When Metro police announced last week that it had cracked the 1996 murders of two teens at a Nashville tanning salon, it was the curtain call for the city's most famous detective.
Pat Postiglione has been a homicide detective for 26 years, working tirelessly on Nashville's most infamous crimes, and now he's just days from hanging up the badge.
Postiglione has helped solve every single one of the city's biggest murder cases over the past quarter century, and, to him, one case stands out the most.
Paul Reid was the serial killer that had the entire city on edge. A homicidal maniac on a fast food killing spree, Reid's trial introduced most of Nashville to Postiglione's work.
"He could hold the door for you in the morning and then kill three or four people that night. It didn't seem to phase him. He seemed like three or four personalities," Postiglione said.
That was one of the city's five biggest cases Postiglione helped investigate: the fast food serial killings, the Janet March murder, the Marcia Trimble murder, the truck stop prostitute serial murders and now - with the indictment last week of suspect Patrick Streater - the 1996 tanning bed murders.
Postiglione said the killers were all so different but, strangely, they all had something in common.
"They somehow paint themselves as a victim," Postiglione said. "They're all narcissistic and feel entitled to something or have somehow been wronged over the years."
Postiglione hates the limelight, yet he finds himself retiring as the most famous detective in Nashville history.
"I don't personally feel that way. I don't even like the limelight. I don't like that," Postiglione said.
What he does like, though, are details, persistence and an eternal pursuit as relentless as the killers he handcuffed.
"When you do this kind of work it's always there. You can't say, 'I'll shut it off at 4 and pick it up tomorrow.' It stays with you the whole time," Postiglione said. "Whether I'm cutting the grass at the cabin or at the lake, my brain is working on that homicide. It's not an easy thing every day, every week and every month for more than 25 years. It's a long time. A long haul."
It is that intensity that has led to the Metro cold case unit to solving 55 murders since 2005.
As for why he is retiring now, Postiglione said there is never a good time to leave because there is always another victim and another case that slides into place in the never-ending docket that is the cold case unit.
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