MIAMI (AP)—A University of Connecticut football player who was fatally stabbed outside a campus dance was looking forward to being a father and wanted to be a part of his daughter’s life, the grandfather of the unborn child said Oct. 25.
Family and friends of Jasper Howard filed through a small South Florida mortuary Sunday to pay their respects to the 20-year-old cornerback from Miami. Among them was David Nadal, the father of 18-year-old Daneisha Freeman, who is pregnant with Howard’s child.
Howard was a “good kid” who would have been a wonderful father, Nadal said.
“I told him that no matter what, I understand he says he’s going to be there 100 percent for her, that I’d be there for him, too, to help him out,” Nadal said outside the viewing for Howard, who was killed during an altercation on the campus in Storrs, Conn., early on Oct 18.
No one has been charged in Howard’s death. Police have made just one arrest. Johnny Hood, 21, of Hartford, faces charges of breach of peace and interfering with police but is not charged with the stabbing. Police searched storm drains and a lake on campus near the area of the stabbing but wouldn’t say what they were looking for. UConn played Saturday, losing to No. 22 West Virginia 28-24 in an emotionally charged game.
“Jazz was a great person,” said Clemson cornerback Chris Chancellor, Howard’s former teammate at Miami Edison Senior High. “He lived a great life, was having a great career. It’s just kind of tough because he was doing something with his life.”
Clemson earned a 40-37 overtime win against the Hurricanes on Saturday, and Chancellor stayed in Miami to attend Howard’s viewing and funeral. He was joined Monday by the UConn football players, who travelled together on a charter flight to Miami for the funeral.
UConn coach Randy Edsall said it is “going to be a difficult day for some of these young people.”
“This is a lesson for them in life, that these are the things you have to deal with in life and (Monday) as Jazz is buried it brings a little closure to this,” Edsall said during a conference call.
He was quick to add that Howard will remain in the team’s thoughts every day.