Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Was LAPD Detective In A Cat Fight For her Life?

Los Angeles, CA—Slowly the facts are beginning to emerge in the death investigation of Sherri Rasmussen. Rasmussen was found beaten and shot to death in her Van Nuys townhouse she shared with her new husband in 1986.

Now some 23 years later a well-respected 25 year veteran policewoman, Stephanie Lazarus is being held without bond on a capital murder charge.

Police say that there was a deadly fight that included a bite mark containing the salvia of Stephanie Lazarus on the dead woman Sherri Rasmussen’s arm. We all know women resort to scratching and biting when they fight. I see nothing unusual here.

Lazarus was a sworn officer at the time and was required to carry a firearm. We are learning that Lazarus was a frequent visitor/invitee in the townhouse. Lazarus was reportedly a “former” girlfriend of the dead woman’s new husband.

I can see the potential for friction here but these kinds of cases rarely turn so violent. Lazarus has no history of violence or other criminality.

Lazarus at 5’7” was smaller and weaker than the athletic 6’ tall Rasmussen. Assuming there was a fight between the women an effort to disarm Lazarus by Rasmussen makes perfect sense. Had that occurred Lazarus’ police survival training would kick in and she’s lawfully use deadly force shooting Rasmussen until she was no longer a threat.

Lazarus had no duty under her Fifth Amendment rights to report this horrific event to anyone.

This scenario makes perfect sense. It makes more sense than a prosecution theory that Lazarus forced her way into her romantic rival’s home and simply executed her.

The most important clue I’d be looking for is evidence that when shots were fired the distance between the women was very close. That’s really easy to show.

The key element here may be people coming forward that can shed light on Rasmussen’s physical strength, temper and history of violence.

There is a lot more to be learned about this tragic case.


IE PI said...

My worse fear was that the saliva was from a bite mark.

However a self defense is very likely.

Question is did she keep her mouth shut and only give a statement to her defense investigator?

Or did she make ANY comments to the police or anyone else.

SabraUltra said...

IE PI , on first evaluation may be a psychic detective.

Anonymous said...

Come on! Even if there was no duty to report a killing done in self-defense, wouldn't an innocent person -- or at least even a person who honestly believed they were only defending themselves -- report such a killing? That such an accused killer doesn't report it, doesn't by itself prove that they did it, but it sure is compelling evidence of a not-so-innocent state of mind!!

And, just asking here, wouldn't failure to report a killing done in self-defense be leaving the scene of an accident?

Paul Huebl Crimefile News said...

There is a duty only to exchange information and to render aid at an automobile accident. There is never a duty to report auto accidents to police. The Fifth Amendment rules there.

The only thing anyone gets from talking with police after the use of deadly force in lawful self-defense is World Class grief and aggravation. Every cop loves making an arrest for murder, even a questionable one. If you want to let a jury decide if you were justified you better have about $1/2 million in cold hard cash you will never see again.

Go ahead and call the cops. Divorce, bankruptcy and a year or two of unimaginable stress will visit you for sure.