HAYWARD -- A Fremont man was convicted Friday of first-degree murder for the brutal stabbing death of a popular Newark high school football player nearly three years ago, a prosecutor said Friday afternoon.

Daniel Howard, 31, of Fremont, was convicted of killing 17-year-old Justice Afoa in December 2010, said Prosecutor Eamon O'Connor.

Prosecutors last December also charged Daniela Guzman, 19, and her stepbrother, Rafael Tovar, 32, both of Newark, with Afoa's murder, as well as conspiracy to commit murder and committing a crime to benefit a gang. They are awaiting trial.

A fourth person, Anthony Bernal, 23, was arrested in December on suspicion of assaulting Afoa and a friend at an October 2010 house party; prosecutors said that the murder of Afoa was retaliation for that fight, which also involved Tovar. Bernal is scheduled to appear for arraignment next week.

Prosecutors said on Dec. 15, 2010, Tovar and Howard hid behind a wall on Cedar Boulevard at Birch Street, about a quarter-mile from Newark Memorial High School, waited for Afoa to walk by, then jumped out and confronted him. Afoa ran, but Tovar caught up and stabbed him five times with a kitchen knife. Howard also reportedly stabbed Afoa at least five times with an unidentified weapon.

Afoa's close friend and Newark football teammate, Osana Futi, was himself stabbed to death in April 2012, about 16 months after Afoa was killed. On Friday, a judge sentenced a 19-year-old alleged Fremont gang member, Abraham Hade, to 16 years to life in prison for that crime, three months after Hade was convicted of second-degree murder.

Howard was already in custody on charges he tried to hang his pregnant girlfriend, Alma Rosalez, from a tree at a Fremont home in the 41500 block of Beatrice Street on Nov. 25, 2012.

The two cases were combined. For the attack on Rosalez, Howard was convicted of attempted murder, premeditated attempted murder of a fetus, kidnapping and criminal terrorist threats, O'Connor said. His sentencing is scheduled for June 27 at the Hayward Hall of Justice.

Reach Kristin J. Bender at kbender@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her on Twitter.com/kjbender.