Following his team’s 38-25 homecoming win over Louisville last Oct. 18, Connecticut’s Jasper Howard sat matter-of-factly in front of a group of reporters.

When asked about his forced fumble and recovery early in the second half, Howard responds: “You have to play each play like it’s the last play you’ll ever play.” Exactly one year ago today, those words still echo in the hearts of his teammates and coaches following his murder.

During a school-sanctioned dance attended by Howard and many of his teammates basking in the glow of Connecticut’s first Big East win, a fire alarm was pulled by a man angry he couldn’t get into the dance, according to police reports.

The crowd spilled outside of Connecticut’s student union, where the dance was held, and a series of fights broke out after a group of non-athletes confronted a football player (not Howard) over something he allegedly said to a passing girl, according to the warrant used to arrest John Lomax III.

Also according to the warrant, these fights eventually led to Lomax and another individual retrieving knives from their car and approaching three football players, one of whom was Howard. Witnesses said Lomax and Howard squared off with Howard taking a swing and missing Lomax and then Lomax stabbing Howard’s stomach. Afterwards, according to the warrant, Howard ran back to the student union yelling, “They got me. They stabbed me.”

Several students, including some of Howard’s teammates, attempted first aid and tried to keep Howard company until paramedics arrived. Eventually he was airlifted to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, CT. Sadly, less than three hours after the stabbing, Jasper Howard passed away, leaving behind a girlfriend and unborn daughter.

One year later, life has had to move on for those Howard left behind. Five months after his death, Howard’s girlfriend, Daneisha Freeman, gave birth to their daughter Ja’Miya Tia Howard. Freeman told the AP that Howard had decided on the name the weekend of his death.

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