Home / National News / Lawyers: ‘Physically Impossible’ for US Open Ref to Have Killed Husband


(NEW YORK) — Attorneys for the veteran line judge who would be working at the U.S. Open were she not sitting in an L.A. County jail after being accused of bludgeoning her husband to death, claim that it’s “physically impossible” for the 70-year-old to have committed the crime.

Lois Goodman should be on court in New York City this week, keeping the greatest tennis players on the planet in line.  She was arrested in New York on Aug. 21, the eve of the Open, and charged with first-degree murder.  Police say that she bludgeoned her husband of 50 years to death at their Los Angeles home with a coffee mug and stabbed him with the broken shards.

“It is physically impossible for her to have committed this offense.  She has had two full knee replacements, she has had a shoulder replacement.  She wears two hearing aids, and has rheumatoid arthritis,” said Alison Triessl, Goodman’s attorney.

Goodman called police on April 17 and told officers she arrived home and found her husband, Alan Goodman, 80, dead in their bed.  She claims her husband suffered a heart attack then had fallen in their home.

“She surmised that he must have had a heart attack and fallen down the stairs,” Lt. David Storaker, the chief of detectives at the LAPD’s Topanga station, told ABC News last week.

But an autopsy revealed “deep, penetrating blunt force trauma that was consistent with being inflicted with a sharp object.”  Only then did authorities investigate the alleged murder scene.

Officers concluded that there was no sign of forced entry, and the statements Lois Goodman was making seemed suspicious, so they investigated further, Storaker said.  The cause of death was multiple injuries to the head, he said.

“We located that coffee mug in several pieces at the crime scene,” Detective Dave Peteque with the LAPD said.  

Court documents obtained by ABC News show that the 70-year-old referee sent emails to another man, messages that reportedly mentioned “terminating a relationship.”

The documents, including a police detective’s affidavit, also allege that the emails that Lois Goodman sent to the man talked about having “alternative sleeping arrangements,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Triessl says that the allegations of a relationship outside of her client’s marriage are untrue.

“That is preposterous!  Absolutely insane, did not happen.  Absolutely not,” she said.

Her lawyers argue that Goodman, who once sparred on court with John McEnroe, is just a frail old lady.

“I mean, you’d have to have Herculean strength to kill with a coffee cup, wouldn’t you?” Attorney Robert Sheahen said.

Sheahen also maintains that Goodman’s job as a line judge does not indicate the strength needed to bludgeon a man to death.

“To work at the U.S. Open you don’t have to be able to swing a coffee cup,” he said, adding that the delay before investigating the crime scene is an issue.

“If the police want to convict somebody of a homicide, they should investigate a homicide properly. They did not in this case,” he said. “They botched the physical scene.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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