Ex-detective sentenced for 1986 murder

May 11, 2012 at 11:31 PM
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LOS ANGELES, May 11 (UPI) -- A former Los Angeles Police detective was sentenced Friday to 27 years to life in prison for the 1986 murder of her ex-boyfriend's wife.

Stephanie Lazarus was convicted in March of first-degree murder in the slaying of Sherri Rae Rasmussen, nearly three years after DNA evidence connected Lazarus was connected to the decades-old case.

Rasmussen was 29 when she was shot three times in the chest at her home Feb. 24, 1986, months after marrying a man Lazarus had dated for a few years.

The victim's family said they had urged the Los Angeles Police Department at the time to investigate whether Lazarus was responsible, but they said police dismissed their concerns, the Los Angeles Times reported. Police at the time theorized Rasmussen had been killed by two men during a botched burglary, but the investigation began to focus on Lazarus in 2009.

Investigators collected a DNA sample from a coffee cup Lazarus had thrown in the trash and the sample established she had been the source of a bite mark on the victim.

Lazarus had worked for the Los Angeles Police Department for more than 25 years and retired from the department while in jail awaiting trial.

John C. Taylor, an attorney for Rasmussen's family, said in March the family will at some point address the manner in which police initially handled the investigation.

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