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This story was updated Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, at 8 p.m. with more information.

Prosecutors on Thursday dismissed charges against a man who had confessed to killing 21-year-old Dakota Biddle but argued it was in self-defense.

Police said Biddle went to his ex-girlfriend's house on May 25, 2018, in the 7800 block of Basswood Drive to pick up some of his belongings. Twenty-four-year-old Jadarius Knox, the father of Biddle's ex-girlfriend's child, was also there to see the child and visit before work.

According to court testimony, Biddle tried to start an argument with Knox, threw a jar at him, punched and kicked him before Knox ran outside with a gun he'd recently found while doing community service. Police say Knox racked the weapon and waited outside. When Biddle walked out holding Knox's Xbox gaming system near his head, he asked Knox if he was going to shoot him. Knox then fired one round.

Police found Biddle in front of the home, deceased from a gunshot to the head. Knox was arrested and charged with criminal homicide, which is often a catch-all accusation that defendants face until prosecutors take their case to a grand jury and get a more specific charge: First-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter.

During a preliminary hearing in June 2018, public defenders said Knox acted out of self defense, pointing to a text message from Biddle in the days prior to the incident. In the text, Biddle threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend and referred to Knox, who is black, with a curse and an extended racial slur.

The case was sent to a grand jury, which, in early October 2018, returned an indictment for voluntary manslaughter.

In May of this year, Knox had the option to plead guilty and receive a four-year probation sentence. But he ultimately decided not to plead, and instead, attorneys set a trial date, which would have been early next year.

However, prosecutors decided to drop the charge completely on Thursday.

There was "insufficient evidence," Hamilton County District Attorney spokesman Bruce Garner said. And "the prosecution could not overcome the defendant's assertion of self-defense."

As for Biddle, his mother, Samantha Baltazar, has said she wants the world to remember her son as more than just a court case.

She understands her son picked a fight, but she doesn't believe he had to die because of it, she previously told the Times Free Press while sitting in her home, surrounded by framed, movie-poster-sized pictures of her son. He was passionate about writing and producing hip-hop music.

When Biddle sent the threatening text message, Baltazar said that wasn't a side of her son she recognized.

He was flawed but worked hard to overcome a life of pain, and he wanted to go places, she said.

Contact Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.

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