A veteran cold case detective ignored a key piece of evidence in an unsolved slaying, delaying for several years the eventual discovery that Stephanie Lazarus, a Los Angeles police officer, was guilty of the killing, according to allegations in a lawsuit filed Wednesday.
The suit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Jennifer Francis, an analyst in the LAPD's DNA laboratory, the Los Angeles Times reports. In it, Francis accused Cliff Shepard, a highly regarded investigator who recently retired, of disregarding the results of DNA tests she performed in the case. Those tests ultimately played a crucial role in identifying Lazarus as the killer when another detective reopened the case several years later. Francis also alleged that Shepard knew Lazarus had ties to the victim and refused to investigate her as a suspect.