With prosecutors saying they were "unable to proceed with the case," charges were dismissed today against a 70-year-old tennis umpire who was accused of fatally bludgeoning her husband with a coffee mug at their Woodland Hills home.
"I'm so happy," Lois Goodman told reporters after the case against her was dismissed in Van Nuys Superior Court. "I feel wonderful. I've always maintained my innocence. It was just a tragic accident."
She thanked prosecutors "for doing the right thing."
The dismissal ruling by Judge Jessica Silvers was made without prejudice, meaning charges could be filed in the future.
District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said the decision to drop the case came after prosecutors "received additional information regarding the case."
"Based upon that information, we announced that we are unable to proceed with the case at this time," Gibbons said.
But Gibbons left the door open for the possibility of other charges being filed in the future.
"Because there is an ongoing police and district attorney's investigation, we will not make any further statements that might compromise that investigation," Gibbons said.
Goodman was charged in August with murdering her 80-year-old husband, Alan. Her attorney, Robert Sheahen, contended the defendant had passed a lie detector test given by former FBI polygraph examiner Jack Trimarco, who concluded that Goodman was telling the truth about her husband's April death.
Defense attorneys also said no DNA evidence was found on the coffee mug that would link Lois Goodman to the crime.
Police called to the couple's home on April 17 found a blood trail leading to Alan Goodman's body and noted severe wounds on his head. Officers initially accepted Lois Goodman's story 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; however, 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.
Lois Goodman was arrested Aug. 21 in New York City, where she had traveled to referee a U.S. Open tennis match. She has since been free on $500,000 bail, and more than a dozen family members and friends attended her various court hearings in a show of support.