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L.A. tennis referee accused of murder passes polygraph: lawyer

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A 70-year-old professional tennis referee accused of bludgeoning her husband to death with a coffee mug in their Los Angeles home has passed a lie detector test set up by her defense, her lawyer said on Tuesday as he urged prosecutors to drop the case.

The polygraph on lineswoman Lois Ann Goodman was conducted last week by Jack Trimarco, who formerly worked for the FBI and has been involved in cases such as the Oklahoma City bombing and the "Unabomber" investigation, lawyer Robert Sheahen said.

"There's no deception. She denied killing her husband," Sheahen said of the results, which came back on Monday. "She's telling the truth."

Goodman is well known in tennis circles and has been a referee at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships. She had been preparing to officiate at the U.S. Open in New York when she was arrested in August.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office declined to comment on the independent polygraph test.

Police said Goodman called authorities to report she had found her 80-year-old husband, Alan Goodman, dead in her home in April, with no sign of forced entry, and surmised he had fallen down some stairs.

But a coffee mug, which was broken in a manner that investigators found roughly matched the wounds on her husband's head, raised suspicions. Goodman was ultimately charged with murder.

Sheahen said police initially asked Goodman to take a lie detector test, but that she refused on the advice of her former attorneys. Her new defense team, including Sheahen, took her to Trimarco to conduct this test, Sheahen said.

Another polygraph expert, Ronald Homer, verified Trimarco's analysis of the test results, the lawyer said.

"We're hopeful that (prosecutors) will reconsider their decision to file charges in this case," Sheahen said, declining to say whether Goodman would be willing to take another polygraph overseen by Los Angeles police.

Goodman is due to appear in court on November 8. She faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

(Reporting By Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Doina Chiacu)

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