DALLAS (AP) — Jurors on Tuesday began deliberating the intoxication manslaughter case against former Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent, who is accused of drunkenly crashing his car during a night out and killing his passenger, who was a close friend and teammate.
The jury got the case after lawyers delivered their closing arguments to a packed courtroom. Among those watching were Stacey Jackson, whose son Jerry Brown was killed in the December 2012 wreck, and Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee. Jackson has publicly forgiven Brent, whose sentence could range from probation to 20 years in prison if he is convicted.
Brent and Brown, a linebacker on the Cowboys’ practice squad who also played with Brent at the University of Illinois, were headed home from a nightclub where they had been partying with fellow Cowboys when Brent lost control of his Mercedes, causing a fiery accident. Officers who arrived on scene said Brent was seen trying to pull Brown’s body from the wreckage.
Prosecutors say Brent was driving as fast as 110 mph at the time of the crash and that blood tests showed his blood alcohol content was 0.18 percent, which is more than twice Texas’ legal limit to drive of 0.08 percent. Prosecutors allege that the burly, 320-pound defensive tackle had as many as 17 drinks on the night of the crash.
Brent’s attorneys contend that the blood tests used by police were faulty and that Brent couldn’t have drunk nearly that much alcohol.
Prosecutors Jason Hermus and Heath Harris called on the jury Tuesday to send a message about the serious nature of Brent’s alleged crime, saying drunken drivers put the public in danger.
Hermus stood in front of Brent, hit the table and shouted: “They shouldn’t be driving, no exceptions, no excuses!”
Hermus replayed police dash cam video of Brent losing his balance and stumbling as he tried to walk in a straight line. He referenced footage of Brent telling an Irving police officer that he was “buzzed” and nightclub security video that appears to show Brent holding up two bottles of Champagne.