VERNON, Conn. — Two men charged in the fight that led
to the stabbing death of University of Connecticut football player Jasper Howard
told police it began when one of Howard's teammates disrespected a woman at a
school-sanctioned dance, according to an affidavit released Tuesday.
The affidavit charges 21-year-old John Lomax III with
murder in Howard's Oct. 18 death.
The 21-page document includes an array of witness
statements, some of them contradictory, about the deadly encounter and provides
the first account of what may have sparked the fight.
The witnesses described a fight between football players
and a group of friends that was broken up by police. The fight restarted several
minutes later, but the witnesses gave differing accounts of what immediately
preceded Howard's stabbing.
Howard, who was from Miami and whose nickname was Jazz,
died at a hospital from a single wound in his abdomen, hours after helping his
team to a homecoming game win over Louisville.
A 21-year-old Hartford man, Johnny Hood, told police he
got into an argument with two men, later identified as football players Brian
Parker and A.J. Portee, after Parker made disparaging comments about a woman.
The argument occurred after someone pulled the fire alarm
inside the student union and as people were leaving the building.
"Johnny was telling the guy, 'That's a girl, be
respectful to her,'" his friend Hakim Muhammad told police. "The guy then
started directing his disrespect to Johnny and the two of them got into it a
The two groups confronted each other outside the center
and, according to several witnesses, punches were thrown. Hood and Lomax both
claim football players took swings at them. Parker said another of Lomax's
friends, De'Quan Muhammad, rushed at him.
At some point, Parker was stabbed in the back. He told
police that as he walked away from the confrontation, two women informed him he
Police broke up the melee, dispersed the crowd and
arrested Hood on charges of breach of peace and interfering with police.
Howard and other football players walked across the
street to a spot near UConn's basketball arena, while Lomax and another men went
back to their car, where police say they armed themselves.
Several minutes later, a fight developed in front of the
arena, near UConn's most well-known landmark, a statue of a Husky.
Devra Brown, a witness who said she recognized Lomax
because he frequented a McDonald's restaurant where she worked, recounted seeing
him at the fight, saying it involved seven or eight people, including Howard.
Howard swung his fists at Lomax and Lomax countered by swinging his left hand at
"It looked like he slashed or stabbed Jazz on the left
side of his stomach," Brown told investigators.
Brown said Howard then ran in her direction yelling,
"They got me! They got me!" before collapsing.
UConn football player Michael Smith also told police he
saw Howard throw a punch at a man later identified as Lomax. Smith said Howard
ran across the street yelling "They got me!" and he walked with him toward the
student center, and Howard collapsed on the sidewalk.
On Tuesday, UConn's athletic department referred
questions to university spokesman Mike Kirk, who declined to comment, citing the
It was not clear from the affidavit who stabbed Parker,
a sophomore wide receiver who is academically ineligible to play this season.
Witnesses said other football players at the scene
included Smith, a sophomore wide receiver; Portee, a redshirt freshman defensive
end; sophomore receiver Kashif Moore; and sophomore tailback Kalmetrus Wiley.
None of the players have been charged.
Lomax, of Bloomfield, Conn., is scheduled to appear in
Rockville Superior Court on Friday. His lawyer has denied the allegations.
Hood and two other men, Jamal Todd and Christopher
Mutchler, were scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon, but the hearings
were delayed until a later date.
Todd is accused of pulling the fire alarm and is charged
with falsely reporting an incident and reckless endangerment. Mutchler is
charged with hindering prosecution, committing an act of terrorism and several
misdemeanors for allegedly posting Internet messages threatening witnesses who
talked with police.
De'Quan Muhammad is charged with making a false
statement, hindering prosecution and interfering with an officer.
Hakim Muhammad of Bloomfield, who is not believed to be
related to De'Quan Muhammad, is charged with conspiracy to commit assault.