Charges against accused squatter dropped after trial conflict - WSMV Channel 4

Charges against accused squatter dropped after trial conflict

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Charges against a man accused of squatting in a foreclosed property for more than a year and harboring runaway girls have been dropped based on a technicality.

The Channel 4 I-Team exposed the Ashley King saga every step of the way, and our investigation even led to the criminal charges against King.

Now, everyone from the girls' relatives to the neighbors who used to live next door to the foreclosed home are outraged.

Earlier this year, neighbors complained King was squatting in a dead man's foreclosed north Nashville home. Later, the I-Team found two teenage girls at the home, and our investigation quickly got the attention of the Metro sex crimes division, which identified both teen girls as runaways.

King was charged with harboring a runaway child.

But, when King went to court for trial, the detective on the case was not able to be there. He was in training and even told the court back on Oct. 9 he couldn't be there on the scheduled trial date.

In response, Judge Michael Mondelli said that if the detective couldn't be there, the case is dismissed.

The only reason the charges were dropped - not because of a lack of video evidence, not because a lack of witnesses - was because of a court scheduling problem.

King's attorney said, despite what the video may show, King was only letting the girls do laundry at the home and didn't know they were runaways.

The court administrator for Mondelli said judges do not comment publicly on their rulings and would not comment in this case.

The district attorney's office would also not comment but did point out they still have the option of presenting the case against King to a grand jury, even though the judge dismissed the case.

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