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Crime & Justice

Judge dismisses case against tennis umpire accused of killing husband

Lois Goodman pleaded not guilty to murder in an L.A. courtroom Wednesday.
Lois Goodman pleaded not guilty to murder in an L.A. courtroom Wednesday.
Photo via NBC LA

A tennis umpire accused of killing her elderly husband with a coffee mug left a Van Nuys courthouse Friday morning after a Los Angeles Superior Court judge dismissed the charges against her.

In a statement, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office  it had received new information on the case.

“Based upon this information, we announced that we are unable to proceed with the case at this time,” the statement said.

Lois Goodman, 70, has pleaded not guilty to murder charges alleging that she attacked her 80-year old husband with a coffee mug on April 17 in their Woodland Hills home.

In August she was extradited from New York City where she was preparing to serve as a referee for the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament.

Goodman maintains that her husband had fallen down the stairs and managed to climb into to bed where she found him dead when she returned home. Police who responded to the Goodmans' home in April believed her story and didn’t arrest the woman. Only a coroner’s report released right before cremation indicating that the man died from blunt force trauma prompted police to investigate the man’s death.

Her attorneys have told media that Goodman has passed a lie-detector test and that DNA tested on the broken pieces of the coffee mug did not match Goodman’s. 

The District Attorney’s office had declined to comment on what new information presented led to the request for a dismissal. But Goodman's defense attorney Robert Sheahen said it wasn't just the DNA and lie detector test that proved their case.

"If you look at the scene and the physical evidence there's no's simple impossible for Mrs. Goodman to have committed the offense," he said. "There's no blood spatter on the walls. There were injuries on the fellow's head where they could not have been inflicted by a right handed person."

The judge dismissed the case without prejudice; that means prosecutors could file charges against Goodman again.  A spokeswoman for the DA’s office said the office and the Los Angeles Police Department plans to continue investigating the case.