LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Prosecutors have dropped the murder case against tennis umpire Lois Goodman, who had been accused of bludgeoning her husband to death with a coffee mug.
Law enforcement sources tell the Los Angeles Times that the investigation is ongoing, and emphasized that it will continue.
But, experts retained by authorities said the evidence could show that 80-year-old Alan Goodman’s death was an accident, the Times reports.
It’s unclear if prosecutors will refile charges after additional investigation, or whether the doubts raised by their experts will lead them to scrap the case entirely.
Goodman, 70, had pleaded not guilty to attacking her husband on April 17 at their home in Woodland Hills.
She spent nearly two weeks in jail before being released on $500,000 bail on electronic monitoring.
Goodman told police that she came home and found her husband bloodied and dead in bed. She said she believed he crawled there after falling down the stairs and onto the coffee cup he was carrying.
Police initially determined that there was no crime and allowed Goodman to transfer her husband’s body to a mortuary without an autopsy.
Authorities began to investigate the case a few days after the death, when a coroner’s investigator at the funeral home noticed a deep wound on Alan Goodman’s head.
Prosecutors have insisted that Lois Goodman was a calculating killer who bludgeoned her ailing husband with the mug and then stabbed him with the shards when it shattered.
They alleged that she left him to die and went off to a tennis match and to get a manicure.
Goodman’s attorney, Robert Sheahen, had described the incident as a “terrible accident.”
He said Goodman passed a lie detector test and that an initial DNA test did not find her DNA on the broken pieces of the cup.
The defense also argued that Goodman would not have had the strength to kill her husband because of her many physical ailments.
They said in a court motion that Goodman has two bad knees, a replaced left shoulder, a torn rotator cuff, rheumatoid arthritis and back pain that requires a pain-blocking implant.
Goodman’s family has stood by her throughout the case. Her daughter, Alison Rogers, told KTLA in an interview that the accusations were “ridiculous.”
“It’s not my mom,” Rogers said. “My parents were happily married for 50 years. No fighting, not even a curse word. Nothing.”
Goodman was arrested on Aug. 21 in New York City, where she was preparing referee at the U.S. Open, and then extradited back to Los Angeles.
Goodman’s familiy has set up a defense fund to raise money to help cover her legal bills: http://www.loisgoodmandefensefund.com .