PHOENIX – A homicide case that remained unsolved for more than 25 years came to a final conclusion today when the Honorable Judge Sam Myers sentenced Cudellious Love (D.O.B. 12/4/1955) to a life term in the Arizona Department of Corrections with no possibility of release for 25 years. Last month, a jury convicted Love of first degree murder for the 1989 stabbing death of Laura Hunding. His apprehension and prosecution resulted from a successful partnership between the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and local law enforcement agencies aimed at resolving cold case homicides and sex crimes.
“This case underscores our commitment to pursue every available avenue in the search for justice on behalf of crime victims,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “We look forward to continued collaboration with our law enforcement partners to resolve open cases using the latest investigatory techniques and the experience of seasoned prosecutors and detectives.”
At about 10:30 a.m. on the morning of July 17, 1989, 27-year-old Laura Hunding was found stabbed to death in her apartment at 4902 E. Willetta Street in Phoenix. Evidence at the crime scene indicated she had also been sexually assaulted. Despite an extensive investigation, all potential leads were exhausted and the case went cold.
In 2001, Detectives of the Phoenix Police Cold Case Squad reopened the case. Investigators with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office also conducted a meticulous review of the case file. Several pieces of evidence from the 1989 investigation were analyzed with advanced techniques that were not available at the time of the murder. Additional investigation with critical assistance provided by experts from the Phoenix Crime Laboratory and the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) Administration ultimately led to Love’s arrest and the filing of criminal charges.
On June 19, 2014, a Maricopa Grand Jury indicted Cudellious Love on one count of first degree murder, one count of sexual assault and one count of burglary. Prosecutors later dismissed the sexual assault and burglary counts. Trial began on May 18, 2015 and continued for eight days. The jury deliberated for less than one day before returning with a guilty verdict. His sentence is based on laws in place at the time of the murder, which do not allow for a natural life term.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy County Attorneys Robert Shutts and Elizabeth Reamer.