On Feb. 6, the former assistant coach of the Wake Forest men’s basketball team, Jamill Jones, was found guilty of assault for fatally punching a man.
As reported by the Winston-Salem Journal, Jones was convicted of a misdemeanor by a Queens criminal court jury. Jones faces up to one year in prison for a punch that led to the death of 35-year-old Sandor Szabo in August 2018. The sentencing will be held next month.
The New York Post reported that Jones showed no emotion when the verdict was reported by the jury.
At the same time, Szabo’s friends and family, who were present in the courtroom, consoled one another as they learned the results.
“I am so relieved it’s over,” said Donna Kent, Szabo’s mother, to the New York Post. “I’m ready to sleep and move on. This has been my life for 18 months.”
Jones was charged with third-degree assault, and pleaded not guilty on Aug. 10, 2018. The New York City medical examiner ruled Szabo’s death a homicide, citing “blunt impact injury of head with brain injury” as his cause of death.
In April 2018, The Charlotte Observer reported that the attorneys of Kent argued to the Queens County District Attorney’s office that Jones should be charged with criminally negligent homicide. This was ultimately not pursued by the office, as Jones was only convicted of the original charge.
According to a press release from the Queens District Attorney’s office, Szabo, who may have been intoxicated, was knocking on car windows searching for his Uber driver on Aug. 5, 2018. He appeared to have knocked on and shattered the rear window of Jones’s car, in which he was sitting at the time. Jones left his vehicle, punched Szabo and then drove away. Szabo, whose head hit the concrete, was taken to the hospital and “his injuries included a laceration to his chin, a skull fracture and other traumatic brain injuries.” He died in the hospital on Aug. 7, 2018.
“The defendant could have driven away from the scene or call[ed] 911. Instead, he retaliated by getting out of his car and punching the victim,” said Melinda Katz, Queen’s district attorney Melinda Katz in a press release. “This was a death that could have been avoided, sparing the victim’s family the loss of a loved one.”
Jones resigned from his position in the university’s basketball program on April 13, 2018, after being placed on leave in early August 2018. Originally from Kernersville, North Carolina, Jones had joined the coaching team in May 2017.