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Tennis umpire accused of killing husband passes lie-detector test

The test was administered privately by a former FBI examiner hired by umpire Lois Goodman's attorneys. Police say she refused to take official lie-detector tests.

October 09, 2012|By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
  • Lois Goodman, a tennis umpire accused of bludgeoning and stabbing her husband to death at their Woodland Hills home earlier this year, appeared in a Van Nuys courtroom for her arraignment on Aug. 29.
Lois Goodman, a tennis umpire accused of bludgeoning and stabbing her husband… (Al Seib, Los Angeles Times )

Tennis umpire Lois Goodman, charged with bludgeoning and stabbing to death her 80-year-old husband in April with a coffee mug, has passed a lie-detector test administered by a former FBI examiner in which she denied killing her husband, her attorneys said Tuesday.

The attorneys said they would give the results to prosecutors in hopes the charges against the 70-year-old Woodland Hills resident would be dropped. She has pleaded not guilty.

The examination, in which Goodman denied killing her husband, Alan, or having any involvement in his death, was conducted by former FBI polygraph examiner Jack Trimarco during the first week of October, Robert Sheahen, one of her attorneys, said. Trimarco found "no deception" on Goodman's part.

Trimarco is the same man who conducted an examination in 2011 of Giovanni Ramirez, who was initially charged in the Dodger Stadium assault on Giants fan Bryan Stow. Ramirez passed that lie-detector test and was later cleared in the attack.

"The results of [Goodman's] polygraph test prove what we have said all along," said Alison Triessl, another of Goodman's attorneys. "She did not kill her husband — he died from a freak accident."

Prosecutors allege that Goodman killed her husband by whacking and stabbing him with a broken coffee mug and then went to a tennis match and had a manicure as he bled to death. They also accuse Goodman of trying to cover up the killing and make it look like an accident.

Los Angeles Police Det. David Peteque said the department uses polygraphs as an investigative tool and Goodman twice was offered such a test before charges were filed; she refused both.

"This polygraph was administered by a private firm hired by her attorneys, We don't know what questions were asked," Peteque said. "Lois Goodman's attorneys are trying to try this case in the media. We will try this case in front of a judge and jury with evidence."

Both sides must agree on such test results before they can be used in court.

Goodman's attorneys contend that the investigation was "botched from start to finish." Goodman told police she came home and found her husband dead in bed and she believed he crawled there after falling down the stairs. Authorities began to investigate the death as a homicide a few days later, when a coroner's investigator at the funeral home noticed a deep wound in Alan Goodman's head.

During a search of the home, detectives found blood throughout the home "inconsistent with accidental death," including stains on carpets, the refrigerator door, inside a linen closet and on the wall leading to the garage.

richard.winton@latimes.com

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