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STORRS, Conn. (AP) — A man was arrested and charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of a University of Connecticut football player but was just trying to break up a fight at a school-sanctioned dance, his attorney said Tuesday.

John William Lomax, of Bloomfield, was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with stabbing 20-year-old Jasper Howard, attorney Deron Freeman said. His bond was set at $2 million, Freeman said.

State police have scheduled an early afternoon news conference to announce what they call “significant developments” in the investigation.

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 did try to break up the fight, Freeman said.

“He was just partying,” Freeman said. “Often people from out of town go to the UConn campus to party.”


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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.”

Howard, a starting cornerback whose nickname was Jazz, was stabbed early Oct. 18 outside a university-sanctioned dance, hours after helping his team to a homecoming game win over Louisville.

The entire UConn team attended his funeral Monday in Miami, where Howard was eulogized by coach Randy Edsall as “the ultimate son, he was the ultimate brother. He was the ultimate teammate. He was the ultimate friend. They didn’t come any better than Jazz.”

Police this weekend searched storm drains and a lake on campus near the area of the stabbing but wouldn’t say what they were looking for.

Another man faces charges of breach of peace and interfering with police but also is not charged in the killing.

Lomax has had a full-time job in the information technology field for the past two years and is a graduate of Bloomfield High School, Freeman said.


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