LAPD detective Stephanie Lazarus has been charged with the murder of Sherri Rasmussen. The case was cold for 23 years, although the victim’s father, Nels Rasmussen, always suspected that Lazarus killed his daughter.
At the time, Sherri Rasmussen was newly married to Lazarus’ ex-boyfriend, and authorities suspect it may have been a crime of passion. According to the LA Times, Nels claimed Lazarus threatened his daughter in the months before her murder, telling her “If I can’t have John, nobody can.”
On Feb. 24, 1986, Sherri’s husband returned to their condominium and found his wife’s body on the living room floor. She was beaten badly, had several bite marks, and had been shot multiple times. The couple’s marriage license had also been stolen from the condo.
Two men who had robbed a woman in the area at gunpoint were the lead suspects. Sherri’s parents offered a $10,000 reward for the men’s capture, but a search for the men led nowhere, and the case went cold.
Back then, the LAPD were “dismissive” of the requests of Sherri’s parents to have Lazarus investigated.
Fast forward to 2009 when DNA evidence can narrow down the suspects. After testing Sherri’s bite marks for DNA, it came back female, which then prompted detectives to obtain a DNA sample from Lazarus.
Stephanie Lazarus was arrested Friday at police headquarters, and is being held without bail. Her arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday and if convicted, she could face the death penalty.
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