VAN NUYS - With more than a dozen friends in attendance, a 70-year- old tennis umpire accused of fatally bludgeoning her husband with a coffee mug appeared in a Van Nuys courtroom today while her attorneys continued to insist the man's death was an accident.
Lois Goodman is accused of killing Alan Frederick Goodman on April 17 at the couple's Woodland Hills home.
Police called to the couple's home found a blood trail leading to the 80- year-old man's body and noted severe wounds on his head. But officers initially accepted a theory advanced by his wife that he had fallen down the stairs before crawling into bed, according to court papers.
Two Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics pronounced Alan Goodman dead and told police about an oddly shaped cut to the right side of his head. But after learning of the octogenarian's various ailments and consulting with the coroner's office, police concluded there was no crime and allowed Lois Goodman to transfer the body to a mortuary without an autopsy, according to an affidavit.
It was at Heritage Crematory on April 20 that a coroner's investigator who had been sent to sign the death certificate noted multiple cuts on Alan Goodman's head and ears -- observations that resulted in a homicide investigation, officials said.
In court today, a date was expected to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for Goodman to stand trial, but Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Jessica Silvers postponed the matter until Nov. 8, with attorneys saying there was a voluminous amount of material to review.
Outside court, Goodman's attorneys -- Robert Sheahen and Alison Triessl - - pointed to the large number of their client's supporters who came to court.
"So many loving friends and family (came to court) ... because they know that she did not do this," Triessl said.
Goodman was ordered by a judge last month to give another DNA sample to investigators, but Sheahen said it was a pointless maneuver.
"No DNA sample is going to prove anything," he said, adding that it was natural for Goodman's DNA to be found in her own apartment.
As far as the prosecution's assertions, he said, "We don't buy it. We want the LAPD to stick to their original theory."
"Our position is they were correct in their initial assessment at the scene," he said.
Sheahen noted there was no signs of blood spatter at the scene -- something that would have been present if the victim had been beaten with a cup.
Goodman is facing a murder charge with an allegation that she personally used a deadly and dangerous weapon -- the coffee cup. If convicted, she faces up to life in prison, prosecutors said.
During an earlier court hearing, Deputy District Attorney Sharon Ransom said the victim had multiple lacerations on his head and slivers of porcelain in his skull. She also alleged that after Lois Goodman bludgeoned her husband, she left the home to get her nails done.