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Retired LAPD homicide detective charged with killing his wife

May 16, 2012 |  7:42 am

A retired Los Angeles Police Department detective who worked on several high-profile homicide cases was in a Hawaiian jail Wednesday after he was formally charged with murder for allegedly killing his wife in 2006.

Dan DeJarnette, 59, appeared Tuesday in a Hawaii courtroom after a grand jury indicted him in the slaying of his wife, Yu DeJarnette. He was arrested Monday at his home on the Big Island.

He said at the time of his wife's November 2006 death that he had awakened and found her lying on a lava embankment about 20 feet from the couple’s home in Ka'u on the southern end of island.

She suffered severe head trauma and was later pronounced dead at a hospital. DeJarnette told patrol officers his 56-year-old wife had been hurt in an accident. But an autopsy determined she died from head trauma, and the retired officer was booked on suspicion of murder — and then released because of lack of evidence.

But authorities took a new look at the case in January. After additional investigation that included testing of DNA evidence, prosecutors secured an indictment against DeJarnette from a Hawaii grand jury, according to sources familiar with the case. They declined to be identified because the investigation is ongoing.

The indictment comes just days after former LAPD Det. Stephanie Lazarus was sentenced to 27 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole for killing her ex-boyfriend's wife nearly three decades ago in a fit of rage and jealousy.

LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman had no immediate comment on the DeJarnette case because he said DeJarnette is retired and the LAPD is not handling the criminal investigation.

After joining the LAPD in 1982, DeJarnette worked as a homicide detective at the Van Nuys Division and investigated rape cases while assigned to the department’s Robbery Homicide Division-Rape Special Section.

During his tenure, he handled several high-profile investigations, including a fatal Christmas night shooting at an Echo Park pizza parlor in 1990, the 1993 stabbing death of a woman and her unborn baby at an automated teller machine in Sherman Oaks, and a 1981 cold-case murder of a newlywed in her Sherman Oaks home by a serial rapist.

DeJarnette moved to the Big Island after his retirement in 2003 from the LAPD. He was being held in lieu of $200,000 bail.


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-- Andrew Blankstein