Police released a 30-year-old man implicated in a drug homicide Sunday due to a lack of evidence and suspicions that other people may be involved.
The man shot dead at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday in the parking lot of the Howard Johnson hotel at 3033 N. Division St. has been identified as 32-year-old Richard C. Amodio. He died of gunshot wounds to the torso, according to an autopsy.
Police arrested Joshua Smith within 24 hours. Smith faced a potential charge of second-degree murder, but a scheduled court appearance Monday afternoon was canceled after what police called “additional information” came to light hours following his arrest.
Witnesses to the shooting were reportedly not cooperative with investigators. Smith was released from custody Monday afternoon, according to jail records.
Amodio’s criminal history shows nine felony convictions. In 2007, he was arrested after police found multiple bags of marijuana and high-priced electronics in a car he was driving in northeast Spokane. He later pleaded guilty and spent a year in county jail, according to court records.
The man riding with Amodio at the time of his 2007 arrest, according to court records, was Brandon Compogno. Compogno was killed in October in a dispute over drugs and a woman, according to court records.
Police arrested Amodio again in June 2013, after using a confidential informant to buy crack cocaine and prescription painkillers from him. He was scheduled to appear in court on those charges later this month.
A manager who answered the phone at the Howard Johnson declined to comment.
The shooting is the eighth reported homicide in Spokane County this year, according to Spokesman-Review records. By this date last year, 13 homicides had been reported countywide.
Detectives are continuing to work the case in what police spokeswoman Monique Cotton called a “fluid investigation.”
The inconclusive probe draws parallels to the shooting death of 26-year-old Julian Morrison outside a Spokane music club on Sept. 9.
Police arrested two men in the case and forwarded charges of murder. But the charges against Kalen Bedford, 23, were dropped in November after investigators said they no longer had the evidence required to hold him. Multiple unnamed witnesses to the shooting, which police described as gang-related, said Bedford pulled the trigger. Yet they were unwilling to testify.
Another man, 25-year-old Carlos Fuentes, eventually pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in the case. Witnesses said he fired a gun into the air from a vehicle fleeing the scene. Fuentes was sentenced in May to a year in prison.
There have been no other arrests in the case.