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Posted on: June 18, 2014

Cold Case Investigation Partnership Leads to Arrest of 1989 Homicide Suspect

PHOENIX – Twenty-five years after Laura Hunding was stabbed to death, a suspect has been identified and taken into custody. Cudellious Love (D.O.B. 12/4/1955) was arrested on June 13, 2014 and charged with premeditated first degree murder, sexual assault and burglary. Love is the latest defendant to be charged as a result of a recent collaborative partnership between the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and local law enforcement agencies aimed at resolving cold case homicides and sex crimes.

“Thanks to the hard work and persistence of our partners at the Phoenix Police Department and Phoenix Crime Lab, as well as the assistance of the FBI, we are now able to move forward with the effort to hold someone accountable for the brutal murder of an innocent young woman,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “No matter how old the crime, we do not forget victims and we will continue to use all available means to seek justice for them and their families,” he added.

“I cannot say enough about the passion that drives the men and women of the Phoenix Police Department to seek justice for victims and their families,” said City of Phoenix Chief of Police Daniel Garcia. “Our longstanding partnership with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is a prime example of our shared commitment in fighting crime,” Garcia added.

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. Retired Detective Art Scott and retired Detective Bill Stuebe, currently a Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Investigator, conducted a meticulous review of the case file. Several pieces of evidence from the 1989 investigation were submitted to the lab for advanced forensic analysis, which was not available at the time of the murder. In 2012, Phoenix Police Detective J.J. Alberta followed up on this work, as part of a large National Institute of Justice “Solving Cold Cases with DNA” grant.

Two years later, in the spring of 2014, Detective Alberta was notified of a probative forensic DNA hit which pointed investigators to Cudellious Love. 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.

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