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*Events up to and including the trial will be posted here.
1985 - John Ruetten breaks off his on again, off again relationship with Police
Officer Stephanie Lazarus. He meets and marries Sherri Rae Rasmussen.
Sherri Rae (Rasmussen) Ruetten
1985 - 1986 - Sherri (Rasmussen) Ruetten notes that John's ex-girlfriend is stalking
her. Lazarus confronts Sherri at the hospital where she works, as
well as at John & Sherri's condo. Sherri had come home to find
Police Officer Stephanie Ilene Lazarus
1986- February - 24 - Sherri has strained her back during an aerobics workout and decides
to stay home.
12:00 Noon - A maid at work in a nearby condo hears loud noises and screams coming
from the Ruetten's unit, but does not notify police.
It is during this time that (allegedly) Officer Stephanie Lazarus attacks Sherri
Ruetten inside Sherri & John's home, and the encounter turns deadly.
Sherri fights for her life and that struggle takes place throughout the condo.
During the struggle Sherri is bitten on the forearm. She is badly beaten
and then shot three times with a .38 caliber gun into her heart and spine.
6:00 P.M - John Ruetten returns home from work. Upon entering their condo he finds
a bloody scene, and his wife Sherri, beaten and shot, lying deceased upon
the floor. John immediately notifies police.
The ensuing case goes down a single track due to the officers involved, who believe
Sherri Ruetten was murdered in a burglary gone wrong. This, even though numerous
times, they've been informed about John's jealous ex-girlfriend, Stephanie Lazarus,
not only by John Ruetten, but by Sherri's parents, Nils and Loretta Rasmussen.
The only items missing from the condo - John & Sherri's marriage license, and
Sherri's silver BMW.
Sherri (Rasmussen) Ruetten's silver 1985, two door BMW is found with the keys in it,
two miles from John & Sherri's condo.
STOLEN PROPERTY REPORT
Several weeks after the murder, an LAPD Officer, Stephanie Lazarus files a report with
the Santa Monica Police Department. According to Lazarus her vehicle has been broken
into on 2nd street. Stolen from the vehicle are a gym bag with clothing; some cassettes;
a few dollars......and....her personal .38 caliber snub nosed revolver
COLD CASE REVIEW SPARKS ARREST
2009 - June 5 - Parker Center - Det. Stephanie Lazarus (49), an LAPD employee
for 25 years, 23 years after Sherri Ruetten's murder, enters her
office at LAPD Headquarters. Shortly afterwards she is informed that a suspect located in the basement jail has information on
one of her art theft cases. Det. Lazarus is required to remove her
firearm before passing through the jail's security. Once through
security and into the jail, Lazarus is confronted by Homicide
Chief William Bratton (LAPD)
"This individual was investigated and arrested by L.A. police officers who were
going where the truth took them. Sometimes it's painful, but murder is also very
Detective Stephanie Lazarus
2009 - June 9 - Stephanie Lazarus (Former LAPD Detective) enters a plea of
Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry sets bail at $10 Million - in cash.
"I believe it is a certainty that Lazarus would flee if the bail were set lower."
2009 - December 7 - Los Angeles County Superior Court - A saliva sample from
bitemarks found on Sherri Rae (Rasmussen) Reutten conclusively
matches the DNA genetic code from Det. Stephanie Ilene Lazarus.
Lazarus' diary entries are entered as evidence.
"I didn't want to bring this up in the squad room cause--"
"Oh, that's OK," Lazarus
We've been assigned a case that we've been looking at.
"Yeah, we were very close friends," Lazarus
"Yeah, we were very close friends," Lazarus
"I mean, what's this all about?" Lazarus
got to do with me dating him and, you know.. .Idon't have anything to do with it
(the murder) and you got something that somebody's said... you know...
"Well, one of the concerns I had as we were looking at some of the notes is
some of Sherri's friends said that you and her were having problems because
of the John situation,"
"I can't recall (whether she had ever met Rasmussen).
"Now that you're bringing it up, I think she worked at a hospital somewhere.
And, yeah, I may have met her at a hospital. I may have talked to her once
or twice, or more."
The detectives questioned Lazarus on whether she ever had gone to
Rasmussen's home. Lazarus repeatedly saying "I can't recall."
Jaramillo asked Lazarus if she ever had fought with Rasmussen.
Lazarus "If it happened, I honestly don't remember it. That's all I can tell you."
"You'd remember that, right? That would be pretty specific and, you know,
You're accusing me of this? Is that what you're saying?" Lazarus
"I can't believe this.
"Am I on 'Candid Camera' or something? This is insane. This is absolutely
crazy. This is insane,"
"You're starting to make me uncomfortable. Do I need a lawyer?
Jamarillo and Stearns told her she was free to leave if she wanted.
Stephanie Lazarus walked out of the interview. She was intercepted,
handcuffed and informed she was under arrest for the murder of Sherri
Rae Rasmussen. She was read the Miranda rights.
Det. Greg Stearns "You're going down to the women's facility at Century
"Can I call my husband?" Lazarus "Can I make my--"
Stephanie Lazarus' trial is scheduled for Spring of 2011.