Ex-Cowboy gets 180 in jail for drunk-driving death of St. Louis native

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by Associated Press

KMOV.com

Posted on January 24, 2014 at 1:44 PM

DALLAS -- Former Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent has been sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years' probation for the crash that killed his teammate Jerry Brown Jr.

 

Brent was found guilty Wednesday of intoxication manslaughter. He faced up to 20 years in prison.

The jury began deliberating Brent's sentence Friday. Brent and Brown played together at the University of Illinois and were good friends.

The two were driving home at the end of a night partying in December of 2012 when Brent lost control of his Mercedes and crashed on a suburban Dallas highway.

Police say Brent's blood-alcohol level was tested shortly after the crash at 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal limit for drivers in Texas. Prosecutors last week argued that the burly, 320-pound defensive tackle had as many as 17 drinks that night of the crash.

Brent's attorneys argued the blood tests used by police were faulty and that Brent could not have drank nearly that much. Attorney George Milner said his client was "guilty of being stupid behind the wheel of a car," not drinking beforehand.

Brent's attorneys pushed their case for probation Thursday, calling a Dallas County official who testified that the county currently has 34 intoxication manslaughter cases that resulted in probation.

Kevin Brooks, one of Brent's attorneys, said the one-time defensive tackle would be easy to monitor because of "who he is and who he was." Brent retired from football last year.

Brown's mother, Stacey Jackson, has also publicly forgiven Brent. When asked Thursday if she holds Brent responsible for her son's death, she said: "He's still responsible, but you can't go on in life holding a grudge. We all make mistakes."

Prosecutors pushed for prison time for Brent, who went to trial only weeks after another Texas intoxication manslaughter case sparked widespread public outrage. In that case, a defense expert argued that the defendant, a 17-year-old boy who caused a drunken crash that killed four people, deserved leniency because his parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility — a condition the expert termed "affluenza." The teen wasn't given prison time.

On Thursday, prosecutor Rebecca Dodds emphasized Brent's 2009 drunken driving arrest in Illinois to press the state's argument that he deserves prison time. In that case, he served 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge.

"Probation doesn't work for Josh Brent," prosecutor Rebecca Dodds told the jury during closing statements in the punishment phase.

Brent played in all 12 games for the Cowboys in 2012 before the crash. Brown made the practice squad that season.

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