Murder trial for ex-LAPD officer Stephanie Lazarus goes to jury

LAPD Detective Charged With Murder in 1986 Slaying

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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.

The murder case that began 26 years ago is now in the hands of a Los Angeles jury after closing arguments were made on Tuesday in the trial of former detective Stephanie Lazarus.

From day one, prosecutors have made this a case of jealousy — and chemistry.

They say Lazarus shot and killed Sherri Rasmussen back in 1986 because Rasmussen married Lazarus’s old flame, John Ruetten.

The key piece of evidence was a bite mark on Rasmussen’s arm. DNA testing matched it to Lazarus.

But in closing statements, defense attorneys dismissed the DNA, saying it was handled improperly and could not be relied upon. They also ridiculed the obsession theory, saying Lazarus never tried to get Ruetten back.

However, prosecutors say there is "a banquet" of evidence stacked against her — not just the bite mark, but also testimony that Lazarus stalked her ex-lover Ruetten and confronted Rasmussen at work.

If convicted, Lazarus could face life behind bars.

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