Man pleads no contest in stabbing

The man accused of fatally stabbing a University of Connecticut

football player in 2009 pleaded no contest on Friday to

first-degree manslaughter.

John Lomax III, of Bloomfield, who had faced a murder charge,

entered his plea to the lesser charge in Superior Court in

Rockville, according to the court clerk’s office.

Lomax faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing. An

investigation of the case was ordered ahead of the sentencing set

for March 25.

Authorities say the 22-year-old Lomax stabbed Jasper Howard, a

defensive back, in the abdomen during a dispute outside a dance on

campus on Oct. 18, 2009, that investigators think started over a

comment one player made about a woman.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Lomax and a friend

retrieved knives from a car during the altercation, which broke out

between a group of football players and a group that included

Lomax.

Several witnesses identified Lomax as the man who stabbed

Howard, according to the affidavit. But Lomax denied it was him and

his lawyers said there were other witnesses who support his version

of events.

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 that Howard ran across the street yelling, “They got

me!” and that he walked with him toward the student center before

Howard collapsed on the sidewalk.

Other players identified as being at the altercation included

defensive end A.J. Portee, receiver Kashif Moore and tailback

Kelmetrus 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.