Alleged Killer Cop to Submit Bite Samples

Alleged Killer Cop to Submit Bite Samples
Stephanie Lazarus
Mark Boster/AP

07/24/2009 AT 12:45 PM EDT

A Los Angeles police detective being held for the 1986 murder of her ex-boyfriend's wife has been ordered to provide dental impressions for the case.

Evidence from that bite mark, left 23 years ago, on the left arm of slain nurse Sherri Rasmussen caused Stephanie Lazarus's fellow detectives to arrest her on June 5 for the homicide, for which Lazarus could become the first female cop on California's death row. Lazarus has pleaded not guilty, and her preliminary hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Sources tell PEOPLE that, on June 2, detectives who were surreptitiously following Lazarus, 49, and her 2-year-old daughter around their Simi Valley neighborhood plucked Lazarus's soda cup out of the trash outside a local Costco and compared DNA in Lazarus's saliva to DNA from saliva from the bite mark.

Comparisons weren't done before because DNA testing wasn't available, and until cold case detectives had the saliva analyzed, they assumed that it was two men, who'd also burglarized a neighbor of Rasmussen's, that encountered Rasmussen during an attempted burglary, beat her and shot her.

Rasmussen's parents complain that they told police at the time that Lazarus had threatened Rasmussen at her workplace, telling her, "If I can't have John, nobody can."

This week, a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner granted a prosecution request for the bite and tooth impressions from the former art-theft detective on a date to be decided by attorneys.

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