Stephanie Lazarus trial update: witness Stacy Vanderschaaf (Day 6) Staff
February 21,2012 | 10:08 p.m. PST

LOS ANGELES — Last Tuesday, LAPD Criminalist Stacy Vanderschaaf testified in the murder trial of Stephanie Lazarus. She told the jury that she was responsible for packaging evidence, gathered from the scene where Sherri Rasmussen was killed to be mailed to an outside agency, SERI (Serological Research Institute), specifically a cotton swab that was previously identified as the bite mark swab.

Bite swab evidence was gathered off of Rasmussen’s arm after she was murdered in 1986 and stored at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office in a freezer for nearly two decades when cold case detectives reopened the case in 2003.

The jury heard testimony that the tube storing the bite swab was missing for a brief period in 2004, and defense attorney Mark Overland has suggested through cross examination of other witnesses that this DNA testing can not be reliable based on the misplacement of the swabs and then tattered condition of the envelope which included a gaping whole.

Vanderschaaf noticed the damaged envelope and testified that she received it on September 9, 2010 and under cross examination explained that, “the envelope did appear unusual, and are not usually in this condition unsealed.”

Vanderschaaf placed the evidence in the original damaged envelope, then placed that envelope in the newer LA County coroner enveloped dated December 27, 2004, then placed that envelope into a heat sealed plastic bag for an overnight shipment to SIRE’s lab in Richmond, California.

Lazarus has remained in custody since her June 2009 arrest, held on $10 million bail. According to prosecutors Lazarus murdered Rasmussen three months after she married her ex-boyfriend John Ruetten.

Posted by on Feb 21 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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