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Bruce Lisker sues, claiming LAPD framed him in murder case

December 22, 2009 |  5:30 pm

A man wrongfully convicted of killing his mother and freed after serving 26 years in prison filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing Los Angeles police detectives of framing him.

Bruce Lisker, 44, contends that his civil rights were violated by the city of Los Angeles, the LAPD and the former detectives who investigated his mother’s March 10, 1983, slaying, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court. “It wasn’t an innocent mistake, and those responsible should be held accountable,” said attorney William Genego, who represents Lisker. “He lost the heart of his life from ages 17 to 44. It’s hard to comprehend the loss of that much time.”

Lisker’s 1985 murder conviction was overturned in August after a federal judge ruled that he had been prosecuted with “false evidence” and that his original defense attorney did not adequately represent him.

The judge’s findings mirrored those of a 2005 Times investigation that raised questions about key elements of the prosecution’s case against Lisker and exposed the LAPD’s murder investigation as sloppy and incomplete.

At the time, detectives were immediately suspicious of Lisker, a frizzy-haired 17-year-old who had a history of drug abuse and fighting with his 66-year-old mother, Dorka.

Lisker’s relationship with his parents had deteriorated to the point that they paid for him to live in a studio apartment near their home in Sherman Oaks.

On the day of the killing, Lisker told police he’d gone to the family home to work on his car. When his mother didn’t answer the front door, he said he went around to the backyard, where he looked through the living room window and patio sliding glass door. He said he thought he saw his mother lying prone in the foyer and broke into the house through the kitchen window to come to her aid and call paramedics. The detectives didn’t believe Lisker and placed him under arrest that day.

Tuesday’s lawsuit focused largely on the work of the lead detective in the case, Andrew Monsue.

He could not be reached for comment to respond to Lisker’s charges. In a 2005 interview with The Times, Monsue denied any misconduct in the case and said he believed Lisker was guilty of the murder. A spokesman for the L.A. city attorney’s office, which generally defends LAPD officers in civil litigation, said it could not comment because officials hadn't read the case.

-- Scott Glover and Matt Lait