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Former LAPD Detective Sentenced To 27 Years In Prison For 1986 Love Triangle Murder

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Retired LAPD detective Stephanie Lazarus was sentenced to 27 years in prison Friday for a decades-old love triangle murder.

A jury found 51-year-old Lazarus guilty in the 1986 murder of 29-year-old nursing supervisor Sherri Rasmussen back in March. Rasmussen was shot to death in the Van Nuys condo she shared with her husband, John Ruetten.

The couple had been married for three months before Rasmussen was murdered in a jealous rage, prosecutors said.

Investigators originally thought Rasmussen had been murdered in a botched burglary, but DNA from a bite wound and broken fingernails at the crime scene linked Lazarus to the murder 23 years later.

Lazarus, a former art-theft detective, had been held on $10 million bail since her arrest in 2009.

“We appreciate the jury’s service and hope that Sherri Rasmussen’s family can find closure in knowing that Stephanie Lazarus will face justice for Ms. Rasmussen’s murder. Lazarus’ crimes are deeply disturbing, but it is important to remind the public that the actions of one individual should not tarnish its trust and respect for the more than 9,900 dedicated police officers who serve and protect the community every day,” the Los Angeles Police Protective League said in response to the verdict.

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