Episode 250:

Look Who’s Crossing

The Murder of Sherri Rasmussen




Episode 250: Look Who’s Crossing

On this week’s episode, Karen and Georgia cover the murder of Sherri Rasmussen.

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The Murder of Sherri Rasmussen

The Murder of Sherri Rasmussen Notes:

Header Image Sources:

Photo by Sterling Davis on Unsplash

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Other Images:

Sherri Rasmussen (via Murderpedia)

Sherri Rasmussen and John Ruetten (via namnab.com)

Stephanie Lazarus (via Murderpedia)


"On February 24, 1986, the body of Sherri Rasmussen (born February 7, 1957) was found in the apartment she shared with her husband, John Ruetten, in Van Nuys, California, United States. She had been beaten and shot three times in a struggle. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) initially considered the case a botched burglary, and were unable to identify a suspect. Rasmussen's father believed that LAPD officer Stephanie Lazarus, who maintained a relationship with Ruetten, was a prime suspect.

Detectives who re-examined the cold case files in 2009 were eventually led to Lazarus, by then herself a detective. A DNA sample she unknowingly discarded was matched to one from a bite on Rasmussen's body that had remained in the files. Lazarus was convicted of the murder in 2012 and is serving a sentence of 27 years to life for first-degree murder at the California Institution for Women in Corona.

Lazarus appealed the conviction, claiming that the age of the case and the evidence denied her due process. She also alleged that the search warrant was improperly granted, her statements in an interview prior to her arrest were compelled, and that evidence supporting the original case theory should have been admitted at trial. In 2015, the guilty verdict was upheld by the California Court of Appeal.

Some of the police files suggest that evidence that could have implicated Lazarus earlier in the investigation was later removed, perhaps by others in the LAPD. Rasmussen's parents unsuccessfully sued the department over this and other aspects of the investigation. Jennifer Francis, the criminalist who found key evidence from the bite mark, unsuccessfully sued the City of Los Angeles, claiming she was pressured by police to favor certain suspects in this and other high-profile cases and was retaliated against when she brought this to the LAPD's attention..."

— Source: Murder of Sherri Rasmussen Wikipedia

Rec Room

This week's recommendations are...

Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker

The Queen (on Netflix)


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