case-dismissed

Tennis ref cleared of murdering her husband: 'I loved him'

Dec. 3, 2012 at 10:48 AM ET

Though the case against the tennis official accused of murdering her husband with a coffee mug has been dismissed, Lois Goodman said she's still in shock.

Goodman, 70, was arrested in August on the eve of the U.S. Open in New York and charged with murdering her 80-year-old husband, Alan Goodman, who died in April.

“It’s been unbelievable,’’ Goodman told Matt Lauer on TODAY Monday. “I walk around shaking my head. I can’t understand how it even got that far, but we had to see this thing through, and thank God it’s over. They didn’t even give me time to grieve. I just don’t understand the whole thing, (and) why it happened.’’

Goodman had claimed that her husband fell down the stairs and was dead in bed when she got home. The Los Angeles County Department of Coroner declared his death a result of “blunt, sharp objects,’’ specifying that a coffee mug was involved. Goodman maintained her innocence, took a lie-detector test, and insisted the couple had a good relationship.

“I loved him very much, and I was devoted to him,’’ she told Lauer alongside her lawyers. “I took care of him, and he depended on me and I was always there, and worked full time at the same time, so I was always running and doing (things) for him.”

“All I can tell you is my mother did not do this,’’ her daughter, Allison Goodman, told NBC News. “She is not capable, physically or emotionally, to do something like this.”

Goodman's electronic ankle monitor, worn for three months as part of the conditions of her bail, was removed to cheers from friends and family after the California judge’s ruling. Prosecutors said that they could not make a murder case against her.

“I’m the spouse, and I don’t think they had anyone else to try to blame, so they came after me,’’ she said.

The case was dismissed without prejudice, which means it could be re-filed, and the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement that the case remains open and detectives are continuing the investigation.

“Ms. Goodman didn’t do this, and we knew it from the minute we met her,’’ attorney Alison Triessl told Lauer. “We don’t think it should’ve been filed the first time, much less again. This is an innocent woman.”

“In our mind, there’s factual innocence, end of story,’’ said attorney Robert Sheahen. “Anybody who thinks that this case is going to be re-opened can go count votes with Karl Rove in Ohio.’’

Goodman is looking forward to serving as a tennis official again, and does not feel that the case damaged her reputation.

“I don’t think I ever lost it,’’ she said. “I’m looking forward to going back and seeing my friends. I can’t tell you how many emails and voicemails that they sent. It’s gratifying. My kids didn’t realize how many friends I had. I’ve been so fortunate in the last 35 years to work with so many wonderful people from all over the world, and they’ve all been so supportive through this whole thing.” 

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