A judge Friday pared a lawsuit filed against the city of Los Angeles by a criminalist who alleges the LAPD deliberately overlooked evidence that linked a detective to a 1986 killing.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson ruled that Jennifer Francis can proceed with a single cause of action alleging violation of the state Labor Code. He dismissed her claims for discrimination, harassment and retaliation, finding that there were no triable issues.
Francis sued the city in October 2013, alleging Detective Cliff Sheppard of the Robbery-Homicide Division’s cold case unit ignored the results of DNA tests that she performed as a criminalist in the LAPD’s Scientific Investigation Division.
Those results gained importance years later when another detective determined that LAPD Detective Stephanie Lazarus killed romantic rival Sherri Rasmussen.
Francis alleges that Sheppard knew Lazarus had ties to the victim and did not want to consider her a suspect. Francis also claims she was told by supervisors beginning in 2005 to ignore possible evidence implicating Lazarus in Rasmussen’s slaying.
Rasmussen was found beaten and shot in February 1986 in the Van Nuys townhouse she shared with her husband, whom Lazarus had dated. Lazarus was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced in May 2012 to 27 years to life in prison.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: