Tennis umpire murder probe was ‘by the books,’ Beck says
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Despite a decision by prosecutors to drop a murder charge against tennis umpire Lois Goodman, Los Angeles’ police chief said Thursday that a review of the detectives’ work shows they handled the investigation appropriately and acted on a coroner’s report that was later contradicted by new information.
Prosecutors last week dismissed the high-profile murder case against Goodman, who was accused of fatally bludgeoning her husband, Alan Goodman, with a coffee cup in April.
Goodman and her attorneys had insisted he died after falling down the stairs. The investigation in the case remains ongoing.
‘It is an open case and detectives absolutely handled it by the book,’ LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said. ‘I have done a review through [the] detective bureau of their actions. They consulted with the district attorney. They consulted with the court. They obtained search warrants and arrest warrants. They did what detectives do.
‘They were largely guided by information obtained through the coroner’s office,’ he added. ‘And some other information came up that contradicted some of that. So this is in the D.A.'s hands right now.’
Goodman, 70, said she found her husband dead April 17 at their Woodland Hills home. She told authorities that she came home and found a bloody trail up the stairs to their bedroom. She believed he had fallen, then made his way to bed. Responding officers believed her and the home was cleaned up.
But three days later, a coroner’s investigator visited the mortuary to sign the death certificate and reported he found ‘deep penetrating blunt force trauma’ on Alan Goodman’s head and ears. The observations launched a homicide investigation. In a search warrant, a detective described how investigators had found blood throughout the home.
But Goodman’s lawyers later revealed that the tennis umpire’s DNA wasn’t even found on the alleged murder weapon. Attorneys Alison Tressl and Robert Sheahen, working with investigator Scott Ross, hired former New York pathologist Michael Baden, who concluded the death was accidental and due to a heart attack.
Lois Goodman had also passed a defense arranged polygraph test conducted by a former FBI examiner, according to her lawyers.
In an interview with Matt Lauer on the ‘Today’ show, Goodman said the experience has been ‘unbelievable.’ ‘I can’t understand how it even got that far. ... Thank God it’s over,’ she said.
Sheahen said while the case is open he does not believe his client will be prosecuted.
-- Richard Winton