- Associated Press - Sunday, March 1, 2020

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - An assault charge has been dropped against a Washington state man accused in a beating that left a father of two dead.

Detectives are pursuing new leads in the death of Daniel G. Jarman after prosecutors on Jan. 30 moved to dismiss a first-degree assault against Joseph R.W. Riley, the Spokesman-Review reported Sunday.

A judge dismissed the charge without prejudice, meaning prosecutors may still charge Riley in connection with Jarman’s death.

Riley, 38, was arrested after two women who accompanied Jarman to bars told deputies Riley was the assailant that beat Jarman in a parking lot outside a Spokane Valley bar in the early hours of Dec. 29.

Jarman, a 40-year-old Army veteran and father of two sons, died five days later at a hospital.

Riley, a tattoo artist with no criminal record, said he was at home with his wife and children at the time of the assault.

“As the investigation went on, we started getting some conflicting information that it possibly wasn’t Mr. Riley,” said Cpl. Mark Gregory, a spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. “We want to make sure we have the right guy and hold the right person accountable.”

After the beating one of the women “performed an online search for Joe, knowing he was a tattoo artist who worked at the mall. She located Joe Riley’s name and pulled up his Facebook page, confirming through the photos visible on the page Joe was in fact the same person she had been introduced to, and who she had seen punch Daniel in the face,” court records state.

The other woman said she had been familiar with Riley for about two years and recognized him as a Facebook friend.

“She said she did not initially remember his name but, over time, remembered his name and that he worked at Speakeasy Tattoo in the Spokane Valley Mall,” according to court records.

Riley spent 13 days in jail before posting a $150,000 bond.

“Being innocent and being locked up was the most helpless, helpless nightmare feeling I’ve ever experienced,” he said.

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