death.

Sources familar with the investigation said they believe that the large amount of blood from Alan Goodman may have washed away his wife's DNA on the cup.

Authorities began to investigate the death as a homicide a few days after Alan Goodman's death when a coroner's investigator at the funeral home noticed a deep wound in his head. An autopsy revealed shards of pottery in the wound. They allege that Goodman wielded the broken coffee cup like a knife.

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.

Goodman's attorneys insist the investigation was "botched from start to finish."

“It was never clear to the police what happened in this case,” Sheahen said. “At first, they ruled it was an accident, but then switched over to a homicide theory."

 Goodman's lawyers have since her high-profile arrest at a hotel in New York, where she was umpiring at the U.S. Open, mounted an aggressive defense, including hiring a former FBI polygraph expert to show she was not lying about her version of events. 

During the examination, Goodman denied killing her husband or having any involvement in his death, Sheahen said. Ex-FBI man Jack Trimarco found “no deception” on Goodman's part, Sheahen said.

Trimarco's analysis was supported by Ron Homer, also an FBI-trained polygraph expert, Sheahen said.  Trimarco conducted an examinaton in 2011 on Giovanni Ramirez, who was charged and later cleared in the Dodger Stadium assault on Giants fan Bryan Stow.

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-- Richard Winton

Follow Richard Winton (@LACrimes) on Twitter and Google+

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

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