Suspect in Homeless Killings Released from Custody – No Charges Filed

by on July 11, 2016 · 0 comments

in Homelessness, Ocean Beach, San Diego

homeless attacks Lt Nisleit 7-11-16

Lt Nisleit of SDPD at 3pm news conference. Screen capture CBS8

In a stunning turnaround, the man police had arrested as the suspect in the killings of 3 homeless men and the attack on a 4th, has been released from custody and has had no charges filed against him.

At a 3 pm news conference today – Monday – police explained that they did not feel confident in the evidence they had against Anthony Padgett, the man police had arrested last Thursday, July 7th on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and arson.

Lt. Nisleit of the SDPD – clearly uncomfortable – told the media assembled that the police crime lab had worked around the clock over the weekend on the case and that they now have “exculpatory evidence” – evidence in Padgett’s favor, so now police do not feel confident in moving forward against him. Exculpatory evidence is evidence that favors the defendant in a criminal case.

Lt. Nisleit said he discussed this with DA Bonnie Dumanis and she agreed with him that this was the right course to take – not file charges and release Padgett.

The man in the widely-circulated video “is still our suspect,” Lt Nisleit said. And he admitted that Padget bore a strong resemblance to that person. Police had probable cause to arrest Padgett last week, he said, what with the video resemblance and Padgett’s prior conviction of setting a homeless man on fire.

However, there is a higher standard needed to continue and file charges against someone than probable cause.

It’s possible, Lt Nisleit said, that police could obtain new evidence tomorrow, or next week that “points the finger back to Padgett.”

The investigation continues, law enforcement authorities say.

Anyone with information about the attacks is asked to call police at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at (888) 580-8477. CBS8

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