News

Ex-Cowboy Brent faces trial in teammate’s death

Ex-Cowboy Brent faces trial in teammate’s death

ON TRIAL: Former Dallas Cowboys' Josh Brent stands in court as potential jurors are directed into Judge Robert Burns', rear, courtroom in Dallas. Brent’s trial is expected to start Monday on allegations that he was driving drunk and caused the death of his friend, college teammate and former Dallas practice squad player Jerry Brown in a December 2012 crash. Photo: Associated Press

By Lisa Maria Garza

DALLAS (Reuters) – The intoxication manslaughter trial of former Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent started on Monday with prosecutors saying the defensive tackle was operating with reckless abandon when he crashed his car in 2012, killing his teammate, Jerry Brown Jr.

Brent’s lawyers said their client had made a terrible mistake but was not intoxicated when he got behind the wheel.

Brent, 25, is accused of being drunk when the Mercedes he was driving at a high speed flipped over and then caught fire on a state highway on Dec. 8, 2012.

When police arrived, they found Brent dragging Brown, 25, out of the burning car, which was resting on its roof in the middle of the road.

Brown, who had been riding in the passenger seat, was pronounced dead at a Dallas hospital a short time later.

“He was so intoxicated, he did not appreciate the danger of traveling at that high rate of speed when he exited (the highway),” Dallas County prosecutor Heath Harris told the jury.

A police affidavit stated that an officer had smelled alcohol on Brent’s breath and found an unopened bottle of cognac inside the vehicle. Brent initially refused a blood sobriety test but was forced to comply after Brown’s death.

Brent’s blood alcohol level was 0.189, according to police documents. The legal limit in Texas is 0.08.

Defense lawyer George Milner told the court that the amount of liquor Brent drank before getting behind the wheel was not enough to make him drunk because of his large stature. Brent’s playing weight was 320 pounds.

“Josh Brent is as big as a house,” Milner said. “He’s guilty of being stupid behind the wheel of a car. He is guilty of driving too fast. We’re not going to dispute that.”

The trial at a courtroom in Dallas County is expected to take as long as two weeks.

If convicted, Brent faces two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Brent was put on leave from the Cowboys after the accident and retired in July, saying he had other priorities in his life more important than football.

“I am devastated and filled with grief,” Brent said in a statement shortly after the crash. “I will live with this horrific and tragic loss every day for the rest of my life.”

(Reporting by Lisa Maria Garza; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Scott Malone and Lisa Von Ahn)

Recent Headlines

2 hours ago in National

Wall Street tumbles

Fresh
stocks

Wall Street was off more than 1 percent on Thursday, pushing the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average down 10 percent for the year, as investors jettisoned stocks and scurried toward safer shores.

2 hours ago in Sports, World

U.S. to hire disease experts ahead of Rio Games

Fresh
zikaolympics

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is recruiting two infectious disease experts to advise members of the Rio 2016 team who are concerned about the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil.

3 hours ago in Lifestyle

More Americans turning to Internet to play Cupid

tinderreuters

Just in time for Valentine's Day, a survey shows that more Americans are looking for love through online dating, with more than four times as many young adults using mobile apps than in 2013.

6 hours ago in Sports

Fantasy sports companies defend embattled industry

fantasysports

Daily fantasy sports companies say their industry remains viable despite a rocky start to 2016.

6 hours ago in National

Congress likely to give final OK to local Internet tax ban

cyber

Congress is a step away from sending to President Barack Obama a bipartisan compromise that would permanently keep state and local governments from taxing access to the Internet.