Charges dropped against man accused in Nashville tanning salon murders
Posted June 30, 2018 1:19 p.m. EDT
Nashville, TN — All charges have been dropped against the man accused of killing two women at a Nashville tanning salon in the 1990s.
The victims, college students Tiffany Campbell and Melissa Chilton, were brutally killed in 1996. The case sat unsolved until 2013 when Patrick Lamont Streater was charged with their deaths.
Streater was Campbell's former boyfriend, according to police.
He was back home with his family Friday night as a free man for the first time in more than five years.
"They did the right thing by dropping the charges today because the DNA evidence does not point to Patrick at all," said Patrick's mother Patrycia Streater. "I believed his innocence from the very beginning and he has always maintained his innocence from the very beginning."
Melissa Chilton's mother, Gail, believes Streater is the man behind the brutal killings.
"As of right now, he is our suspect, but until we go into a court of law and a jury agrees, he's free," said Chilton.
She refuses to give up home that the right person will eventually be brought to justice, saying she lost a battle, but hasn't lost the war.
"I know probably a lot of people are glad it's over. They're probably tired of hearing it, seeing it, but I'll never give up," said Chilton.
Streater's attorney, Kyle Mothershead, said the charges were ultimately dropped after "high-end DNA testing" this past spring.
Mothershead issued this statement on Friday:
"Today the State dropped the prosecution in the Patrick Streater case.
The case against Patrick had been falling apart for years, culminating with high-end DNA testing conducted this spring that both exonerated Patrick and implicated an unidentified man.
We appreciate the hard work of the Davidson County District Attorney's Office in seeking justice in this case, and we admire the grace with which Gail Chilton has endured this process. It is unfortunate that the Metro Nashville Police Department rushed to judgment early on, accusing Patrick before the investigation was complete. Patrick spent two and a half years in the Davidson County jail for murders he did not commit - we hope that MNPD can learn some humility from this tragic mistake.
For his part, Patrick will focus on reconnecting with his children, building a career, and helping young people make the right choices in life. He is grateful justice was ultimately done in his case, and that he will finally be able to move on with his life."
The District Attorney's office released this statement following Friday's announcement:
"Since the return of the Indictment in this case, testing of evidence has continued. The DA's Office has tested evidence with the most advanced scientific testing and DNA analysis of any case our Office has handled.
Advancements in science and Superseding Reports have led to the decision that it would not be appropriate to take this matter to trial at this time. We also do not believe it is appropriate for criminal charges to be pending against the defendant in life of the current state of evidence."