Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Stephanie Lazarus In Her Own Words (Part I, 2/19/1985)


Stephanie Lazarus In Her Own Words (Part I, 2/19/1985)

In 1986, Sherri Rasmussen was murdered in her Van Nuys home.

23 years later, in 2009, LAPD Detective Stephanie Lazarus was arrested for the crime. Lazarus was convicted of first degree murder in 2012, a trial I covered from gavel to gavel.

Early in her LAPD career, Stephanie kept a diary of her daily patrol rounds.

This diary entry is from February 19, 1985, 34 years ago today. 

At the time, Stephanie was a patrol officer assigned to the LAPD’s Hollywood Division. According to her diary, her partner that day was Stacy Koon. Koon later gained notoriety as one of the four LAPD officers involved in the 1991 videotaped beating of Rodney King.

Lazarus Diary

2245 - 0830


I wasn’t really looking forward to working with Koon, but it wasn’t too bad. At beginning of watch Koon apparently found a baggie of marijuana in the car so he was going to book it.

We were very busy with radio calls, nothing too exciting.

We did have one call which [was] a 459 susp there now. It turned out to be this lady's son. She didn't want him in the house. He had already left. Well this lady was kinda crazy. She wanted us to do something but she didn't want to have him arrested.

At about 0300 we had this 211 that just occurred at the House of Pancakes. Well we were a blk from the restaurant. We got there and it supposedly happened 10 min ago. No one in the restaurant seemed too concerned when we walked in. Well what had happened was some guys took the money out of the cash register.

Well we were driving by 6830 Sunset (stolen car from here). Koon saw this car with a male driving it with apparently 3 young girls. We started following it and the susp turned S/B on Mansfield and the chase was on.

I had to put the Rover in the convert-a-com to broadcast. At first I was rather nervous, then once we got going I was calmed down. We drove in the pursuit for 3.3 miles. I don't know how long we were in the pursuit, but it seemed like slow motion. We were driving all over. It seemed really weird, just like watching a movie. Koon threw everything in the back seat. We were putting on our seat belts. Other units were helping. We were E/B on Sunset past Highland and a unit was coming W/B on Sunset. The susp turned S/B on Seward then E/B on Leland Way and the street Dead Ended. The susp ran from the car through a long pathway. I watched the 3 people in the car. Koon looked up the pathway and didn't see the susp. There were units all around but the guy vanished into thin air. We think he ran into a apt building or to one of the hotels on Sunset.

The canine unit came out and we searched. The dog picked up no scent whatsoever. Luckily a TA unit came and took the traffic report. We had to write a Impound report and the recovery of the stolen plates. It was kinda good that we didn't arrest the guy, we really would have worked overtime. 

Everyone was telling me how good of a broadcast it was. It got better as time went on. It was a weird experience, like time stops.

My friend Matthew McGough's book, The Lazarus Files: A Cold Case Investigation, will be released on April 30, 2019. You can pre-order his book on Amazon HERE.