HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The first man arrested after the 2009 fight that left University of Connecticut football player Jasper Howard dead has been granted admission into a probation program that could clear his criminal record.
Johnny Hood, 23, of Hartford was ordered on June 29 to serve a year’s probation in the state’s Accelerated Rehabilitation program, his attorney said Tuesday. If he completes public service and other terms of the probation, his criminal record would be wiped clean.
Hood was charged with breach of peace and interfering with police after the October 2009 fight outside a school dance.
A friend, John Lomax III of Bloomfield, pleaded guilty earlier this year to stabbing Howard and is serving 18 years in prison for manslaughter.
According to court documents, the fight began after an argument between Hood and another football player over comments made to a woman at the dance.
“The football player said something inappropriate about this woman, and Mr. Hood took exception to that and said something, and from there things just snowballed,” said Justin Freeman, Hood’s attorney.
A group of players, including Howard, squared off with another group of young men including Lomax, Hood and a third friend, Hakim Muhammad. The fight appeared to have broken up before Lomax and Muhammad went to a car and came back with knives.
Howard was stabbed in the abdomen. Another football player, Brian Parker, suffered a minor stab wound to the back.
Muhammad was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for stabbing Parker.
Hood had been punched in the mouth by a player and lost two gold teeth, Freeman said. “It was while he was searching for them that the stabbing occurred,” he said.
Hood was the only person arrested at the scene, after football players identified him as one of those involved in the fight.
Freeman said his client’s actions that night amounted to sticking up for a woman and being punched in the face.
“He did give police a false name,” Freeman said. “But there were worse things that occurred that night at the hands of football players, and not one of them was ever charged.
“They charged everyone on the other side, people who posted things on the Internet were charged. It was unjust not to also charge the football players involved.”
A message was left Tuesday seeking a response from prosecutor Matthew Gedansky.