Vernon, Connecticut (AP)-The man who fatally stabbed the University of Connecticut football Jasper Howard during a fight on campus in 2009 apologized in tears to the Howard family Friday as he was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
John Lomax III, dressed in orange prison overalls for hands and feet shackled, sobbing as he told the powerful Howard family, that he regretted what he did.
"I know it hurts. I know it hurts," said Howard Lomax family members and friends in a crowded room with 70 people. "I do not want that to happen to any family. Even if you despise me, I do not despise you. We are all children of God. Not all of you haters. Y'all love."
The 22-year Lomax Bloomfield, was charged with murder, but asked no contest to manslaughter in the first degree in January. He had lived to 20 years in prison.
Investigators believe the fight started in a comment from a player in a woman. Howard died from a single stab wound.
Rockville Superior Court Judge Terence Sullivan noted that Lomax has no criminal record, was employed and supported his child.
"You're not really a bad person, but you did very, very bad thing," Sullivan said Lomax. "You took the life of Jasper Howard ... and there was no reason to. When his life, took him and his family all he had ... and what could have been."
Howard's mother, Joanglia Howard, Miami, Florida, was first too emotional to speak, but she recovered and told the judge that Jasper, a cornerback for 20 years, the Huskies junior, dreamed of play in the NFL.
"My son was taken from me," said Howard Joanglia. "He has done nothing for anyone. Fallu his life for no reason. My heart is torn. I miss my baby so much."
Howard Asper girlfriend was pregnant when he died and family members were sad that he never saw his daughter, who is almost her first birthday.
Howard, whose nickname was the Jazz, the home mortgage was a rough neighborhood near Miami Edison High School. His friends say he dreamed of a better life for his mother and two sisters.
"Jazz has been uplifting and loving, caring person," Sio Moore, who was Howard's teammate for two years, said he read the letter he wrote to other UConn players. "You've never seen the Jazz without a smile. Every day we remember his life."
State attorney Matthew Gedansky read a letter from former UConn coach Randy Edsall, who left school in January for the position of head coach at Maryland.
Edsall taken to hospital after being stabbed and Howard was the one who had to identify his body.
"I was shocked. When I got the Jazz, I prayed the whole nation lives touched," Edsall said. "There are no words to describe feelings, who took the time."
Just hours before the stabbing, Howard had one of his best games, Edsall said, with an interception, a forced fumble and 13 deal in a 38-25 victory over Louisville game back. Edsall said Howard should have continued to impress scouts pro.
The stabbing on October 18, 2009, occurred after someone pulled a fire alarm during a school-sponsored dance together hundreds of people at the Student Union.
23-year-old Hartford man, Johnny Hood, told police that he had to request the two men, later identified Portée players Brian and AJ Parker, when Parker made derogatory remarks about a woman.
Witnesses told police, according to an affidavit, a group that includes Howard and a group of Hood and Lomax have clashed outside the Student Union and blows were thrown. Hood and Lomax said football players are changing them. Parker suffered a stab wound in the back of lesser importance in the melee.
Many soccer players, like Howard, he went to the place near the UConn basketball arena, while Lomax and another man returned to the car and armed himself, police said.
Another fight broke out several people several minutes later in front of the arena. Witnesses said Howard opened his fist in Lomax and Lomax responded by reducing Howard. Gedansky, the prosecutor said Lomax cut an artery in the abdomen of Howard.
UConn football player Michael Smith, told police that Howard in streets yelling "I've got him!" Before collapsing.
Gedansky said there was no reason Lomax had to get a knife from his car and poke Howard.
"He went for maximum damage, and it worked," said Gedansky. He said Howard was a rising star in the field, and was a rising star off the field. His loss is enormous. "
No football players were accused in the fighting.
Hood is charged with breach of peace and interfering with police. The trial against him and others convicted in connection with the fighting continues.
Lomax Troylyn Grimes mother was too upset to speak at sentencing Friday, but she wrote a letter that was read in court by her aunt Lomax.
"It was a friendly child and has become a respectful young man and father," Grimes wrote.
He said that in 2006, Bloomfield High School graduate who went to Manchester Community College before his education must offer to his daughter.
Grimes appeal the judge, have mercy on his son.
Lomax grandmother, Deborah Maddox, said his family knew what it was like losing a loved one. Said the father died when he was 12 Lomax Lomax. Lomax sobbed aloud during his remarks.
"It's a horrible situation that my little son was put in," said Maddox. "It's not a gangster. God knows his heart is touched and I know he feels bad for the family Jasper Howard. There are many families that have been destroyed."