Wake Forest University assistant basketball coach placed on leave; punch death ruled homicide

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Friday, August 10, 2018
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Jamill Jones has been placed on leave by Wake Forest University.

WINSTON-SALEM, NC (WTVD) -- Wake Forest University has placed assistant men's basketball coach Jamill Jones on leave.

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The move comes after Jones' arrest in New York following a punch on a New York street that led to a former Raleigh resident's death.

Wake Forest Athletics Director Ron Wellman said he spoke with the 35-year-old Jones on Friday and he agreed "that the decision is appropriate at this time given the circumstances."

Jones turned himself in to police Thursday afternoon in New York and was charged with third-degree assault. He was released on his own recognizance.

Police said he punched out 35-year-old Sandor Szabo of Boca Raton, Florida last weekend in Long Island City after Szabo was apparently knocking on a car window because he thought it was his Uber.

Police said Jones got out of his vehicle and punched Szabo. He fell to the ground, hit his head and died at a hospital. Jones sped off, police said.


The medical examiner has ruled Szabo's cause of death as blunt impact injury of the head with brain injury. His death has been ruled a homicide.

In a statement, Wake Forest University expressed "heartfelt condolences to Sandor Szabo's family and friends following his tragic death."

Jones, who lives in Kernersville, was ordered to return to court on October 2.

Szabo, who was also 35, was a digital marking guru at What If Media. The firm said it was heartbroken about his death.

Szabo, who still has relatives in Raleigh, graduated from DeVry University and volunteered for Making Magic Alliance -- a Raleigh based non-profit providing summer camp scholarships to underprivileged children.e Community College in Nebraska.


Jones' family issued a release regarding what it called the "accidental death" and strongly supported the embattled coach.

In the statement, the family wrote, in part:

"We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the Szabo family for the loss of their son. ... It is our sincere hope that this matter not be tried in the court of public opinion. The Jones family stands by Jamill, and his legal right to be presumed innocent in what is, ultimately, a tragic incident.

"Jamill Jones is a wonderful son and father -- a good-hearted man. ... as the father of two young children, their safety and wellbeing is of the utmost importance to him at all times. As a coach, Jamill safely shepherds young men to be respectful contributors to society while competing at the highest levels of collegiate sports."

The family also asked that "out of respect for the Szabo family and the integrity of the ongoing investigation, the Jones family requests privacy moving forward in this matter. We will not issue any additional statements at the time. Thank you."


Szabo's parents said they don't accept the coach's condolences.

The Associated Press said Bob and Donna Kent told the "Today" show that Jones should have tried to save their son's life after punching him early Sunday.

Jones expressed his condolences through his attorney.

Donna Kent said Jones' condolences "are a little bit too late."

WABC and The Associated Press contributed to this report.