Jury Selection Begins in Former LAPD Detective's Murder Trial

Then-Detective Stephanie Lazarus was arrested in June 2009, more than 20 years after the death of her ex-lover's wife

View Comments ()



    Jury selection began Monday in the trial of Stephanie Lazarus, a former LAPD Detective accused of murder in a case from 1986 (Published Monday, Jan. 30, 2012)

    Jury selection began Monday in the case of a 25-year member of the Los Angeles Police Department accused in the slaying of her ex-lover's wife in 1986.

    Prospective jurors were due in court Monday morning in the trial of former LAPD Detective Stephanie Lazarus, who pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of Sherri Rasmussen.

    Lazarus Interview, Part 1: "What's This All About?"

    [LA] Lazarus Interview, Part 1: "What's This All About?"
    Former officer Stephanie Lazarus is asked whether she knew John Ruetten and whether she ever met his wife. (Published Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010)

    Rasmussen was shot three times, beaten and bitten at her Van Nuys townhouse, but Lazarus was not considered a suspect at the time because detectives believed two robbers were to blame.

    Lazarus, 51, was arrested after colleagues interviewed her in an LAPD interrogation room in June 2009.

    Lazarus Interview: "Do I Need to Get a Lawyer?"

    [LA] Lazarus Interview: "Do I Need to Get a Lawyer?"
    Moments after leaving the interview room, former cop Stephanie Lazarus is escorted back in wearing handcuffs. (Published Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010)

    During the videotaped interview, Lazarus said, "You're accusing me of this? Is that what you're saying? I can't believe this."

    Investigators used a saliva sample taken from a bite on the victim's arm to link Lazarus to the crime.

    Although the prosecution has DNA evidence to support their case, the defense said it may not be as cut and dry.

    "I think people have an idea that this is just a slam-dunk case for the prosecution, and I think there's going to be a lot of surprises," said Mark Overland, Lazarus' attorney.

    The trial is expected to last about five to six weeks. Jurors will fill out questionnaires Monday and be questioned as to whether it would be a hardship to serve on the panel.

    Individual questioning might begin Friday. Opening statements might begin next week.

    Follow NBCLA for the latest LA news, events and entertainment: Twitter: @NBCLA // Facebook: NBCLA