The fight that led to the stabbing death of University of Connecticut football player Jasper Howard began when one of his teammates disrespected a woman at a school-sponsored dance, according to a police affidavit released Tuesday.
The affidavit charges 21-year-old John Lomax III with murder in Howard's Oct. 18 death. The document includes an array of witness statements about the encounter and reveals what sparked the fight, according to the police investigation.
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.
Investigators gave the following account in the affidavit:
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. A fight broke out, and Parker suffered a minor stab wound to his back.
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 then walked across the street to a spot near UConn's basketball arena, while Lomax went toward his car. Several minutes later, a fight developed involving Howard, Lomax and De'Quan Muhammad, an 18-year-old from Hartford who is friends with Lomax.
Devra Brown, a witness who said she knew Lomax, recounted seeing 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 Howard.
"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 he soon saw blood on the left side of Howard's abdomen.
On Tuesday, UConn's athletic department referred questions to university spokesman Mike Kirk, who declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
Parker, of Sarasota, Fla., is a sophomore wide receiver who is academically ineligible to play this season. Portee is a redshirt freshman defensive end from Austell, Ga.
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.
A sixth man, 20-year-old Hakim Muhammad of Bloomfield, who is not believed to be related to De'Quan Muhammad, is charged with conspiracy to commit assault.