A murder charge was dismissed on Monday against Marcus Boston after a key state witness failed to show up.
Prosecutors said the state did not have enough proof at this time to proceed with charges involving the slaying of Quincy Bell.
The charges were dismissed without prejudice, meaning they could be revived later.
Prosecutor Brett Alexander said the chief state witness, Jessica Little, had moved to Florida after she earlier told police she heard Boston admit killing Bell.
He said even if authorities are able to get Ms. Little back to Chattanooga, she may refuse to testify because he said it might incriminate her. Also, he said, the state has no evidence to corroborate her statement.
Boston was on the TBI Most Wanted List after he fled following the Sept. 22 murder. He has been in jail since his capture a week before Christmas.
Police said Ms. Little at the time of the murder was living with Boston, but had just spent time with Bell. She said she saw Boston with a handgun shortly after the 20-year-old Bell was gunned down.
Jessica Little also said she heard Boston admit he had shot and killed the 20-year-old Bell.
Boston was charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, and unlawful use of a firearm.
Police said Bell was shot while driving east in the 3800 block of Wilcox Boulevard. After he was shot, Bell was able to drive to the parking lot of the Kangaroo at 4026 Shallowford Road. He died there.
Police said Bell's phone records showed he had been in contact with Ms. Little by text messages and phone calls throughout the night and just minutes before the shooting.
Ms. Little said she was with Bell shortly before the shooting.
She said she saw Boston's silver Chevy Impala follow Bell's vehicle east on Wilcox Boulevard as she and Bell separated. She said she turned onto Tunnel Boulevard before receiving a call from Boston, who told her to meet him at the house they shared on Plumwood Street just off Wilcox Boulevard.
Ms. Little said she pulled into the driveway just as Boston, Anthony "Boom" Edwards and Tammy Montgomery got out of the silver Chevy Impala that she had seen him in minutes earlier.
She said when they got out of the car they advised they "just got him."
Ms. Little said she saw Boston holding a handgun and that he hid it in a broken-down vehicle in the backyard.
She said after he hid the gun, he told her to call her sister in Florida to see if he could hide out at her home.
Ms. Little said she, Boston, Edwards and Ms. Montgomery spent the next few hours in a hotel room in East Ridge. She said while in the hotel room Boston confirmed that he had shot and killed Bell on Wilcox Boulevard.
She said she was afraid to tell police what she knew because Boston is her cousin and she fears him.
She said Boston had a problem with Bell because Bell stole a few hundred dollars in drug money from him (Boston).
She said she had told Boston earlier in the day that she was going to be with Bell.