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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The trial for Patrick Streater, the man accused in the 1996 tanning bed murders of two young women, has been pushed back.
During a short bond hearing Wednesday morning, it was revealed new evidence in the case had been uncovered. Testing on the evidence would not be complete in time for the January hearing, attorneys said.
“The DNA evidence keeps falling apart,” defense attorney Kyle Mothershead said. “They are doing additional test and things keep coming back. They can’t say he is included in the DNA pool anymore. The science is exonerating him. The science is saying maybe this other ex-boyfriend could be included.”
In addition to his trial being delayed, the Judge Monte Watkins reduced Streater’s bond to $25,000 from $750,000.
If he is released on bond, Streater will not be allowed to have any contact with the victims’ families or any witnesses. He must also wear an electronic monitoring device.
Streater appeared in court during the brief hearing, which lasted about five minutes.
Streater’s ex-girlfriend, Tiffany Campbell, and Melissa Chilton were brutally stabbed to death inside the now-closed Exotic Tan for Men, which used to sit on Church Street in Midtown, in 1996.
The young women were 19 years old at the time of their murders.
“We have had these confessions that have come out – multiple people have said that this is the other ex-boyfriend of Tiffany’s confessed to the killings and then the DNA evidence keeps falling apart,” Mothershead said.
Streater was indicted in the case 17 years after the crime in February 2013. At the time of the indictment, he was serving a 14-year sentence in San Diego, California, for unrelated crimes.
He was returned to Tennessee several months later where he has remained jailed.
Shortly after Wednesday’s hearing, Streater’s mother Patrycia said she was ecstatic about the outcome.
“First of all, I give honor, praise and glory to God for this day,“ she said. “We’re just grateful. It’s the happiest day we have had in years. We’re just overwhelmed and truly blessed that this day has come. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.”
News 2 spoke to Melissa’s mother after the short hearing, who said she wishes Streater and his mother the best.
“He has been graced by God today to be let out. He has the opportunity to turn his life around,” Gail Chilton said.
“He can leave here, go to church and get on his knees and thank God. He can feed the homeless. He can do community service. He can get a job. This is his opportunity to say, ‘I’m sorry for all I’ve done, whatever it is,” she continued.
If given the opportunity to be face-to-face with Streater, Chilton said she would tell him, “Don’t ever commit another crime. Don’t ever do anything else.”
When asked about the newly introduced evidence, Chilton said she wants it to be tested.
“I want it to be proven who the killer is of my daughter. I’m all for this DNA testing,” she said.
She added, “This is not the end of the case. I don’t want to insinuate that. We will meet again in 2018. I want to tell Patrick Streater’s mother to put her arms around him and hold him tight because you never know when your child is going to be murdered. In a second’s notice you get that phone call. I’m here to testify to that.”