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Retired LAPD detective arrested in death of wife six years ago

Dan DeJarnette had been a suspect since her body was found near their home in Hawaii. A new investigation in January led to his arrest Monday night.

May 17, 2012|By Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times
  • Retired Los Angeles Police Department Det. Dan DeJarnette, 59, was taken into custody without incident Monday.
Retired Los Angeles Police Department Det. Dan DeJarnette, 59, was taken… (Hawaii Police )

A retired LAPD homicide detective was arrested this week in the fatal beating of his wife in Hawaii six years ago. He had been a suspect since her death.

Dan DeJarnette, 59, was taken into custody without incident Monday night at his home on the Big Island in connection with the slaying of his wife, Yu Dejarnette. He appeared in a Hawaii courtroom Tuesday to face formal charges.

He said at the time of her 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 the island. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.

DeJarnette told patrol officers that his 56-year-old wife had been hurt in an accident. But an autopsy determined that she died from head trauma. DeJarnette was booked on suspicion of murder — and then released because of lack of evidence.

But authorities took another 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.

He is being held in lieu of $200,000 bail.

The indictment comes only 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, a department spokesman, had no immediate comment on the DeJarnette case because he said DeJarnette was retired and the LAPD was 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 Hawaii after his retirement in 2003.

In a 2009 interview with the Associated Press in a story about high unemployment in Hawaii, DeJarnette mentioned that he had worked for the LAPD but not his previous arrest.

"I get kind of bored sitting at home," DeJarnette told the wire service, noting that he wanted to pay down some of his credit cards. "My wife passed a couple years ago, and now I'm waiting every day for the mailman to come, so I need to work."

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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