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Stabbed UConn Player Jasper Howard Named Unborn Child the Night Before He Was Killed

(Facebook Photo)
Photo: Jasper Howard and pregnant girlfriend Daneisha Freeman.

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Murdered UConn football star Jasper Howard will never get to meet his baby girl, but the 20-year-old got to name her the night before he was stabbed to death outside a campus dance party.

PICTURES: Slain UConn Player Jasper Howard

"I think I am going to go with Jamiya Tia Howard," the promising athlete told his four months pregnant girlfriend Daneisha Freeman from his hotel room as he rested up for the team's homecoming game versus Louisville.

Howard was a difference-maker in the team's 38-25 victory.

"I said 'you talk about her like she is already there,' " Freeman told Howard.

Howard responded, "She gonna love papa."

The new details emerged during a Monday phone interview with Crimesider.

Oct. 18, the night of the deadly knife attack, Daneisha Freeman stayed at Howard's apartment. She texted his phone at 12:21.

"I am about to take a shower and going to sleep until you get back," she said she wrote him. "Have fun. Be safe and good."

He never texted back.

(AP Photo/Doug Healy)
Photo: Jasper Howard on the field.

PICTURES: Slain UConn Player Jasper Howard

According to UConn police, it was around that time that Howard was fighting for his life, and losing. He got caught up in a fight between two groups that included students and non-students. The fight broke out just after a fire alarm went off in a student center, forcing around 300 people to evacuate from a party and dance sponsored by the school's West Indian Awareness Organization.

Somewhere in the melee, Howard was fatally stabbed. It's not yet clear if Howard was part of the altercation or just caught standing near it.

Another UConn player, Brian Parker, 19, of Sarasota, Fla., also was stabbed but suffered only minor injuries. He is a sophomore wide receiver who is academically ineligible to play this season.

Police still haven't said who they think fatally stabbed Howard.

Meanwhile, an attorney for a Bloomfield man said Monday he expected his client to be arrested in the stabbing death, as police continued to sort out what happened.

The attorney, Deron Freeman, declined to identify his client but said the man and several others got into a fight "with about six" UConn football players early Sunday. Freeman said his client did not stab Howard but was present when Howard was mortally wounded.

(Facebook Photo)
Photo: Daneisha Freeman.

PICTURES: Slain UConn Player Jasper Howard

Another man, 21-year-old Johnny Hood, of Hartford, was arraigned Monday on charges of interfering with an officer and breach of peace. But he has not been charged in Howard's death, and police haven't named a suspect.

Freeman said police had searched and removed some items from his client's home and told him his client and others will be arrested.

"(Police) have indicated to me that they expect to get a warrant for his arrest," he said. "I'm not sure if I would say that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I could say that he was not involved in the actual stabbing of Mr. Howard."

Authorities said Hood gave a false name when he was questioned. His bond initially was set at $100,000, but that was reduced Monday to $10,000.

Hood's attorney, Justin Freeman, said at the arraignment that his client is a full-time dental assistant and a part-time student at Capitol Community College, who was "at the wrong place at the wrong time," and did not even know a homicide had occurred.

Deron Freeman, who is Justin Freeman's brother, wouldn't say if his client knows Hood.

The state medical examiner's office said Monday that Howard died from a single stab wound to the abdomen.

Howard was a junior who had come to UConn to get away from the violence on the streets of his hometown of Miami. He was the first in his family to go to college.

(Facebook Photo)
Photo: Jasper Howard.

Teammates and friends on Monday placed candles and flowers at the spot where Howard was killed, along with a poster that included the words "Live 365" next to pictures of Howard playing football and having fun. Outside the team's football complex, dozens of athletes and other students joined hands as punter Desi Cullen, a team captain led them in prayer.

"Value the breath you breathe," he told the crowd. "Value every day you wake up."

The team will wear a sticker with Howard's initials on its helmets for the rest of the season and will carry his helmet or jersey to away games, Edsall said.

The coach said he doesn't know if two teammates who helped Howard after he was stabbed and bleeding will play when the Huskies visit Big East foe West Virginia on Saturday. "I'll honor whatever decision they want to make," he said.

West Virginia coach Bill Stewart said plans are in the works to honor Howard at Saturday's game.

PICTURES: Slain UConn Player Jasper Howard

October 26, 2009 - "Wanted to Make His Mom Proud;" Jasper Howard, Slain UConn Football Player, Inspires Emotion
October 23, 2009 - Stabbed UConn Player Jasper Howard Named Unborn Child the Night Before He Was Killed
October 20, 2009 - More Arrests Soon in UConn Football Star Jasper Howard's Fatal Stabbing
October 19, 2009 - UConn Football Player Fatally Stabbed – University Mourns Jasper Howard