Josh Brent, the former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman on trial for manslaughter in the death of a teammate in a December 2012 car crash, was driving twice the speed limit before the wreck, a prosecutor told a jury.
Brent is accused of being drunk when the vehicle he was driving struck a curb and rolled over, killing Jerry Brown. While Brent was originally charged with intoxication manslaughter, prosecutors in October obtained an indictment on an additional manslaughter charge. He faces as long as 20 years in prison if convicted.
“He was so impaired he was driving double the speed limit, in excess of 100 miles per hour,” Dallas County First Assistant District Attorney Heath Harris told the jury of 10 women and two men in his opening statement today in Dallas.
Brent, who played college football at the University of Illinois, was in his third season in the National Football League when the accident occurred. Brown, who also attended Illinois, joined the Cowboys’ practice squad in 2012 and had yet to appear on the active roster.
When questioned after the accident, Brent denied he had been drinking, the prosecutor said. A test showed more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his bloodstream, according to Harris.
Brent maintains he’s not guilty of manslaughter, defense attorney George Milner told Judge Robert Burns after the charges were read today in court.
“He is guilty of being stupid behind the wheel of a car,” Milner said. “He is guilty of driving too fast. But what we are going to do is go back and ask, ‘Does the evidence prove beyond a reasonable doubt he was intoxicated?’”
Milner told the jury that not a single image recorded at the club where Brent and Brown met on the night of the accident shows his client holding a drink.
While Brent ordered three bottles of champagne, they were consumed by a wide group of people, according to Milner. His client wasn’t intoxicated, the lawyer said.
“He was driving too fast, but that is not what he is accused of,” Milner said. “I am going to ask you to find him not guilty because he is not guilty.”
The case is State of Texas v. Joshua Price-Brent, F1235545 and F1300607, Criminal District Court of Dallas County, Texas (Dallas).