While University of Connecticut police remain tightlipped regarding the investigation of football star Jasper Howard’s murder, one Hartford lawyer said this morning he is representing a potential suspect.
Deron Freeman, an injury lawyer, said he is representing a Bloomfield man who is not a student at the university. Freeman would not identify his client by name.
According to Freeman, UConn police came to his client’s home at 5:30 a.m. Sunday [Oct. 18] and asked him to come to the university’s police department for questioning. His client went voluntarily, he said.
Freeman said once the man was questioned for nearly six hours in Storrs, the man’s parents became “wary” and called Freeman to assist them and their son.
“Apparently, [UConn police] are looking at him as a suspect in the stabbing,” Freeman said this morning. However, he said, his client denies any involvement in the stabbing.
Freeman said police have indicated they have evidence linking his client to the incident and have an eyewitness.
Freeman said he was “not sure” if – or when – there would be an arrest warrant issued for his client, but he is preparing for court if his client is arrested. “If an arrest warrant came out, I would represent him,” Freeman said.
According to Freeman, a search warrant was also issued by UConn police, but he is not sure if they found evidence or confiscated anything.
The warrant was specifically for his client’s residence. He said his client willingly allowed them to search the property. “He is offering full cooperation and assisting police in [finding] whoever did this,” he said.
Multiple media reports surfaced Monday that a Hartford man was arrested by university police but is not considered a suspect in the case.
UConn Police Lt. Andrew Fournier said there are no “new updates” available from police this morning. He said any new information will be disseminated through press releases.
In regards to Freeman or his client, Fournier said he could not comment on the ongoing investigation.
UConn Police Maj. Ronald Blicher did issue an e-mailed statement late this morning on the status of the murder probe.
“The police investigation task force is making positive progress to solve this crime due to the efforts of many people from the community coming forward with information; including photos and video that are pertinent to the investigation,” Blicher wrote. “The investigation task force believes that more information may still be available and is requesting those that have not come forward already to please do so now.
“To this end, we are requesting that all images, photos and video taken both inside and outside of the Student Union on the night of the stabbing incident be submitted to investigators for review. This can include images that you took or that someone else has given to you. Remember that no image is insignificant.”
Howard, 20, a starting cornerback for the Huskies, was stabbed outside UConn’s Student Union at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday.
He was attending a party sponsored by the West Indian Student Organization when a fire alarm was pulled at 12:26 a.m. The alarm forced more than 300 people to evacuate the building, said university police.
Once outside, there was a fight between two groups of people that police say involved students and non-students. Howard was stabbed and later found by a UConn police officer, along with another victim.
Howard was transported to Windham Community Memorial Hospital via ambulance and then transferred to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford via Life Star helicopter. He was pronounced dead at St. Francis.
The other UConn student was treated and released from Windham Community Memorial Hospital without serious injury, said police.
The Connecticut Post has identified that student as 19-year-old Brian Parker, a wide receiver for UConn’s football team.
In an incident apparently related to the fight that night, the state judicial web site cites Johnny Fitzgerald Hood, born in 1988, was arrested by UConn police Sunday for interfering with a police officer and second-degree breach of peace. He is next scheduled to appear Nov. 10 and is awaiting plea. Hood was released on $10,000 bond.
Anyone with information on the killing is asked to call UConn police at 486-4800 or the UConn Police Tip Line at 486-4444, or e-mail the investigation’s task force at CrimeAlerts@uconn.edu.
Posed Oct. 20, 2009