Stephanie Lazurus trial update: witness Dr. Cathy Law (Day 6) Staff
February 15, 2012 | 12:34 p.m. PST

Sherri Rae Rasmussen

Sherri Rae Rasmussen

After hearing three days of DNA testimony from Jennifer Francis, Deputy District Attorney Shannon Presby called Dr. Cathy Law on Tuesday, in the murder trial of Stephanie Lazarus. Dr. Law is the chief forensic dentist at the Los Angeles Coroner’s office and she testified that she was not able to match what has been identified as a bite mark that was found on Sherri Rasmussen’s left arm to any dental impression of Stephanie Lazarus’ current dental structure.

She told the jury that the indentation made on Rasmussen’s arm, which had the semi-circular shape, was consistent with a bite mark, but could not definitively say for certain that it was. Presby asked Law to consider the presence of saliva and the enzyme amylase being present in the mark, and Dr. Law told the jury that the mark was most likely a human bite mark.

Law testified that the bite mark itself did not yield enough information to match with the individual teeth of a possible biter. Nonetheless a cast of Lazarus’ teeth were made on August 21, 2009 after she was arrested, and no match was determined.

On cross examination defense attorney Mark Overland pointed out that the mark on Rasmussen’s arm, although semi-circular in shape, had a vertical line impression on the right side that Overland suggested might not be consistent with a bite mark. Law told the jury that the vertical line was bruising cause by the bite itself. Lastly Overland was able to get Law to admit that base on the photograph alone one cannot determine that the mark is a bite.

Even though Law, a prosecution witness, and was not able to link Lazarus’ teeth pattern to the bite mark, Presby still call her since tests and comparisons were actually made. It’s unclear why dental impressions of Lazarus’ teeth were made if the original bite itself never revealed enough comparable information. The lack of dental any comparison is a minor setback for the prosecution, but the DNA information that was present in the bite mark is a challenge for the defense.

Posted by on Feb 15 2012. Filed under People of CA v. Stephanie Lazarus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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