KILLER LOVE | Part four of six

A wary, sleuthing wife helps detectives


The Kansas City Star

Independence police searched the Rev. David Love and plopped him in a bare interview room.

Not far away, Teresa Stone had spent the previous eight hours gradually implicating him, step by reluctant step, in the murder of her husband, Randy Stone, three weeks earlier.

Alone with his thoughts, David put his shoes back on and laced them meticulously. He adjusted his socks and a pant leg, carefully smoothed out his shirttail and fluffed his hair.

And then, clasping his hands in his lap, he settled in, stared straight ahead and scarcely moved for nine minutes.

Detective Keith Rosewaren, by then mentally exhausted from his interview with Teresa, finally entered and told David that he had learned quite a bit in the past few hours.

Rosewaren knew from his time with Teresa that couching questions in a church-friendly manner could be effective with these suspects. He’d try it again, even though Rosewaren was not a particularly religious man.

“I’m going to tell you right now that this is not easy because I know that you have spent your life working for the Lord,” Rosewaren began. “You are the leader of a church and from what I know now this is hard. It’s not going to be easy. You just need to find it in your heart to have the courage to be truthful with me and … put it in the Lord’s hands.”

Before asking questions, Rosewaren needed David to agree to be interviewed without an attorney.

Love declined, telling Rosewaren softly that he’d “rather have a lawyer present.”

“I definitely need some kind of representation because I’m a preacher,” Love said. “I don’t know the law.”

But before leaving to arrange a jail cell, Rosewaren told Love to expect charges soon.

“We’re going to take the case file to the courthouse tomorrow and ask for an arrest warrant for murder,” Rosewaren said.

Love again clasped his hands impassively, sat stone still and waited for detectives to return with the handcuffs.

Just down the hall, detectives Loran Freeman and Aaron Gietzen had found a cooperative witness in Kim Love, David’s wife.

Profoundly suspicious of her husband, Kim agreed to speak with investigators, probe what they knew and share the details of her own systematic investigation of David’s odd relationship with Teresa.

During almost 28 years of marriage, Kim had become acutely aware of the perils of being married to a charismatic spiritual leader.

“A handsome pastor and all that stuff?” she said. “Sometimes you kind of fear women.”

She confirmed something that had been only a promising theory 24 hours earlier: Yes, her husband and Teresa Stone had been communicating with disposable cellphones.

In March 2009, she’d caught him late at night in the family’s kitchen sending the text “I love and miss you” to a number she didn’t recognize.

He explained it away as a text to someone he didn’t know, a “nobody” really, and immediately took texting off his cellphone plan.

“I’ll prove to you that I love only you,” he told her.

A year later, on March 16, 2010, she again suspected that he was sending text messages, this time after disappearing into the garage during a televised University of North Carolina basketball game. After he returned to the game, she charged out to look for a phone but found nothing. She returned to the couch and prayed.

“I said, ‘Lord, if there’s something out there, you help me find it,’ ” she told Freeman and Gietzen. “And I went back out and put my hand right on that phone.”

Her husband immediately acknowledged that he had been texting Teresa but insisted that it “was just a talking relationship” and that he was counseling her on her marriage.

“I’m so dumb to believe all this,” Kim told the detectives. “It’s like movies that you watch.”

Teresa long had been in Kim’s sights. Not long after Kim and her husband arrived at the church 11 years earlier, Kim had become suspicious of Teresa when she would put her head on David’s shoulder while speaking with him. Kim had broken that up quickly, telling her husband that it “doesn’t look very good.”

“Sometimes you just … have a feeling about certain women that kind of have a thing for your husband,” she told the detectives. “I just always kind of felt like she did, but I could never put my finger on anything he did wrong.”

In the ensuing years, her suspicions grew.

Earlier in 2010, David had given Kim a silver ring purchased from an Independence Center jewelry store. Kim took it back to find something more to her liking. A retail clerk printed out a copy of the receipt, which included a $299 silver ring, set with several small diamonds. Her husband had paid only a sixth as much, $49.99, for Kim’s ring.

Willing to believe that David might have been saving the second ring for her upcoming birthday, Kim remained curious and checked the jewelry store website to see what it looked like. Instantly, she recognized it as one Teresa had been wearing recently with her wedding ring.

At church one Wednesday night, Kim decided to probe.

“Ohh, that’s a pretty ring,” she cooed to Teresa.

“That’s a $9.99 ring from J.C. Penney,” Teresa snapped.

After Kim confronted her husband about it, David recovered the ring from Teresa and gave it to his wife — but still insisted that the relationship was not physical.

“I really believed him,” Kim told the detectives. “He said, ‘The stupidest thing I’ve ever done was buy her that ring.’ ”

Her own credulity aside, Kim expressed pride in her sleuthing.

“Honest to goodness, I think I should be a detective because I have the best intuition in the world,” she said before offering the detectives a parting gift.

Digging into a large purse for her billfold, she withdrew a slip of paper containing phone numbers that she’d methodically copied from the electronic memory of the disposable cellphone she’d found in the garage March 16. She’d thrown the telephone in an Independence Center trash can after returning both rings to the jewelry store and picking out a gold one.

And she took the news that investigators believed her husband was “directly involved” in Randy Stone’s death — and had made plans to kill her, too — remarkably well.

“How is it that you are holding it together right now?” Freeman asked.

“It’s God,” Kim said. “I’m surprised, but I had my questions.”

Twice during his 24-hour stay in the Independence jail, David Love called family members, asking that they bring him a Bible and then a hairbrush. And each time, Kim pressed him on whether the investigator’s accusations were true.

“Did (Teresa) set you up, or what’s going on?” Kim asked during the first call.

“Well, this is all being recorded,” David replied before trying to change the topic. “So I think I’m going to appear in the morning sometime to get an attorney, and I think they call that being arraigned.”

“Did you do it?” she followed up.

“Honey, I wish you could be there with me in the morning,” he said.

“Did you do it?”

“Sweetheart, it’s not wise for me to say anything on the phone because it’s being recorded, OK?” he said finally.

The murder charge that Rosewaren promised the next day didn’t materialize.

Jackson County prosecutors wanted the investigation cinched down and complete before they filed charges, and the analysis of cellphone records and computers still was under way. Those results could take months.

So after an overnight stay, David walked out of jail and into a hail of questions from members of his church.

He called a meeting at his home Friday, April 23, and announced to seven church members his resignation as pastor. He’d written a statement.

“It is with remorse and repentance that I resign…,” it read. “I have sinned against my Lord, my family and against the Lord’s church. I am resigning because of my sin of immorality. I have asked God to forgive me for sinning and deceiving my family and each of you.

“I ask the staff, deacons, officers and members to receive my resignation and to forgive me of my sin.”

A church deacon later reported that David admitted the affair but denied any role in Randy’s murder.

On the following Sunday, Rosewaren and a squad of detectives and officers appeared at David Love’s house to serve a search warrant.

“Detective,” David Love said, greeting Rosewaren at the door.

“David,” Rosewaren replied.

Police herded the family together to get them out of the way while officers took photos and gathered evidence. David Love, in turn, gathered the family around a piano and treated police to a family gospel sing-along.

But the media and police attention weighed on the preacher.

After the detectives left, David Love slipped out of town with his brother.

David would not tell Kim where he was headed but said to contact his brothers if she needed to reach him.

He took his birth certificate and passport with him.

Tomorrow: Motives grow clearer.

More Killer Love

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