Lois Goodman has maintained she did not kill her husband with a coffee mug. Her attorneys say the 70-year-old woman has passed a polygraph test. But the private test raises some new questions about the murder case.
The defense certainly wants to raise questions. Goodman's attorneys are on a media campaign to portray her, in their words, as a "little old lady" who could never have committed such a crime. How the district attorney will look at the private polygraph is another question.
Accused of killing her husband with a coffee mug, Lois Goodman faced blunt questions in a lie detector test, and passed.
"Those were: 'Did you kill Alan Goodman?' And, 'At your residence, did you kill your husband?'" said Jack Trimarco, the private polygraph examiner.
Jack Trimarco is a former FBI polygraph examiner who has worked on high-profile cases, including the one that helped clear Giovanni Ramirez, once suspected in the assault of a baseball fan at Dodger Stadium in 2011. Ramirez was also cleared in an LAPD polygraph test.
Goodman, a professional tennis umpire, says her ailing 80-year-old husband died in a freak fall.
"Mrs. Goodman couldn't wait to take this test," said Goodman's defense attorney Robert Sheahen. "She couldn't wait to tell the truth. She told the truth. Mr. Trimarco has certified it as the truth."
But the LAPD detective on the case says that Goodman did not cooperate when police asked her to submit to a polygraph test.
"She said she could not take one because she had a card game. We offered to reschedule. She refused. She has been offered two times," said LAPD Detective David Peteque.
Polygraph tests are rarely allowed in court as evidence. That's because the questions can be slanted according to Loyola Law professor Stan Goldman.
"How do we know how many times she took and failed the test, for example, before she passed it? That would be a government concern when bringing such a prosecution," said Stan Goldman, a Loyola Law School professor.
Yet Goldman says the results can benefit Goodman's defense when they are broadcast to the potential jury pool.
"The more you can get it out there, at least the more chance you've got someone on the jury may very well have heard that your client passed that test," said Goldman.
"It's pure lunacy. Let this widow grieve for her husband. Let her go back to her family. This is nuts," said Sheahen.
A spokesman for the district attorney's office has no comment, saying the matter will be addressed in court. Meantime, the LAPD says that if Lois Goodman would like to schedule an LAPD polygraph test to corroborate the private one she has taken, their door is open.