Death of elderly woman hurt in mugging listed as homicide

August 18, 1994|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Sun Staff Writer

The state medical examiner's office ruled yesterday that an 86-year-old woman died from a head injury she suffered when a mugger snatched her purse in the parking garage at Mercy Medical Center on Monday.

Dr. David R. Fowler, an assistant medical examiner, said the death was listed as a homicide.

The victim, Mary Goodman, died Tuesday. The attack occurred after Mrs. Goodman, a terminally ill cancer patient, had received treatment and was leaving the hospital with her husband Julius, 87. Her son, Jay Goodman, is Mercy's chief doctor.

Police said Mrs. Goodman, who lives in the Pikesville area, suffered head, neck and shoulder injuries when the mugger ripped the purse from her shoulder.

Before Mrs. Goodman died, city police assigned a homicide investigator to the case because they believed that the attack caused her fragile health to worsen. Mrs. Goodman was not knocked down or struck by the mugger. But on Tuesday, Peg Benzinger, a Mercy spokeswoman, said Mrs. Goodman's health was so precarious that "even a sneeze" could have had an adverse effect.

"During the course of the incident, Mrs. Goodman was injured in such a way that it ultimately resulted in her death," said Officer Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a city police spokesman.

Assistant State's Attorney Timothy J. Doory, who is chief of the Violent Crimes Unit, declined to comment on the case yesterday. He said it had not yet been referred to his office.

Police said yesterday that they had made no arrests and had no suspects in the attack. The victim's husband was unabled to provide a detailed description of the mugger, police said.

The attack occurred about 4:50 p.m. Monday as the couple left Mercy, in the 300 block of St. Paul Place.

Police said the couple were waiting for an elevator in the parking garage, which is adjacent to the hospital, when a young man approached and demanded Mrs. Goodman's purse and Mr. Goodman's wallet.

Officer Weinhold said the mugger then ripped the purse from Mrs. Goodman's shoulder and fled.

The couple got into their car and drove to the front gate, where they told a security guard what had happened. Police said Mrs. Goodman's condition had begun to deteriorate and worsened as she was being examined by a doctor. She was admitted to the hospital, where she died about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Efforts to reach Mrs. Goodman's son, Dr. Goodman, the chief of the Department of Medicine at Mercy, were unsuccessful yesterday. Ms. Benzinger said private funeral services for Mrs. Goodman are scheduled today.

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