Defense rests in murder trial for ex-LAPD detective Stephanie Lazarus

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Veteran LAPD detective Stephanie Lazarus, 49, appears at the Criminal Justice Center for her arraignment on murder charges June 9, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

The murder trial of an ex-detective for the LAPD is a step closer to going to the jury.

It took 23 years for investigators to connect Stephanie Lazarus to the murder of Sherri Rasmussen, three years for the case to go to trial and three weeks for prosecutors to lay out their claims with 51 people placed on the stand. But Lazarus' defense? That took barely two days.

Lazarus' lawyer ended his brief presentation Tuesday, focusing on three letters that have defined the case: DNA.

Attorney Mark Overland suggested critical genetic evidence linking Lazarus to the murder of her romantic rival was mishandled in an era before the value of DNA was known.

Prosecutors have pinned their case on a sample of saliva taken from a bite mark on the arm of victim Sherri Rasmussen in 1986. The evidence sat dormant until DNA analysis was done nearly 30 years later, first showing a woman was involved, then linking it to Lazarus.

Lazarus has pleaded not guilty. She did not testify in her own defense.

Lazarus is accused of beating and shooting the wife of her ex-lover over 25 years ago.

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