Wake Forest assistant coach charged with assault in man’s death

Posted at 11:20 AM, Aug 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-10 13:20:19-04

By Mark LeBien, CNN

An assistant coach for the Wake Forest men’s basketball team has been charged with assault after police say he punched a man in New York City. The man later died.

Jamill Jones, 35, was arrested Thursday in connection with the death of Sandor Szabo of Boca Raton, Florida. The two men got into a confrontation early Sunday in the borough of Queens, and Jones allegedly struck Szabo in the face, according to the New York Police Department.

Szabo fell back, hit his head on the pavement and lost consciousness, according to police. Police say Jones drove away from the scene, and Szabo was transported to a hospital, where he died Tuesday from his injuries. Szabo had been treated for fractures to the left side of his face and the back of his head, and for bleeding on the brain, according to the complaint filed against Jones.

On Friday, the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the manner of death a homicide, and the cause of death was “blunt impact injury of head with brain injury,” according to spokeswoman Aja Worthy-Davis.

According to a law enforcement official, it appeared Szabo was trying to flag down a ride after leaving a relative’s wedding early Sunday when he came across Jones, who was in a white SUV.

An eyewitness said Szabo was banging on cars and slammed down on Jones’ vehicle before the confrontation, the official said.

Jones’ attorney, Alain Massena, told CNN on Thursday night that Jones learned through social media on Tuesday that Szabo had been injured and police were seeking a suspect. Massena contacted police Tuesday and arranged for Jones to turn himself in Thursday morning.

Jones is “hoping and praying that he’ll be able to continue at some point with his life,” the attorney said. Massena said the encounter between Jones and Szabo was “a tragic accident and we will deal with it in the courts.” He said Jones is cooperating with the police investigation.

Jones, of Kernersville, North Carolina, was arraigned Thursday evening in Queens Criminal Court, and he has been charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor in New York, according to Massena. Jones did not enter a plea, and he was released on his own recognizance. He was ordered to return to court on October 2.

Both the New York police and the Queens district attorney’s office said Friday the case remained under investigation. The district attorney’s office would not comment on whether there would be additional charges.

Jones joined the Wake Forest basketball program in May 2017, according to the team’s website. The Philadelphia native graduated from Arkansas Tech in 2008.

Wake Forest released a statement Thursday night saying, “We have just been made aware of this matter and we are gathering information. We will make a further statement after we learn more about the matter.”