Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Cop Who Gunned Down Her Ex-Lover's New Bride Gets 27 Years to Life

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

Former Los Angeles Police Department detective Stephanie Lazarus appeared emotionless in court this morning as she was handed down her sentence of 27 years to life in state prison for the shooting death of her ex-lover and his new wife in 1986.

Lazarus, 52, was found guilty of the murder of Sherri Rasmussen, 29, in early March. Her sentence was delivered today by Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry, notes City News Service.

The Lazarus case emerged in the headlines when the art theft detective was arrested in 2009, after re-tested DNA evidence linked her to the brutal killing.

Rasmussen, a nurse, was beaten and shot to death inside the Van Nuys condo she shared with her new husband, John Ruetten. Lazarus and Ruetten had once had a brief affair, which he said he had never considered a serious relationship.

Support for LAist comes from

DNA evidence from saliva left on the victim in the form of a bitemark was found to be that of Lazarus; at the time of the crime and its original investigation, however, DNA testing was not as sophisticated as it ultimately has become, which kept Lazarus in the clear.

Jailed since her arrest, Lazarus will be eligible for parole in 22 years.