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Man sentenced in UConn stabbing

By Dave Collins
Associated Press / March 26, 2011

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VERNON, Conn. — The man who killed University of Connecticut football player Jasper Howard during an on-campus fight in 2009 was sentenced yesterday to 18 years in prison during an emotional court hearing at which he and Howard’s mother wept.

John Lomax III, of Bloomfield, stabbed the 20-year-old defensive back in the abdomen during a fight between a group of football players and a group that included Lomax, authorities said. Investigators believe the fight started over a comment a player made about a woman.

Howard, a Miami native, died at a hospital from a single wound to his abdomen, just hours after helping the Huskies to a homecoming game win over Louisville.

The 22-year-old Lomax had been charged with murder, but in January pleaded no contest to first-degree manslaughter.

He broke down as he addressed Howard’s family.

“I know it hurts. I know it hurts.’’ he said. “I would never want this to happen to any family. You may despise me. I don’t despise you. We’re all God’s children.’’

Rockville Superior Court Judge Terence Sullivan acknowledged Lomax had an otherwise clean record, saying, “You’re really not a bad person, but you’ve done a very bad thing.’’

Police say the Oct. 18, 2009, argument occurred after someone pulled a fire alarm inside the Student Union, where many had gathered for a dance.

A 23-year-old Hartford man, Johnny Hood, told police that 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.

Lomax and Hood claimed football players took swings at them. Parker suffered a minor stab wound in the back during the melee. Another fight involving several people broke out several minutes later. Witnesses said Howard swung his fist at Lomax, and Lomax slashed Howard.