Early release under consideration for LAPD ex-detective convicted of murder

Rob Hayes Image
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Parole considered for former LAPD detective convicted of murder
The state Parole Board is weighing whether to release a former LAPD detective who was convicted in 2012 of killing her ex-boyfriend's wife in 1986.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Los Angeles police detective who killed her ex-boyfriend's wife but was only caught after more than two decades may soon be released from prison.

The California Parole Board on Monday listened to statements from more than 20 people in a hearing to decide whether Stephanie Lazarus should be released early.

Later in the day, the board decided to order a recission hearing, referring the matter to a smaller panel to consider whether to rescind an earlier recommendation to grant her parole. Recission hearings are typically held within four to six months after they are ordered.

Lazarus was convicted in 2012 of the 1986 murder of Sherri Rasmussen, the 29-year-old newlywed of Lazarus's former boyfriend.

Rasmussen was beaten unconscious, then shot three times inside her Van Nuys condominium. Her murder went unsolved for more than 22 years until advances in DNA technology led LAPD cold case investigators to Lazarus.

They used a DNA swab taken from a bite mark on Rasmussen's arm to match Lazarus's DNA.

Lazarus was a rookie cop at the time of the murder, but was arrested and charged with Rasmussen's death in 2009 when she was working as an LAPD detective.

A jury found her guilty and she was sentenced to 27 years to life in prison, but is now eligible for parole.

Parole Board members heard from nearly a dozen people speaking remotely Monday, urging the board to release Lazarus. But the hearing room was packed with members of Rasmussen's family, including her widower John Ruetten, her sisters and nieces, all of whom asked the board to keep Lazarus in prison.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Rasmussen's mother attended the hearing. This has since been corrected.