Tennis referee headed to L.A. to face murder case
A professional tennis referee accused of beating her 80-year-old husband to death with a coffee mug was headed toward Los Angeles on Thursday to face a murder charge after her New York arrest.
Lois Goodman said nothing and looked expressionless as Los Angeles Police Department detectives escorted her from a Manhattan court, still wearing her navy-blue uniform warm-up suit for the U.S. Open. She'd been arrested while in town to work as a line judge at the tournament.
Alan Goodman died April 17 at the couple's condominium in the Woodland Hills neighborhood. His wife told police he apparently had an accident while she was officiating at a tennis match, but police said this week they considered the death suspicious early on.
The husband's head injuries and the amount of blood at the scene didn't square with his wife's suggestion that he'd fallen down some stairs, and police noticed a broken mug, authorities said. An arrest warrant was filed Aug. 14.
Lois Goodman was being flown to Los Angeles on Thursday and was expected to be arraigned there Monday. The 70-year-old had agreed after her arrest Tuesday not to fight extradition to California.
"She's anxious to defend herself" in California, said her New York lawyer, Guy Oksenhendler.
He questioned authorities' decision to have her arrested in New York, suggesting it was a tactic to get headlines on two coasts.
"My concern is that their actions may prejudice her defense in California," he said.
Authorities briefly chose to accept Lois Goodman's explanation in April that she returned home to find a coffee mug covered in blood and her husband lying in bed and not breathing, though a paramedic made note of an odd-shaped wound on his head, according to a search warrant and affidavit obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
But a coroner's investigator sent to a mortuary to sign the death certificate set off a homicide investigation when he saw cuts around Alan Goodman's head and ears, the court records showed Thursday.
When police executed the subsequent search warrant they found blood throughout the house "inconsistent with accidental death" and suggesting a "mobile victim," the affidavit said.
During the search police also seized evidence that Lois Goodman had been communicating on the Internet with another man, though the nature of their relationship was not clear.
The affidavit said that during her initial questioning, Goodman "went out of her way to account for her time on the day of the deceased death" and that her responses were "not typical of a grieving spouse."
The LAPD has said Goodman was poised to be in New York for several weeks and police wanted to move swiftly to arrest a murder suspect.
The Goodmans had owned an auto parts business since the early 1960s and had three daughters, according to a 1994 Los Angeles Times profile that explored Lois Goodman's experiences refereeing matches involving some of tennis' biggest stars. She began officiating in 1979.