LAPD detective arrested in 1986 slaying after DNA match
LOS ANGELES - A police detective with more than two decades on the force was brought to court yesterday in an orange jail jumpsuit to face a capital murder charge alleging she killed an ex-boyfriend's wife 23 years ago.
Detective Stephanie Lazarus calmly answered "yes" when Superior Court Commissioner Kristi Lousteau asked if she agreed to have her arraignment continued to July 6.
Lazarus, 49, is accused of killing Sherri Rasmussen, who was bitten, beaten, and shot in her condominium in 1986, when Lazarus had been on the police force for two years.
Lazarus was arrested last week after colleagues in the homicide unit across a hallway at police headquarters examined the long cold case and made what they say was a DNA match.
Los Angeles County prosecutors charged her with willful, premeditated murder with the special circumstance of murder in commission of a burglary. That makes the death penalty a possibility if she is convicted.
Police officials have said Lazarus was not a suspect in 1986 because detectives focused on two robbers who had attacked another woman in the neighborhood. The case file did mention Lazarus because she had dated the victim's husband.