Cold Lazarus - Netflix

Cold Lazarus was a mini-series that aired on Channel 4 in 1996.

The series is set in the 24th century Britain. The ruined streets are unsafe and society is run by powerful commercial corporations. Experiences are almost all virtual, and anything deemed authentic has either been banned or replaced by synthetic substitutes.

At a cryonics research institute in London, a group of scientists led by Dr. Emma Porlock are working on reviving the mind of the 20th-century writer Daniel Feeld, whose head was frozen after his death.

Cold Lazarus - Netflix

Type: Scripted

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 1996-05-26

Cold Lazarus - Murder of Sherri Rasmussen - Netflix

Sherri Rasmussen (February 7, 1957 – February 24, 1986) was an American woman was found dead in February 1986 in an apartment she shared with her husband, John Ruetten, in Van Nuys, California. Rasmussen had been beaten and shot three times in a struggle. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) initially considered the case a botched burglary, and the crime remained unsolved for more than 20 years. Rasmussen's father, however, believed that Stephanie Lazarus, an LAPD officer, was a prime suspect. Detectives who re-examined the cold case files in 2009 were eventually led to Lazarus, by then herself a detective. A DNA sample she unknowingly discarded was matched to one from a bite on Rasmussen's body that had remained in the files. Lazarus was convicted of the murder in 2012 and is serving a sentence of 27 years to life for first-degree murder at the California Institution for Women in Corona. Lazarus appealed the conviction, claiming that the age of the case and the evidence denied her due process. She also alleged that the search warrant was improperly granted, her statements in an interview prior to her arrest were compelled, and that evidence supporting the original case theory should have been admitted at trial. In 2015, her verdict was upheld by the California Court of Appeal. Some of the police files suggest that evidence which could have implicated her earlier in the investigation was later removed, perhaps by others in the LAPD. Rasmussen's parents unsuccessfully sued the department over this and other aspects of the investigation. Jennifer Francis, the criminalist who found key evidence from the bite mark, has also sued the City of Los Angeles, claiming she was pressured by police to favor certain suspects in this and other high-profile cases and was retaliated against when she brought this to the LAPD's attention.

Cold Lazarus - Trial - Netflix

The trial began in early 2012. In Los Angeles County Superior Court, prosecutors argued Lazarus' motive for the murder was jealousy over Sherri Rasmussen's relationship with Ruetten. In his opening argument, prosecutor Shannon Presby summed up the case as, “A bite, a bullet, a gun barrel and a broken heart. That's the evidence that will prove to you that defendant Stephanie Lazarus murdered Sherri Rasmussen.” A highlight of the case was Ruetten's testimony. Several times he became emotional and wept, particularly when recalling his courtship of Rasmussen. He allowed that having sex with Lazarus while he was engaged to his future wife was “a mistake”. In cross-examining the police detectives and other technicians who had originally investigated the killing, Overland stressed the original botched burglary theory and pointed to evidence, such as the similar burglary that happened shortly thereafter, that he claimed supported it. He also highlighted evidence that was not analyzed, such as a bloody fingerprint on one of the walls, to suggest that other suspects had not been adequately excluded from consideration. He questioned whether it could be truly inferred from the weapon used that it was Lazarus' lost gun, since .38s were in wide use. Since the DNA from the bite mark was central to the prosecution's case, he attacked it vigorously, pointing to improper storage procedures and a hole the tube had left in an envelope that he said would have allowed Lazarus' DNA to be added to it long after it had been collected. During the two days in which he presented his case-in-chief, Overland focused on the prosecution's theme of a lovelorn Lazarus, presenting friends of hers who denied that she was showing any signs of violence or despondence over her failed relationship with Ruetten at the time of the murder. Excerpts from a contemporaneous journal were offered as evidence; Lazarus wrote in it of dating several different men, none of them Ruetten. He reinforced his attack on the forensic evidence, calling as his last witness a fingerprint expert who said that some prints at the crime scene did not match those of Lazarus. Both prosecution and defense reiterated their themes in closing arguments. After showing the jury of eight women and four men photographs of a beaten, bloodied Rasmussen, prosecutor Paul Nunez told them, “It wasn't a fair fight ... This was prey caught in a cage with a predator.” Overland dismissed the entire case as circumstantial “fluff and fill”, save for the “compromised” bite-mark DNA sample. He moved for a mistrial after Nunez reminded the jurors that no alibi had been provided for the time of the murder, since defendants' refusal to testify cannot be held against them, but Perry denied it, saying he did not take that as directly suggesting Lazarus herself had refused to testify and thus her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination had not been violated. In March, after several days of deliberations, Lazarus (then 52) was convicted of first-degree murder. Later that month, she was sentenced to 27 years to life in prison, and she is currently serving her sentence at the California Institution for Women in Corona. She will be eligible for parole in 2039.

The case attracted considerable media attention. Many of its elements—a love triangle with a woman scorned, a cold case unsolved for over 20 years and the accused killer turning out to be a police officer herself—were similar to the plots of popular televised police dramas and reality shows like Snapped, Scorned: Love Kills and Deadly Women. The Atlantic ran a feature story about the case before the trial, and Vanity Fair ran one by Mark Bowden afterwards.

Cold Lazarus - References - Netflix