Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Downtown Los Angeles
March 11, 2019
Jury selection begins in the civil case of Jennifer Francis v. City of Los Angeles (LAPD). This case is related to the Stephanie Lazarus murder trial. In 2012, Lazarus was convicted of first degree murder in the 1986 death of Sherri Rae Rasmussen. Francis is the LAPD DNA analyst who in 2005, developed the DNA profile that pointed to a female suspect having murdered Sherri. Francis is alleging retaliation by the City for having alerted LAPD management that investigators may have known about Lazarus in 2005, but failed to act on that information. Francis alleges that she was labeled as unstable and ordered to undergo counseling after she alerted her superiors.
The questions in this case that relate to the Lazarus case are, what did the LAPD know about Lazarus, and when did they know it? Did LAPD detectives look the other way once DNA showed that Sherri’s killer was a woman, and possibly a fellow officer?
This trial is expected to last two weeks or more. I hope to cover the entire trial. If I cannot attend, I will be getting updates from fellow journalists.