VERNON, Conn. – Several witnesses identified the man charged with fatally stabbing a University of Connecticut football player as the killer, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Two people arrested in the stabbing of 20-year-old Jasper Howard were arraigned in Rockville Superior Court on Wednesday. John William Lomax III, 21, is charged with murder while his friend and co-worker, 20-year-old Hakim Muhammad, is charged with conspiracy to commit assault.
Police have not discussed a motive and the investigators' affidavits and arrest warrants are sealed.
But prosecutor Matthew Gedansky on Wednesday argued for a high bond, saying that several witnesses reported seeing Lomax and Muhammad involved in a minor altercation with others outside a university-sanctioned dance early Oct. 18. He said the two went back to Lomax's car and returned "in a rage" with knives, and escalated the violence. Several witnesses also identified Lomax as the person who stabbed Howard, he said.
Lomax's attorney, Deron Freeman, denied that his client stabbed Howard and said no witnesses in the affidavit could identify Lomax with 100 percent certainty. Even if all the allegations in the affidavit were true, "this was a mutual combat situation where my client was engaged," he said.
Gerald Klein, Muhammad's attorney, said that while snd and spokesman for the Lomax family, said John Lomax, who goes by the nickname Pooda, is a good person who works hard to support his daughter.
Lomax, Muhammad and their friend Hood went to UConn that night because they had heard about a college party at the student union, he said.
"They all just went there to hang out," said Stokes, 48, of East Hartford.
"We all believe what he told us, and what he told us is he didn't do it," Stokes said. "This is as devastating to us as it is to Howard's family."
Several other football players were with Howard, but none has been charged. UConn football coach Randy Edsall said he hasn't heard that any player was involved in anything other than "verbal jostling."
Howard, whose nickname was Jazz, died at a hospital from a single wound in his abdomen, only hours after helping his team to a homecoming game win over Louisville.