A veteran Los Angeles Police Department detective was found guilty Thursday of viciously beating and then shooting her romantic nemesis 26 years ago, NBCLosAngeles.com reported.
A jury of eight women and four men found that Stephanie Lazarus, 51, was so jealous of a woman who married a man she had dated that she broke into their Van Nuys condo and killed her. The woman, Sherri Rasmussen, was a 29-year-old hospital nursing director.
Rasmussen and her husband, John Ruetten, had been married three months. He was the one who found her dead on the floor of their town home. A detective at the time determined that she had been murdered by robbers.
The case went cold despite the Rasmussen family’s pleas that detectives investigate Lazarus. In 2009, the LA Times reported that a low homicide year freed up detectives to dig up cold cases. When DNA evidence from a bite on Rasmussen’s shoulder indicated that she had been attacked by a woman, police pursued the case and quickly came up with Lazarus as a suspect.
The LA Times reported that the .38 caliber revolver used in the shooting matched a gun that Lazarus had purchased from the police academy. Two weeks after the murder, Lazarus reported that her gun had been stolen out of her car.
Lazarus was arrested in June 2009, NBCLosAngeles.com reported. She remained in custody in lieu of $10 million bail. Now, found guilty of murder, she faces 27 years to life in prison.
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