A judge sentenced John Lomax to 18 years in prison Friday for killing UConn football star Jasper Howard.
The sentencing followed an emotional morning as Howard's family and friends made tearful statements in court.
"My heart is torn apart," Howard's mother, Joanglia. "Everyday I cry about my baby, my only son."
Some of Howard's teammates spoke, and the prosecutor read a statement from former UConn Head Coach Randy Edsall. "He lived a life with a zest you couldn't help but feel when you met him," the statement said.
Lomax spoke briefly as well. "I'm sorry all of this had to happen to you," he said while sobbing. "I truly wish the best for you and your family."
It was the judge who had the last say. "He certainly intended to do bodily harm. It wasn't an accident," Judge Terrence Sullivan said. "For some reason I don't understand, he felt he had to do something to someone," he said about Lomax.
Howard came to Storrs from the poorest section of city Miami because of his football talents only to die in rural Connecticut. He discovered during his sophomore year of high school that he had talent for football, and could play at the next level.
His life ended tragically on Oct. 18. He was stabbed during an on-campus fight between a group of football players, Lomax and some of Lomax's friends.
Lomax was charged with murder and conspiracy to commit assault and pleaded no contest to first-degree manslaughter in January.
According to court documents, Lomax, 22, of Bloomfield and a friend, Hakim Muhammad, retrieved knives from a car during the altercation, which occurred outside a school-sanctioned dance at the student union.