VERNON, Conn. -- The man who killed University of Connecticut football player Jasper Howard during an on-campus fight in 2009 was sentenced Friday to 18 years in prison.
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.
The 22-year-old Lomax had been charged with murder, but pleaded no contest to first-degree manslaughter in January.
Howard, a Miami native whose nickname was Jazz, died at a hospital from a single wound to his abdomen, just hours after helping the Huskies to a homecoming game win over Louisville.
Police say the Oct. 18, 2009, argument occurred after someone pulled a fire alarm inside the Student Union and as people were leaving the building, where many had gathered for a school-sponsored dance.
UConn football player Michael Smith told police that Howard ran across the street yelling "They got me!" before collapsing.
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.
Witnesses told police, according to an affidavit, that the two groups confronted one another outside the Student Union and punches were thrown. Lomax and Hood claimed football players took swings at them. Parker suffered a minor stab wound in the back during the melee.
Several football players, including Howard, walked to a spot near UConn's basketball arena, while Lomax and another man went back to their car and armed themselves, police said.
Another fight involving several people broke out several minutes later in front of the arena.
Witnesses said Howard swung his fist at Lomax and Lomax countered by slashing Howard.
Hood is charged with breach of peace and interfering with police. The cases against him and six others charged in the case are still pending.
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