Preliminary hearing set in coffee cup murder case

Alan Goodman was fatally stabbed this summer.

Story highlights

  • Preliminary hearing is set for December 7
  • California judge OKs defendant's request to spend Thanksgiving with her family
  • She is accused of beating her husband with a coffee mug and then fatally stabbing him

A California judge on Thursday ordered a preliminary hearing in the murder case against U.S. Open tennis umpire Lois Goodman, who is accused of bludgeoning and fatally stabbing her 80-year-old husband in their home with a coffee mug.

Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Jessica Silvers, who set December 7 for the hearing to begin, also granted a request from Goodman's lawyer that her client be granted a 12-hour reprieve from house arrest so she can spend Thanksgiving with her family.

Goodman is accused of beating her husband, Alan, with a coffee mug and then fatally stabbing him with its broken shards.

She was arrested in August in New York while preparing for the U.S. Open tournament and charged in the death, which occurred in California in April.

Goodman's lawyer, Robert Sheahen, said Thursday that he had received 2,200 pages of materials from the district attorney about the investigation.

"We have requested numerous other materials from them, including microscopic slides from our coroner and so on," he said.

During the hearing, he volunteered to make Goodman's premises available to prosecutors.

"It is not something we would be doing if we had anything to hide," he said afterward. "We don't feel we have anything to hide, and we want them to be able to come out and actually look at the scene so that they can see the scene consistent with the way we view it."

DNA tests results have found that Goodman's DNA is on her own pants leg, "which doesn't prove a lot," Sheahen said. And tests on the coffee mug show that it held DNA from Alan Goodman, he said.

"There is no indication at this time that Mrs. Goodman's DNA is on the coffee mug, which purportedly was used as the weapon in this alleged homicide," the lawyer said. "This is consistent with our statement from the outset of this case that this is an accidental death, that Alan would have been holding this cup, that he would have fallen on this cup and that, therefore, his DNA would be on the cup."

In August, the assistant chief Los Angeles County coroner said Alan Goodman's death was no accident. "Mr. Goodman had injuries that were not, as reported, from a possible fall, and we did an autopsy, and it was determined that he died at the hand of another," Ed Winter said.

The prosecutor said Thursday that the state has a "strong circumstantial case" against the 70-year-old line judge.

Her lawyer and supporters dispute the charges on a Facebook page dedicated to her defense.

Tennis ump pleads not guilty in husband's killing