Bond for UConn Slaying Suspect Remains at $2 Million - NBC Bay Area

Bond for UConn Slaying Suspect Remains at $2 Million



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    Jasper Howard died after being stabbed outside a dance on UConn's campus.

    The bond remains at $2 million for the man accused of stabbing and killing UConn football star Jasper Howard, despite prosecutors attempts to increase the amount.

    John William Lomax, 21, of Bloomfield, is accused of killing Howard in front of the student union early on Oct. 18. Originally, the attorney explained that Lomax was charged only in connection with the fight that led to the fatal stabbing.

    He was charged with murder and conspiracy to commit assault and his bond was set at $2 million. He was in court on Wednesday and will appear again on Nov. 13.

    Prosecutors argued for a high bond, saying that several witnesses reported seeing Lomax and Hakeem Muhammed, 20, Bloomfield, in an argument outside a university-sanctioned dance before they went back to Lomax's car and returned with knives.

    Several witnesses also identified Lomax as the person who stabbed Howard, prosecutors said.

    "We had a tremendous amount of e-mails (to) us to solve the crime and, in layman's terms, make it right. The only ones who can do that is law enforcement and were happy to say we’ve done that," Robert Hudd, UConn’s chief of police, said.

    Lomax's attorney, Deron Freeman, denied that his client stabbed Howard and noted that no witnesses in the investigators' affidavit could identify Lomax with 100 percent certainty. He said even if all the allegations in the affidavit were to be true, "this was a mutual combat situation where my client was engaged."

    Outside of court, Lomax's mother, Trolyn Grimes, said he was innocent. "He's not a bad kid," she said. "They're lying on him."

    Muhammed was charged with conspiracy to commit assault, police said. His bond was set at $750,000 but reduced to $450,000 on Wednesday. He us due back in court on Nov. 20.

    Jamaal Todd, 21, of West Hartford, is accused of pulling the fire alarm and he is due in court on Nov. 10.

    University of Connecticut police and State Police would not discuss a motive but said 40 investigators made at least 200 interviews before making the arrests.

    A dance was evacuated that night after someone, now identified as Todd, pulled a fire alarm, police said. Outside, a fight began and Howard and one other UConn student were stabbed.

    Lomax, who is not a UConn student, lives 30 miles from campus and wasn't there when the argument started, nor does he know what it was about, his attorney, Deron Freeman, told the Associated Press. He was trying to break it up, he said.

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

    Freeman told the AP that 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."

    The arrests came one day after the entire UConn football team boarded buses to start their journey to bury fellow player and classmate in Miami.