Man Charged with Saturday’s Stranger Rape of Woman in Nashville Neighborhood

Phillip Hayes, 46

Sex Crimes detectives assigned to the MNPD’s Special Victims Division this morning swore out arrest warrants charging Phillip Hayes, 46, with aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated burglary for last Saturday’s stranger rape of a woman in her 70s inside her home in a neighborhood off Bowling Avenue behind Elmington Park.

Hayes has been in MNPD custody since early Tuesday morning on charges of assaulting an officer, auto burglary, resisting arrest and possession of meth. He was deemed to be a suspect in Saturday’s rape case shortly after his arrest and was questioned at the Downtown Detention Center Tuesday evening. During questioning, Hayes acknowledged that a publicly released surveillance photo of a man wearing green shorts captured by a camera in the Bowling Avenue neighborhood Saturday was indeed him. However, when asked about the rape, he ended the interview. Hayes refused to comply with a search warrant for a DNA sample at the jail. He ultimately did comply after being taken to General Hospital early Wednesday morning. The DNA sample was immediately taken to the MNPD Crime Laboratory where scientists have now confirmed that Hayes’ DNA matches evidence recovered in the rape case.

Chief Drake announces charges against rape suspect Phillip Hayes
Chief Drake announces charges against rape suspect Phillip Hayes

“I know that today’s charges are a relief to residents in neighborhoods surrounding Bowling Avenue who, understandably, were shaken and scared by what occurred Saturday.” Chief John Drake said. “This was a horrendous crime. I want to thank the victim for working closely with us, detectives in our Special Victims Division for following leads in this case throughout the weekend and this week, and scientists at our Crime Laboratory who were called in over the weekend to begin the analysis of evidence.”

Chief Drake also praised a homeowner in the 900 block of Gale Lane who called 911 at 4:20 a.m. Tuesday to report that a man who had rung the doorbell for several minutes was going through their Jeep parked outside. The resident’s surveillance cameras showed a man, subsequently identified as Hayes, walking around on the property. Officers looked for the man in the darkness but did not find him at that time. What they did see, however, was a vacant black Chrysler Voyager in a ditch partially blocking Gale Lane. The van was a rental and was reported stolen from an 11th Avenue North hotel on July 22. Midtown Hills Precinct Officer Michael Hodges had the van towed.

Just after the wrecker drove off, Hayes came walking up Gale Lane at approximately 5:25 a.m. Officer Hodges stopped Hayes, recognizing him from the Gale Lane resident’s surveillance footage, and asked him where he was going. Hayes claimed to be out for his morning walk and said that he stayed in Brentwood. When Officer Hodges attempted to detain Hayes and handcuff him, Hayes began yelling, flailing his arms, and took off running.

Officers Perry and Hodges at news conference
Officers Perry and Hodges at news conference

Officers Hodges and Alex Perry apprehended Hayes at 6:55 a.m. in the 2500 block of 8th Avenue South after he emerged from a wood line.

Detectives swore out an additional auto theft warrant against Hayes Tuesday night after they confirmed a key fob he was carrying matched the van towed from Gale Lane.

“We know of no legitimate reason for Hayes to have been on Gale Lane Tuesday morning,” Chief Drake said. “I believe that the citizen’s 4:20 a.m. call Tuesday set in motion a response from Midtown Hills Precinct officers that took a very dangerous man off our streets.”

Hayes had no arrest history in Nashville prior to Tuesday. He was arrested in Lebanon, Tennessee, in May on charges of driving without a license, auto theft, and misdemeanor drug possession. He is a convicted felon in Virginia (drug and assault related), and has arrests in Florida, where he was convicted of indecent exposure, and Kentucky. It is not clear how long he has been in the Nashville area.


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