A 21-year-old man whose lawyer says he was trying to break up a fight was charged Tuesday with the stabbing murder of a University of Connecticut football player.
Police arrested John William Lomax III on charges of murder and conspiracy to commit assault in Jasper Howard’s killing.
Lomax’s bond was set at $2 million. Two others also were arrested and charged in the fight that led to the stabbing.
The 20-year-old Howard, of Miami, was stabbed to death Oct. 18 outside a University of Connecticut dance.
Police would not discuss evidence or a motive during a news conference Tuesday. More than 40 investigators conducted more than 200 interviews and “have not stopped working,” UConn police chief Robert Hudd said.
Police charged Hakim Muhammad, 20, of Bloomfield, with conspiracy to commit assault and Jamal Todd, 21, of Hartford, with a felony charge of falsely reporting an incident and a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment. Police say he pulled the fire alarm that emptied the dance early Oct. 18, triggering the fight.
Lomax, who is not a UConn student and lives 30 miles from campus, wasn’t present when the argument started and doesn’t know what it was about, but tried to break up the fight, said his attorney, Deron Freeman.
“He was just partying,” Freeman said. “Often people from out of town go to the UConn campus to party.”
Lomax, a Bloomfield High School graduate who works in information technology, goes by the nickname “Pooda.” He last logged into his MySpace page in March, when he listed his occupation as “taking care of my daughter.”
On his Facebook page, Lomax’s friends include Muhammad and 21-year-old Johnny Hood of Hartford, who was arrested last week and faces charges of breach of peace and interfering with police.
Freeman said he was first told that Lomax would be charged in connection with the fight, but not with murder.
“I’m surprised,” Freeman said. “I’m curious to find out what evidence they had to secure an arrest warrant for murder. … From all the evidence I’ve heard, he was not involved in the stabbing.”