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LAPD detective charged with capital murder

June 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Veteran Los Angeles Police Detective Stephanie Lazarus, suspected of murdering an ex-boyfriend's wife in 1986, was charged with capital murder Monday. Lazarus will be arraigned Tuesday. Police arrested Stephanie Lazarus, 49, after a sample of her DNA matched DNA taken from the scene of a 1986 cold case murder.

Lazarus is accused of beating and fatally shooting 29-year-old Sherri Rasmussen. On February 24, 1986, Rasmussen's husband, John Ruetten, found her body in the living room of their Van Nuys condominium. She had been shot multiple times. Lazarus had a relationship with Ruetten before his marriage.

Lazarus is being held without bail at the Los Angeles County jail. At one time, the LAPD detective was mentioned in the original homicide case because of her relationship with Ruetten, but Lazarus wasn't considered a suspect because investigators believed Rasmussen was a victim of armed robbers.

The president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, Paul Weber, said the arrest of the veteran LAPD detective is disturbing. "If convicted, the actions of one police officer should not tarnish the trust and respect the public has for the more than 9,800 dedicated police officers," said Weber.

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