Tuesday, June 09, 2009

LAPD detective charged 23 years after being named a suspect in slaying

Nels Rasmussen says he told LAPD detectives in 1986 that a jealous ex-girlfriend had broken into his daughter's condo and told her 'If I can't have John, nobody can,' in the days before her slaying.

Detective stalked slaying victim, father says

By Andrew Blankstein and Joel Rubin
June 10, 2009

Nels Rasmussen says he vividly remembers the calls from his daughter 23 years ago when she confided her fears that a jealous LAPD officer was out to harm her. She told him the young female officer had shown up in uniform at the hospital where she worked and issued a chilling warning about her husband, "If I can't have John, nobody can."

He remembers the call when his daughter told him that she had found the officer, again in uniform, standing in the Van Nuys condo she shared with her new husband, John Ruetten. Then there was the call, days before she was beaten and shot to death in 1986, when Sherri Rasmussen said she believed the officer had been following her on city streets.

All of this, Nels Rasmussen says, he told Los Angeles Police Department detectives in the days, months and years after his daughter's slaying. His information was ignored by police until this year when cold-case detectives reopened the homicide investigation. Last week his suspicions were validated when Det. Stephanie Lazarus was arrested and charged with capital murder. Police say Lazarus, who had dated Ruetten, killed Sherri Rasmussen in a crime of passion.

On Tuesday, as Lazarus made her first court appearance, Nels Rasmussen and his wife held a news conference, calling on the LAPD to investigate their belief that detectives overlooked glaring leads that pointed to Lazarus...

LA Police Detective Charged With Murder

LOS ANGELES (June 8, 2009) - A veteran detective was charged with murder Monday in the slaying of her ex-boyfriend's wife in 1986 — a crime that went unsolved for more than two decades as she rose through the Los Angeles Police Department ranks.

Detective Stephanie Lazarus, 49, could be sentenced to death if convicted of breaking into the victim's condominium on Feb. 24, 1986, and repeatedly biting, beating and shooting the woman.

Police in Los Angeles charged a veteran detective in the 1986 murder of her ex-boyfriend's wife Monday. Stephanie Lazarus, here in court Tuesday, could face the death penalty if convicted of repeatedly biting, beating and shooting the woman. Lazarus was identified as a suspect through a recent DNA match of saliva taken from bite marks on the victim's body.

Lazarus, who joined the force in 1983, was identified as a suspect through a recent DNA match of saliva taken from bite marks on Sherri Rasmussen's body, said Deputy Chief Charlie Beck.

Lazarus' husband, Scott Young, who works as a detective in the San Fernando Valley, knew nothing about the slaying, Beck said.

"None of us blames him. I don't know if he's been interviewed yet, but he will be, as will a lot of people," he said.

Lazarus was not a suspect at the time of Rasmussen's death because detectives believed that two robbers who had attacked another woman in the victim's Van Nuys neighborhood were to blame.

The case file mentioned Lazarus because she had once dated the victim's husband, John Ruetten, but investigators did not pursue her as a suspect until DNA tests recently showed the attacker was a woman...

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