LOS ANGELES -- A professional tennis referee from Los Angeles was arrested Tuesday in New York City on a felony warrant charging her with killing her elderly husband in April.
Prosecutors said 70-year-old Lois Ann Goodman, a longtime top referee on the tennis circuit, was taken into custody as she prepared to work at the U.S. Open tournament.
She was charged with murdering her 80-year-old husband, Alan Goodman, in their home in Woodland Hills, Calif. Prosecutors allege she bludgeoned him to death with a coffee mug on April 17.
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When the death was reported. Lois Goodman told police it appeared to have been an accident.
She said she had been out all day and was refereeing a tennis match, according to Lt. David Storaker of the Los Angeles Police Department.
"She arrived home and she said the house was locked up," he said.
When Goodman found her husband unresponsive in bed, "she said she surmised he had fallen down the steps, had a heart attack and managed to get back upstairs to the bed," Storaker said.
"It was a suspicious death from the beginning," he added.
Los Angeles County coroner's office spokesman Ed Winter said Alan Goodman's body was immediately transported to a mortuary.
"We sent investigators to the mortuary, and we noticed that his injuries were inconsistent with a fall," Winter said. "The autopsy revealed he had multiple sharp force injuries about the head."
Storaker said officers later returned to the scene with a search warrant and found evidence inconsistent with Goodman's story. He said the amount of blood in the condo did not suggest a fall. They also found a broken coffee mug.
Winter said the coroner's office worked on the case with Los Angeles police and eventually it was ruled a homicide and presented to the district attorney's office.
A tennis official said she thinks Goodman is innocent.
"I've worked with her for years and I don't believe any of this," Annette Buck, director of adult and senior tennis at the U.S. Tennis Association, told the Los Angeles Times.
Buck described Lois Goodman as a good official and said she was arrested as she was getting on a bus to the U.S. Open.
Storaker declined to discuss a possible motive in the case.
"We believe we know what the motive is, but we don't want to taint anything by releasing that," Storaker said. "We know they were together at several locations during that day and would like to talk to people who saw them."
The couple had been married for several decades and had three children.
Goodman is in custody in New York awaiting extradition to Los Angeles. A warrant for her arrest was issued on Aug. 14.
Prosecutors said they would ask that her bail be set at $1 million.
If convicted, she could be sentenced to life in prison.