Connecticut Fall trial appears unlikely in UConn murder case Defense hasn't seen all the evidence

By Pat Eaton-Robb

Associated Press Writer

VERNON, Conn. (AP) -- A trial for a man charged with stabbing University of Connecticut football player Jasper Howard to death last year now appears unlikely to be held this fall because of issues with turning over evidence to defense lawyers.

State's Attorney Matthew Gedansky said in Rockville Superior Court on Friday that there is a lot of evidence in the case against 22-year-old John Lomax III and prosecutors are only three-quarters of the way through turning it over to the defense.

Gedansky said some evidence still remains at the state crime lab.

Lomax's murder case was continued to Oct. 29, and he remains held on $2 million bail. His lawyer, Deron Freeman, had been seeking a trial as soon as possible.

Lomax was represented in court Friday by attorney Donald Freeman, Deron Freeman's father. He acknowledged that the defense has not yet filed a speedy trial motion, but told reporters that doesn't mean they are giving up on that plan.

"Nothing has been given up, I'll tell you that," he said.

Lomax, of Bloomfield, denies killing Howard, a 20-year-old cornerback from Miami, last Oct. 18 during an on-campus fight between a group of football players and a group that included Lomax.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Lomax and a friend, Hakim Muhammad, retrieved knives from a car during the altercation, which occurred outside a school-sanctioned dance at the student union.

Muhammad is accused of stabbing former UConn player Brian Parker during the fight, and he faces assault and other charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

According to the affidavit, there are several witnesses who identified Lomax as the man who stabbed Howard. But Freeman said there are others who dispute that.

A fall trial would have come in the middle of UConn's football season, and several players could have been called as witnesses.

According to the affidavit, wide receiver Mike Smith told police he saw Howard throw a punch at a man later identified as Lomax. Smith said Howard ran across the street yelling "They got me!" and he walked with him toward the student center before Howard collapsed on the sidewalk.

Other players identified as being at the altercation include defensive end A.J. Portee, receiver Kashif Moore and tailback Kalmetrus Wiley. Parker, who suffered minor injuries, was dismissed from the team in January for academic reasons. None of the players has been charged with any crime.

Published: Mon, Sep 20, 2010