Mid-South Man Identified through Sexual Assault Kit Testing Gets Multiple Life Sentences for Kidnapping and Rape of Six Women Over Seven Years
Memphis, TN – Michael Love, 46, a Horn Lake, MS resident, has been sentenced to life in federal prison after having been found guilty of kidnapping and sexually assaulting six women in Memphis and attempting to kidnap and rape a seventh between 2008 and 2015.
According to evidence presented at a jury trial in May 2019, during a seven-year period, Love traveled from Mississippi to Tennessee to find or meet a woman, hold her against her will, engage in forced sexual intercourse, and abandon her in a deserted part of Memphis. Some of Love's victims were chosen at random and abducted. Other victims met Love, who used a false identity, through social media and chat lines. In each case, Love took his victims to unlit dead-end coves or uninhabited industrial areas. Each victim testified that she was raped before or after being forced out of Love's car, and that as soon as he was finished, Love got in his car and sped off, leaving the victim without her purse, wallet, cell phone, or other personal items. One of the victims was a minor. Love also brandished a firearm during one of the sexual assaults. All victims reported the crimes to the police, and went to the Rape Crisis Center for treatment and the collection of DNA evidence.
Love's cases were not linked until he was arrested in 2015 and a sample of his DNA was taken as part of the arrest. A profile developed from that sample was entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a national database designed to help identify suspects in unsolved cases. The cases involving Love dated back to at least 2008.
Biological evidence collected during examination of a sexual assault victim is preserved in a sexual assault kit, and ultimately, sent to a laboratory for analysis. Once a DNA profile is developed, it is placed into CODIS and regularly compared to other submissions and profiles already on file. The Memphis Police Department's Sex Crimes Bureau, DNA Cold Case Unit, developed Love as a suspect in these seven cases, in part, through use of DNA and CODIS technology.
Love also has unresolved cases pending in Shelby County Criminal Court, where he has been charged with rape, aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, criminal attempt - kidnapping, and robbery.
On December 13, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Sheryl H. Lipman sentenced Love to six life sentences and one twenty-year term in federal prison.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "The horrific physical violence, sexual abuse, and emotional torment suffered by the victims in this case cannot be undone, but these life sentences ensure that this violent and evil sexual predator will pay for his depraved actions and will never be free again to victimize others. As a result of the outstanding investigative work of the MPD and the FBI, as well as the excellent trial presentation by our federal and state prosecutors, these victims have seen their cases solved, and justice has been achieved. "
The Memphis Police Department (Sex Crimes, DNA Cold Case Unit), with assistance from FBI and Shelby County District Attorney's Office, investigated this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Ireland and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryce Phillips prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.