DALLAS (AP) — Former Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent avoided prison Friday and instead was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation for a drunken car crash that killed his friend and teammate, Jerry Brown.
Brent was convicted Wednesday of intoxication manslaughter for the December 2012 crash on a suburban Dallas highway that killed Brown, who was a passenger in Brent’s car. Brent could have been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
Brent, who turns 26 next week, closed his eyes when the judge read the jury’s verdict. He remained in custody after the hearing.
One of his attorneys, Kevin Brooks, described the former defensive tackle as “somber.”
“I’m really kind of overwhelmed with the results,” Brooks said. “It’s kind of what we’ve been fighting for from Day 1. I’m happy for Josh. Josh is still sad and grieving and that’s something he’s going to carry with him the rest of his life.”
Brent’s family members of cried and hugged as the courtroom emptied after the hearing. His mother, LaTasha Brent, spoke briefly as she left the courthouse, saying she was there to support her son.
Brown’s mother, Stacey Jackson, wasn’t in the courtroom when the verdict was read. She publicly forgave Brent, and when asked during the sentencing proceedings if she holds him 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.”
Brent and Brown, a linebacker on the practice squad, also played together at the University of Illinois and were close friends. They were headed home from a night of partying with Dallas teammates when Brent lost control of his Mercedes and crashed. Officers who arrived on scene saw Brent trying to pull Brown’s body from the wreckage.
Blood tests pegged Brent’s blood alcohol content at 0.18 percent, which is more than twice the state’s legal limit to drive of 0.08 percent. Prosecutors told jurors that the burly, 320-pound lineman had as many as 17 drinks on the night of the crash.
“We never quarrel with a jury’s decision,” said lead prosecutor Heath Harris, who passionately urged the jury to send Brent to prison. “All we can hope and pray is that I believe the jury saw something salvageable in him … and he does get some help.”