Most people go to church to be closer to their Lord. The church leader is supposed to be the moral guide and help those that have lost their way. Bringing people back to or closer to God should be their guiding mission.
There is a social component to worship. The church will host events to bring the community together a few times a month. They also want their members to be friends and spend time together.
But what happens when the leader breaks one of the 10 commandments with a parishioner? It becomes a tangled web of lies, deceit, and murder that the police need to unravel.
Once they do, it will devastate multiple families. And leave the congregation in shock over what occurred in their place of worship.
Love Thy Name Is Adultery
Randy and Teresa Stone were high school sweethearts. Many expected them to get married right after they graduated. Randy, however, had other plans. He enlisted in the Marines and was stationed overseas for several years.
When he returned, Teresa was waiting for him. They reconnected and picked up right where they left off. Shortly after they reconciled, Ray and Teresa got married. In quick succession, they had two children: Michael and Miranda.
The Stones then started working at the same insurance agency. Their desks were mere feet apart. Rather than tiring of being around each other constantly, the togetherness seemed to solidify the relationship.
When they weren’t at work, Randy and Teresa volunteered at their church. The leadership team at New Hope Baptist Church in Independence, Missouri, acknowledged that the couple was among the first people to sign up for different events.
Randy and Pastor Dave Love even became best friends. They considered themselves brothers and would often be seen talking about the bible. The men would often barbeque for Teresa and Dave’s wife, Kim.
Randy and Kim didn’t flinch when their spouses began to grow closer. They brushed off rumors that Teresa and Dave were having an affair. None of it bothered them. They were a fearsome foursome.
And they were all highly religious.
Little did Randy and Kim know, the rumors were true. Dave and Teresa had fallen in love. They would sleep together every chance they got. And they began to plan their future together. All they needed was Randy out of the way.
As Teresa and Dave’s affair continued, they plotted ways to be together. Nobody would accept them as a couple, so they would need to move. The pastor would need to find a new church to preach. There was no way he could continue at the one his wife and best friend attended; the scandal would be too great.
Teresa talked with Randy and their coworker about getting a life insurance policy. It seemed to be a smart move for the couple to make. They needed to make sure the kids would be taken care of and funeral expenses were paid. Teresa assured her husband that it was a security thing for her.
She wasn’t lying.
The policy would be used to secure her future with Pastor Love. Teresa and Dave began talking about what the future would look like after Randy was dead.
They also began plotting how to kill the ex-marine. Neither wanted to be the one to do it. Somehow they decided that Dave would shoot Randy at the insurance office. The piece de resistance was that Teresa’s husband would be shot with his own gun.
On March 31, 2010, Randy was shot and killed. His coworker found him and called the cops. Investigators that came to the office immediately knew this was no robbery; no cash had been stolen.
It was deduced that Randy had been killed for a reason.
Building A Mystery
“We weep not just because of the separation of our loved one but because of the questions that death brings, Questions like why, why him? Why now?” Dave asked as he eulogized the man he called his best friend.
Detectives were in the audience of the funeral. They believed the murderer would show up. Of course, they weren’t wrong. After the services, they picked up on the talk that Dave and Teresa were having an affair.
They also found a letter that Dave had written to Teresa. The missive promised that every birthday from that point forward would be exciting. It was enough for the police to establish a motive.
They brought Teresa in for questioning.
She aroused suspicions when she gave them an alibi for the exact time of the murder. When she was asked about the note, she feigned ignorance until she was alone.
Since she was in the interrogation room, Teresa was being recorded. The cameras caught her chastising herself for forgetting about the love letter from her boyfriend.
More damning evidence came in. Teresa and Randy’s coworker came into talk with the police. He reported that Teresa had asked about the insurance payout less than 24 hours after her husband’s murder. She was adamant that the money needed to be in her account as soon as possible.
It was evident that Teresa had something to do with the murder.
The Rest Of The Puzzle
Police learned that Teresa had suffered a miscarriage after Randy had a vasectomy. It added fuel to the affair theory, which was confirmed after the third questioning of Teresa.
She confessed to having had a love affair with her husband’s best friend. It was enough for the police to arrest her.
But another gift was given to them. The slugs found near Randy’s body were matched to Randy’s missing handgun. They surmised that only Teresa would have had access to it. And she had the motive to want her husband out of the way.
Investigators did not think she worked alone, though. They had their sights on bringing in Pastor Love as well.
It didn’t take long for Teresa to turn on her lover. She told the detectives questioning her that Dave had walked into the insurance office and shot Randy. He couldn’t look at his friend.
The pastor was charged with first-degree murder. He eventually pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in November 2011. He is serving a life sentence. Pastor Dave Love has begun preaching to fellow prisoners; he will be eligible for parole in 2036.
Teresa took a plea deal as well. She confessed to various charges, including conspiracy to commit murder. The judge sentenced her to eight years in prison. After she was released, Michael and Miranda were reunited with their mother.
Kim Love divorced Dave. After her remarriage, she told reporters that she held no ill will towards her ex. However, she was glad that he was serving time in prison for his crimes.
The church is rebuilding after the scandal. Their new leader is trying to be the moral compass the congregation expects.