Although Josh Brent, former Dallas Cowboy football player, could have received up to 20 years in prison for the December 2012 crash that killed his friend and teammate Jerry Brown, he was instead sentenced to ten years probation. The jury reached their guilty verdict on Wednesday and sentenced Josh Brent on Friday.
Josh Brent and Jerry Brown were involved in a crash on a suburban Dallas highway that killed Brown, who was a passenger in Brents car. At the time of the sentencing, Josh Brents reaction was described as somber, and observers noted he closed his eyes when the sentence was read.
The former defensive tackles defense attorney issued a statement, Im really kind of overwhelmed with the results, Brooks said. Its kind of what weve been fighting for from Day 1. Im happy for Josh. Josh is still sad and grieving and thats something hes going to carry with him the rest of his life.
How did the families react?
Josh Brents family were all in the courtroom and cried and hugged as the verdict was read. His mother, LaTasha Brent, issued a statement of support after the verdict. Browns mother, Stacey Jackson was not at the courtroom at the time the verdict was announced, but all through the trial she has continually supported Josh Brent.
In fact, Stacey Jackson issued a statement during the trial where she said she forgave Josh Brent and noted that although he is responsible for the death of her son she was not going to hold a grudge against him, noting we all make mistakes. The lead prosecutor for the case Heath Harris said her testimony probably helped Brent get probation.
Harris noted that when the jury hears the victims family say they forgive the defendant it almost always has an impact on the punishment phase of a trial. The prosecution, however, continued to push for prison time for Brent. Other groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving also voiced outrage after the sentencing. According to MADD, sentences like this one send a message that it is okay for some drivers to drink and drive.
Josh Brent and Jerry Brown were close friends
Josh Brent and Jerry Brown had been friends since they played football together at the University of Illinois. The wreck occurred in December after a night of drinking and partying. Josh Brent was driving his Mercedes when it crashed. Josh Brent attempted to pull Browns body from the wreckage. Its estimated that Josh Brent may have consumed up to 17 drinks prior to the crash. His BAC or blood alcohol level was twice that of the legal limit at 0.18%.
Unfortunately, this was not the first time Josh Brent has been in trouble with the law. He also has a drunk driving conviction from 2009 in the state of Illinois, one more reason the state was arguing for jail time.
Judge Robert Burns scolded Brent after reading the verdict, saying his actions bring shame to the city of Dallas.