Victim's Former Boyfriend Indicted In 'Exotic Tan' Cold Case Murders
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Police received an indictment in the cold case murders of Tiffany Campbell and Melissa Chilton. The 18-year-olds were both killed at a midtown adult business in 1996.
The announcement of the indictment was made at a news conference Thursday afternoon. Metro Nashville Police Department Chief Steve Anderson and Davidson County District Attorney Torry Johnson both spoke about the break in this case.
They said a man already serving time in a California prison committed the crimes. They identified him as Campbell's former boyfriend, Patrick Lamonte Streater. He faces two counts of premeditated first-degree murder.
The details leading to the 37-year-old's arrest were not released as prosecutors continue to work to build a criminal case.
Detectives said they have spoken with him several times over the years, and said investigative work, interviews, and scientific evidence led to his indictment. Streater still has two years of his prison sentence to serve in California on a robbery conviction. Officials said they have a hold placed on his release.
Chief Anderson credited the arrest to countless hours of work by the Metro cold case team, led by Sergeant Pat Postiglione.
"They worked diligently to uncover new pieces of the investigative puzzle, as well as put into place those pieces developed by other officers over the past 17 years," Anderson said.
Both girls' mothers were also in attendance and spoke to the Nashville media, just one day before the 17th anniversary of their daughters' brutal murders.
"There is peace in my heart knowing a killer is off the streets and that Melissa can rest now," Gail Chilton.
"We take it day by day and there's an end in sight for us, and there's hope. So, bless everybody involved in this," Campbell's mother Deborah Edmonds said.
The crime scene was discovered the afternoon of February 22, 1996. The girls were killed inside Exotic Tan for Men, an adult business on Church Street near 18th Avenue North.
Police said the club manager found the bodies of Tiffany Campbell and Melissa Chilton after he was unable to reach them by phone.
According to investigators, the killer stabbed one of the girls more than 50 times. The other was stabbed 30 times. The killer's weapon was a large knife as big as 11 inches.
Police initially talked to the usual suspects, their boyfriends and even the people who ran the business, but there were no arrests for several years.
In 2002, Detective Grady Eleam thought he was close to solving the case.
"We do have a suspect that we are concentrating on, and we have been concentrating on for about six months now," said Eleam.
Melissa was a college student at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.
Over the years, Melissa's mother, Gail, said she has never given up hope. She never knew her daughter worked at an adult club.
NewsChannel 5 talked to her outside the building where her daughter was killed.
"The killer thinks he's gotten away now. He really hasn't. It's just a matter of time until we get him, and I want him to know that if he sees me right now, that I will get him eventually," she said.
Detectives thought the killer had to have known one of the girls because the crime seemed incredibly personal.
They also hoped surveillance tapes at the murder scene would lead them to a suspect, but the killer made sure that didn't happen. He took off with the tapes.
Late Thursday, NewsChannel 5 learned before his 2002 conviction Streater was a football coach at Holy Family Elementary and Jesuit High School in Sacramento, Ca.
Back in 2002 the school sent out a notice about Streater's arrest to parents. In that statement the local sheriff commented on the coach.
"This is a guy who coached football for kids, coached track for kids," said Placer County Sheriff's Department Captain Rick Armstrong. "He had the facade of being a gentle person but deep down inside he has some issues of violence, severe violence."
Streater was convicted of several armed robberies and has been incarcerated ever since.
The DA hasn't decided if he should let Streater finish his time in California, and then prosecute, or see if they can get him to Tennessee before then.
This is the Metro cold case unit's 55th indictment since it started in 2005.