LA deputy coroner maintains death of tennis umpire's husband was homicide

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Six years after 80-year-old Alan Goodman's head was fatally cut by a shattering coffee mug, Deputy Los Angeles County Medical Examiner Dr. Yulai Wang testified that he stands by his opinion that Goodman's death was a homicide.

The finding had been the springboard for a murder investigation that cast Goodman's wife, tennis umpire Lois Goodman, as the one and only suspect. The district attorney dismissed the case against her without prejudice because of insufficient evidence to prosecute her.

Undisputed is that Alan Goodman's head was cut so badly by a ceramic coffee mug he bled to death. The lawsuit claims that Wang recklessly and maliciously came to his findings.

On the stand Tuesday, Wang was called by Goodman's attorney to explain multiple injuries on her husband's body and why he never noted the possibility that some of the injuries were consistent with Alan Goodman falling on the brittle mug.

Wang testified he diagrammed and noted all the wounds and that further elaboration is not required on an autopsy. He said that he changed his initial finding from "pending" to "homicide" when lab results ruled out natural death.

Goodman's legal team was dismissive outside court. "It was absolutely stunning. The man might have said the earth was flat. His testimony was absolutely drivel," said Robert Sheahen, one of Goodman's lawyers.

A contrasting opinion came from Wang's lawyer. "I thought it was excellent, very articulate, thoughtful, earnest, professional," said Rickey Ivie.

Under questioning by his lawyer, Wang testified that there were 17 incise wounds to Goodman's head and there were none of the usual indicators of a fall. No broken bones, no head trauma, no skull fracture, no dislocated joints.

Wang dismissed any notion that LAPD detectives pressured him to conclude the death was a homicide. "That's against my beliefs. That's against my profession," he said.

The D.A.'s case against Lois Goodman was dismissed amid evidence that she was working at the time of her husband's death and there was no physical evidence linking her to foul play.

Wang's lawyer says the coroner's job was not to consider all the evidence gathered by LAPD, solely the evidence culled from Alan Goodman's body.

"Dr. Wang does not investigate suspects. His job is to ascertain the cause and manner death," said Ivey.

Testimony will resume Wednesday with the two LAPD detectives who led the investigation and arrested Lois Goodman.
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