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Pro tennis umpire charged with husband’s murder

Lois_Goodman.jpg

FILE 2008: Tennis referee Lois Goodman is shown while officiating a CIF tennis tournament.AP Photo/Los Angeles Daily News

As an umpire for decades on some of tennis's biggest stages, Lois Goodman mixed it up with John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova, Roger Federer and the Williams Sisters.

Already in New York City for next week's U.S. Open where she was to serve as a line judge, the 70-year-old Goodman was met Tuesday with a felony arrest warrant from her hometown of Los Angeles, where police and prosecutors say she beat her 80-year-old husband to death with a coffee mug in April.

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Goodman has been a line judge at the U.S. Open for many years and was scheduled to work at this year's tournament, which begins Monday, and was about to begin working the tournament's qualifying matches on Tuesday, said tournament spokesman Tim Curry, who had no further comment.

In 1994 when Goodman had already been officiating for 15 years, she was profiled by the Los Angeles Times and described as an avid tennis fan who got the chance to be a referee.

"It's exciting," Goodman said at the time. "This is my favorite sport and I'm out there rubbing shoulders with the best players. There's no real way to describe it."

Goodman said the job was worth the paltry pay, the dirty looks from McEnroe and the verbal assaults from players like Andre Agassi.

"You just can't let anything bother you," Goodman said. "And you can't take anything personally. If you do, you're in big trouble."

The profile said Goodman and her husband, Alan Goodman, had owned a Southern California auto parts business since the early 1960s and had three daughters.

Alan Goodman would die on April 12 of this year at the couple's condominium in the Woodland Hills neighborhood.

Lois Goodman told police it appeared to have been an accident and she had been out all day refereeing a tennis match, said Lt. David Storaker of the Los Angeles Police Department.

When Goodman found her husband unresponsive in bed, "she said she surmised he had fallen down the steps, had a heart attack and managed to get back upstairs to the bed," Storaker said.

"It was a suspicious death from the beginning," he added.

Los Angeles County coroner's office spokesman Ed Winter said investigators were sent to the mortuary where Alan Goodman's body was taken, and they noticed that he had multiple sharp force injuries on and around his head that were inconsistent with Lois Goodman's explanation.

Police found similar inconsistencies, including an amount of blood that did not suggest a fall and a broken coffee mug, Storaker said, and working with coroner's investigators ruled the death a homicide and presented their conclusions to the district attorney's office. A warrant for Goodman's arrest was issued Aug. 14.

A source told The New York Post that “there was blood everywhere."

"There was a lot of blood inside the apartment, and there was no sign of forced entry. Obviously, he was killed by someone who knew him and had a key," the source told the paper.

A groundskeeper at the couple's gated community, Alfonso Rosas, told The Post that "two or three times, the police had been over [to the couple's apartment] in the past of couple of weeks."

"The wife, afterwards, she would cry. One time, she was fighting with the police and screamed at them," he said.

Storaker declined to discuss a possible motive.

"We don't want to taint anything by releasing that," Storaker said. "We know they were together at several locations during that day and would like to talk to people who saw them."

One tennis official said she thinks Goodman must be innocent.

"I've worked with her for years and I don't believe any of this," Annette Buck, director of adult and senior tennis at the U.S. Tennis Association, told the Times.

Goodman appeared late Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court, where she agreed to waive an extradition hearing so she could be returned quickly to Los Angeles to face the charges.

She was led into the courthouse in handcuffs, wearing her official U.S. Open clothes, a dark blue Ralph Lauren sweat suit, according to the New York Post. She showed no emotion and spoke only to give brief answers to a judge's questions.

If convicted, Goodman could be sentenced to life in prison. It was not clear when she would be returned to Los Angeles. Prosecutors said they would ask for $1 million bail.

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