Repeat Offender Convicted of Kidnapping and Assault Charges

DA Charme Allen announces that prosecutors in the Domestic Violence Unit obtained multiple convictions against a man who strangled his girlfriend and struck her with a baseball bat, refusing to let her leave.  Merv Conley Rodgers, 62, was convicted of Especially Aggravated Kidnapping, Domestic Assault, and two counts of Aggravated Assault.  Judge Hector Sanchez set the case for sentencing on August 29 where Rodgers faces twenty-five to forty years to serve in the Tennessee Department of Correction.

In a two-day trial, Assistant District Attorneys Sean Roberts and Joe Welker explained to the jury that on June 22, 2023, Knoxville Police Department Officers Eric Blood and Sean Lyons responded to a 911 call reporting an assault and kidnapping.  During their investigation, officers learned that Rodgers and the victim had been dating for a few weeks and got into an argument the previous day in the van where Rodgers lived.  During the argument, Rodgers punched the victim in the eye and strangled her until she lost consciousness.  When the victim woke up and tried to leave, Rodgers grabbed the victim, forced her back in the van, and hit her in the arm with a baseball bat.  Rodgers then strangled the victim again until she passed out.  When she regained consciousness the second time, the victim saw Rodgers holding the bat saying, “You ain’t going anywhere.  I will kill you, cut you up, and roll you up in the blanket you was sitting on.”  Rodgers confined the victim in the van overnight until the victim was able to escape and run to a nearby apartment to call 911.  Rodgers pursued the victim and was searching for her when KPD officers arrived and rescued the victim.

“The quick response by police saved this victim and led to the successful prosecution of this repeat, violent offender,” said DA Allen.

Rodgers is facing twenty-five to forty years in prison because of his extensive criminal history dating back to 1981 for crimes like Robbery, Burglary, Larceny, and Aggravated Assault.  Assistant Victim Witness Coordinator Cindy Vanosdale aided in the prosecution of this case.

If you have any questions, please contact Sean McDermott at 865-215-2515 or For more information about the District Attorney’s Office, visit our website at and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.