SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — Howard China Smith, son of boxer and Sarasota native China Smith II, has been arrested in connection to a 2018 murder in Sarasota.
On Jan. 20, 2018, Sarasota police officers found a 32-year-old man in his car on 31st Street and Maple Avenue suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
First responders took the victim to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where he later died.
“Witnesses told Sarasota Police officers the victim pulled up to a home on 31st Street and sat in his car, talking on the phone,” a release states. “The victim walked into a house and walked back outside to his car. Witnesses said they heard at least four gunshots and saw three people run from the area. Several 9MM shell casings were collected from the crime scene.”
In February 2018, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement told Sarasota PD that the 9MM shell casings came from the same weapon.
Sarasota police officers ended up searching Howard Smith III’s home on an unrelated case a month later, finding a black Glock 9MM semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine. Howard Smith III was also arrested on unrelated narcotics charges that month and would later serve three years in prison for them.
The FDLE later told Sarasota police in June 2018 that the shell casings had come from the gun found in Howard Smith III’s home.
In March 2021, a witness came forward, giving detectives incriminating statements Howard Smith III made implicating himself in the 2018 murder.
Two months later, the Florida State Attorney’s Office of the 12th Judicial Circuit filed charges of murder and armed robbery with a firearm against Howard Smith III.
Smith is now in the Sarasota County Jail as of June 9, 2021, while awaiting arraignment on July 23, 2021.