Potential Troubles With DNA Evidence Harms Cold Case Prosecution

Posted at 8:03 PM, Dec 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-04 21:05:17-05

Charges against the suspect in one of Nashville's most notorious unsolved murder cases, Patrick Streater, could be dropped due to problems with DNA evidence.

Streater was charged with brutal double homicide. He was locked up and set to stand trial next month in criminal court.

However, he was released from jail, and questions surrounding the DNA evidence against him have grown.

Prime Suspect In Notorious Nashville Cold Case Released From Jail

"Did you kill those women? Absolutely not. God is good. God is good. And the DNA? Is there DNA or what? I can't talk," said Streater.

NewsChannel 5 talked exclusively with Streater right after the double murder suspect walked out of jail soon after a huge bond reduction.

"Anytime you go from 750,000 to 25,000 and the state agrees it suggests they have a problem with their case," said Newschannel5 Legal Analyst Nick Leonardo.

And, this is a high-profile Nashville cold case: The vicious stabbing deaths of two eighteen-year-olds Tiffany Campbell and Melissa Chilton at the Exotic Tanning Parlor back in 1996.

Out of the blue four years ago DNA linked Streater to the crime. He was arrested, jailed and set for trial in January, but now prosecutors need more time.

"The state has recovered additional evidence that it is submitting for testing," said Assistant District Attorney Tammy Meade last week when asking the judge for delay to the trial. In fact, Newschannel 5 confirmed there was no new evidence -- just more DNA testing of what prosecutors already have in the case file.

"You typically see 96, 97, 98 percent accurate reading for DNA. That's what they use," said Leonardo. However, word is: The DNA match right now is not close to what prosecutors will need for a conviction. That's one reason Streater is free.

Part of the criteria for setting a bond is the likelihood of conviction.  Streater's bond was significantly lowered.

"What are you going to do while you are out? Just enjoy my family. Enjoy being with my family," said Streater, who after four years waiting in jail will now be home for the holidays.

Is it really possible the double homicide charges against Streater could be dropped? Maybe. But if the charges are not dropped it will still be sometime before he stands trial.

The additional DNA testing with newer technology could bring different results, but those results are not expected for several months.