Sentencing starts for former Cowboy Brent for drunk driving death

by Reuters
Thursday, 23 January 2014 19:42 GMT

By Lisa Maria Garza

DALLAS, Jan 23 (Reuters) - A Dallas jury heard testimony on Thursday in sentencing for former Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent, convicted a day earlier of intoxication manslaughter, who faces up to 20 years in jail for killing a teammate while driving drunk.

Prosecutors rested after calling five witnesses including the crash scene investigator, a jail official who said Brent tested positive for marijuana while on bond and an Illinois state trooper who arrested Brent for drunk driving in 2009 when he played football for the University of Illinois.

The defense plans to call the mother of the victim, Stacey Jackson, who has indicated that she will ask the jury for leniency for Brent.

After a night of drinking at a private club in December 2012, Brent was driving his Mercedes at 110 mph (177 kph) when it slammed into a curb on a state highway, flipping the car, which caught on fire, and killing Jerry Brown Jr, then 25.

Brent's blood alcohol level was 0.189 at the time, more than double the legal limit in Texas, according to police documents.

LaTasha Brent, Josh Brent's mother, wept as her brother Roland Brent told the court about Josh's childhood, bouncing between friend's homes while his mother was in an abusive relationship.

The week after Brown's death, Roland Brent said Josh was so distraught that he did not want to leave him alone.

"It was hard seeing him that way. It was just the guilt, I guess. He was very emotionally down," Roland Brent said.

Prosecutors reminded the court that Josh Brent was sitting on the sidelines for the first half of the Cowboy's home game a little over a week after Brown's death.

Brent was put on leave from the Cowboys after the accident and retired in July.

Without his Cowboys salary, Brent had been working in a Dallas warehouse, packing boxes. Brent was paid $630,000 for the final year of his NFL contract before his retirement. (Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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