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Teen charged with trying to scare witnesses in death of UConn player

Jasper Howard, 20, was a cornerback for the University of Connecticut Huskies.
Jasper Howard, 20, was a cornerback for the University of Connecticut Huskies.
  • Christopher Mutchler, 18, posted threats on Internet, police say
  • Police still seek information in October 18 slaying of UConn cornerback Jasper Howard
  • Police have not linked Mutchler to the three suspects charged in the killing
  • Police say Mutchler's threats were empty, but prevented witnesses from coming forward

(CNN) -- A teenager was charged Thursday with posting threatening messages online to scare potential witnesses in the stabbing death of a University of Connecticut football player, police said.

Christopher Mutchler, 18, of Wethersfield, Connecticut, was charged with five counts, including hindering prosecution, threatening and an act of terrorism, UConn police and Connecticut State Police said in a joint news release.

Police did not link Mutchler to three others arrested in connection with the October 18 slaying of UConn cornerback Jasper Howard. Mutchler was released on a $15,000 bond, police said.

Police accused Mutchler of writing "two separate Internet postings that were threatening in nature and appeared to be directed at witnesses that either had or would provide information in conjunction with the investigation." One posting appeared on an ESPNU sports network blog on news related to Howard's death, police said.

The second posting appeared in the "RIP Jasper Howard" group on the social-networking site Facebook. There are more than 13,000 members of the Facebook site dedicated to the player, according to Facebook.

While "police had reason to believe that the postings were instilling fear and preventing witnesses from coming forward," according to the release, police determined the postings were "empty threats."

Police did not elaborate on the content of the messages or possible motives for the postings.

Police are still investigating Howard's death and urge anyone with information to contact the UConn Police.

Howard was stabbed in the abdomen in a fight after a student dance on the school's campus in Storrs, authorities said. He died at a hospital in Hartford.

On Tuesday, John Lomax III, 21, was charged with murder in connection with Howard's death. He also faces a charge of conspiracy to commit assault, police said. Hakim Muhammad, 20, faces a felony charge of conspiracy to commit assault and Jamal Todd, 21, was charged with a felony count of falsely reporting an incident and a misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment. Todd pulled a fire alarm that preceded the fight, police said.