By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A prominent professional tennis referee who was in New York for the U.S. Open was turned over by authorities to Los Angeles police on Thursday to face charges she bludgeoned her elderly husband to death with a coffee mug.
At a brief Manhattan court appearance, Lois Ann Goodman, 70, was handed into the custody of Los Angeles police detectives who had traveled to New York to retrieve her. She was expected to appear in court on Monday in Los Angeles, her attorney said.
Still wearing the blue officiating uniform she had on when arrested earlier this week, Goodman was escorted from court, her hands cuffed behind her, by two detectives wearing suits and sun glasses.
A warrant filed a week ago by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office charged Goodman with the April 17 slaying of her 80-year-old husband, Alan Goodman, at the couple's home in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles, prosecutors said.
Goodman faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Prosecutors said they would ask for bail of $1 million.
Her attorney said Goodman was concerned about the case but had the support of her family. "All I can say is they're preparing to put on a defense in California," said Guy Oksenhendler, speaking to reporters outside the New York Criminal Court.
Oksenhendler criticized the Los Angeles Police Department for allowing Goodman to travel to New York before arresting her, requiring an extradition and bringing on media attention that he said could prejudice Goodman's defense.
"I think what the LAPD did here was a little outrageous ... I think they were looking to generate some headlines out in L.A.," he said.
Goodman was arrested in New York at her hotel on Tuesday and waived her right to an extradition hearing on Wednesday.
According to Los Angeles police, the death of Goodman's husband was ruled a homicide on August 2, and by the time charges were brought against Goodman, she had left town.
Lieutenant Dave Storaker said Goodman had reported her husband's death, telling authorities she found her husband dead in their home, with no sign of forced entry and surmised he had suffered a heart attack and fallen down some stairs.
Police searched the home for evidence and found a broken coffee mug that roughly matched the multiple contusions on the victim's head.
Goodman is well known in tennis circles and had worked at the annual U.S. Open Tennis Championships tournament for at least the past 10 years, according to Tim Curry, a spokesman for the U.S. Tennis Association.
She had been preparing to serve again as a referee at the U.S. Open in which preliminary match play began on Tuesday.
(Additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles and Lily Kuo in New York; Writing by Dan Burns and Lily Kuo; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Philip Barbara)