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Former LAPD Detective Guilty of Murder

March 08, 2012  | 

Photo: NBC Los Angeles
Photo: NBC Los Angeles

A jury has convicted former Los Angeles Police Department detective Stephanie Lazarus of murdering the wife of her former lover in a cold case that forced the department to bring down one of its own.

The panel of eight women and four men deliberated for 1 1/2 days before reaching the verdict on Thursday. Lazarus was convicted of first-degree murder, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Jurors agreed with prosecutors that Lazarus fatally shot Sherri Rasmussen three times in the chest on Feb. 24, 1986. Three months before, Rasmussen had married John Ruetten, who testified to an on-and-off relationship with Lazarus leading up to his wedding day.

The conviction hinged on DNA evidence taken from a bite mark on Rasmussen's arm at the time that matches a sample detectives took from Lazarus after a ruse to interrogate her. Lazarus' attorney tried arguing that other DNA evidence under Rasmussen's fingernails vindicated her client because it wasn't a match.

Related:

Murder Case Against LAPD Detective Relies on Bite Mark

LAPD Detective's Murder Trial Set To Begin

Ex-LAPD Detective 'Shocked' by Arrest In Cold Case (video)

Tags: LAPD, Murder Prosecutions, Officer Misconduct, Cold Cases


Comments (3)

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

Ka @ 3/8/2012 7:11 PM

As someone who was warned by a male lapd officer that other male officers were "out to get" Stephanie and she should "watch her back," - back in the mid 1980s - I can tell you that the case stinks. Other officers were openly hostile and she always took it with stoicism. LAPD has always had a rough time with honest self examination. Sad

chwi548 @ 3/14/2012 3:30 PM

So how do you explain the evidence and the fact she was found guilty by a jury? I don't think it matters if she was liked or not, perhaps others saw things in her that set off their own alarm bells.

Cindi @ 4/13/2012 3:25 PM

@chwi548..I'm not sure what @ka actually meant but it says to me that perhaps she was suspected by other officers for this murder. I've not worked with police but I know in any profession information tends to get around (gossip) and I have to wonder. I watched the initial interview of Lazarus, who funnily enough doesn't seem unlikeable, but definitely seems evasive and almost obviously obfuscative. If that's a word which I'm sure it's not. Maybe this will be the start of something better for her on the other side of the bars. Living with the guilt/double life would be hard. W/the dna it doesn't appear that she's not guilty. Very sad all around.

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