Bite Mark Licks Female Cop in Rival's '86 Murder

DNA evidence returns to bite LAPD's Stephanie Lazarus

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 9, 2012 3:00 AM CST

(Newser) – As an LAPD officer, Stephanie Lazarus knew how to cover her tracks after murdering the woman who married her ex-lover—but she didn't know DNA evidence would come back to bite her 26 years later. Saliva from a bite mark Lazarus left on her victim's arm yielded evidence that has led to her conviction for the 1986 murder. She now faces a sentence of 25 years to life, AP reports. Cold case investigators followed their fellow officer after they began to suspect her, and managed to collect her DNA from a discarded cup.

The victim was beaten around the head and shot three times in the chest. Detectives initially believed burglars were responsible, despite her father's suggestion that they investigate his son-in-law's ex-girlfriend. Lazarus, who retired from the force while awaiting trial, rose through the ranks in the decades after the murder. LAPD chief Charlie Beck—who worked closely with Lazarus—apologized to the victim's family for the long delay in bringing the killer to justice. "This case was a tragedy on every level," he said. "The LAPD family felt a sense of betrayal to have an officer commit such a terrible crime."

Former LAPD detective Stephanie Lazarus appears in court  in Los Angeles
Former LAPD detective Stephanie Lazarus appears in court in Los Angeles   (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
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