Sarasota Murder

22-Year-Old Sarasota Man Arrested, Connected To 2018 Shooting Homicide

SARASOTA, Fla. – A Sarasota man facing charges in connection to 2018 homicide.

Howard China Smith, III, age 22, of Sarasota, is facing charges of Murder and Armed Robbery with a Firearm in connection to a 2018 homicide that occurred in the City of Sarasota.

On January 20, 2018, at about 7 p.m., Sarasota Police officers responded to the area of 31st Street and Maple Avenue, Sarasota, to investigate a shooting.

When officers arrived, they found a 32-year-old man in the road near his car with gunshot wounds.  The victim was transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital where he later died from his injuries.  The name of the victim is being withheld under Marsy’s Law.

Witnesses told Sarasota Police officers the victim pulled up to a home on 31st Street and sat in his car, talking on the phone.  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, Sarasota Police officers received information from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) that the 9mm shell casings found at the January 2018 homicide scene were all fired from the same weapon.

In March 2018, Sarasota Police officers executed a search warrant in the 3300 block of Central Avenue, at the home of Smith, on an unrelated case. 

During the search, officers found a black Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine.  It was sent to FDLE.  In June 2018, Sarasota Police officers learned from FDLE that the shell casings found at the homicide scene were fired from the firearm found at Smith’s home in March 2018.

In March of 2018, Smith was arrested on charges for an unrelated narcotics case.  He was sentenced to three years in prison in the Florida Department of Corrections.  In March 2021, a confidential witness gave Sarasota Police detectives incriminating statements Smith made implicating himself in the 2018 murder.

In May 2021, the Florida State Attorney’s Office of the 12th Judicial Circuit filed charges of Murder and Armed Robbery with a Firearm based on physical evidence and multiple witness accounts.

On June 9, 2021, Smith was transferred from the Florida Department of Corrections Marion prison in Ocala to the Sarasota County Jail.  An arraignment for Smith is scheduled for July 23, 2021. 

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