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Monday, May 27, 2024 | Back issues
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NFL Star Jailed for Crash That Killed His Friend

DALLAS (CN) - An irked judge ordered a 180-day sentence for former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent on Friday after jurors declined to imprison him for the drunken car crash that killed his teammate and best friend.

Jerry Brown Jr., a member of the Cowboys practice squad, died on Dec. 8, 2012, after the car Brent was driving crashed, rolled over and caught fire. Irving police arrested Brent at the scene.

Prosecutors said Brent's blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. He had previously played with Brown at the University of Illinois.

A Dallas County jury deliberated for two days and could have sentenced Brent to up to 20 years in prison for intoxication manslaughter. In addition to handing down a sentence of 10 years probation, the jury ordered Brent to pay a $10,000 fine.

Unhappy with that sentence, District Judge Robert Burns III tacked on 180 days in jail - the maximum he was allowed to under law.

After reading the verdict, Burns was highly critical of Brent, telling him his "actions bring shame to the city of Dallas," WFAA reported.

"Sadly, Mr. Brent, you're not the first Dallas Cowboy to kill someone with a motor vehicle," Burns said. "But, I sure hope you're the last. And sadly, you're not the first Dallas Cowboy to be convicted of a felony in this past year's time, but I hope you're the last for a long time."

Burns told Brent he "chose the path of irresponsibility," citing an earlier DWI that was discussed during the two week-long trial.

"No driver's license, no insurance - you shouldn't have even been driving a car to begin with," Burns said. "Not to mention the fact that you're driving while intoxicated. You chugged a bunch of alcohol, weren't wearing your seat belt ... didn't make sure your passenger had a seat belt on."

Prosecutors had previously accused Brent of tampering with an alcohol-monitoring device while he was released on bond and awaiting trial.

They also tried to have his bond revoked before trial, relying on positive marijuana metabolite test results in May.

Stacy Jackson - Brown's mother - is credited with sparing Brent a long prison sentence. Shortly after her son's death, she publicly forgave Brent and repeated those sentiments when testifying on Brent's behalf during sentencing.

In October 2013, she sued the Dallas nightclub that purportedly served Brent alcohol before the deadly crash.

Brent faces up to an additional 10 years in jail if he violates the terms of his probation.

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