Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

U.S. Open Tennis Ref Accused in Husband's Coffee Mug Death Incapable of Murder, Lawyer Says

Lois Ann Goodman, 70, was arrested in New York under suspicion of bludgeoning her 80-year-old husband to death with a coffee mug in Los Angeles in April

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    Jefferson Siegel/NY Daily News
    Lois Goodman appears at her arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday night, August 21. (Jefferson Siegel/for NY Daily News)

    A professional tennis referee accused of beating her 80-year-old husband to death has had two knee replacements and a shoulder replacement and couldn't have carried out the killing, her lawyer wrote in a court filing.

    Lois Ann Goodman also suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, hearing loss and constant spinal pain that's controlled by an electronic device implanted in her spine and is awaiting another shoulder replacement, attorney Alison Triessl said in the filing late Monday.

    "It is physically impossible for her to have done this," Triessl told The Associated Press in a phone interview Monday night.

    U.S. Open Ref Arrested in Coffee Mug Killing

    [NY] U.S. Open Tennis Ref Arrested in Midtown in Husband's Slaying
    A high-profile referee who officiates at U.S. Open tennis matches was arrested in Midtown Tuesday on suspicion of bludgeoning her 80-year-old husband to death with a coffee mug in Los Angeles in April, authorities said. Lori Bordonaro has more. (Photo courtesy NY Daily News)

    Triessl asked the judge to reduce Goodman's $1 million bail to $100,000 or release her on electronic monitoring.

    "Mrs. Goodman is not a danger to any person or the community," Triessl wrote in the motion.

    U.S. Open Ref Accused Of Murder

    [NY] U.S. Open Ref Accused Of Murder
    Lois Goodman, an official at the U.S. Open, was arrested today and charged with the murder of her husband. Lori Bordonaro has the story. (Goodman photo courtesy: LA Daily News)

    Goodman and her husband, Alan, have three daughters and were nearing their 50th wedding anniversary when he was found dead on April 17 at the couple's condominium in the Woodland Hills neighborhood.

    Authorities briefly accepted Lois Goodman's explanation that she returned home to find a blood-covered coffee mug and her husband lying in bed not breathing after most likely falling down the stairs.

    Prosecutors now allege that Goodman bludgeoned her husband to death with a coffee cup that broke and then used the sharp handle to stab him. She was arrested last week in New York, where she was to serve as a line judge for this week's U.S. Open — one of many high-profile tournaments she had worked since 1979.

    Goodman agreed not to fight extradition and arrived back in California on Thursday. She has a bail hearing set for Wednesday.

    Triessl wrote in Monday's filing that there was no chance Goodman would flee, noting that she doesn't have a passport and has lifelong ties to the San Fernando Valley where she was born, raised and went to school.

    She noted that Goodman cooperated when police began investigating the death of her husband and submitted to three intensive interviews, driving herself to the police station when she was summoned.

    "She arrived on time and was utterly forthcoming," Triessl said.

    Given Goodman's cooperation, she denounced the Los Angeles Police Department's decision to wait until Goodman was in New York to arrest her. She said they could have asked her to turn herself in in California and she would have obliged.

    Triessl gave the court 40 testimonial letters from other tennis umpires, neighbors, family and friends, lauding Goodman as a beloved friend, colleague, mother and grandmother who treated her husband like a king. Most who knew her referred to her by her nickname of "Lolo."

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