Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Former Dallas Cowboys football player Josh Brent was found guilty of killing his teammate in a drunk driving crash that prosecutors said occurred after he sped at more than 100 miles an hour in his Mercedes.
Brent was convicted of intoxication manslaughter today by a jury in Dallas County state court in Texas following the December 2012 rollover crash that killed teammate Jerry Brown. He denied wrongdoing.
The jury will begin the penalty phase of the proceeding tomorrow, Judge Robert Burns said after the verdict. In Texas, the punishment phase is conducted like a second trial in which both sides present witnesses and argue to the jury. Brent faces as long as 20 years in prison.
The jury today also ruled that the car Brent was driving should be considered a deadly weapon. That will affect how much of his sentence he will be required to serve if he receives a prison term, according to attorneys familiar with the law.
Prosecutor Jason Hermus told the jurors, who began deliberating yesterday, that tests showed twice the legal amount of alcohol in Brent’s bloodstream, indicating he had the equivalent of at least 17 drinks the night of the accident. The former Cowboys defensive lineman failed a sobriety test, he said.
Videotape showed Brent drinking from a bottle at a club before the crash, another prosecutor, Heath Harris, told jurors.
“He was intoxicated,” Harris said.
Brent’s lawyer, George Milner, asked jurors to listen to the 911 call his client made after the crash and ask themselves why he didn’t slur his speech or give any indications he was drunk.
Milner declined to comment on the verdict.
Brent, who played college football at the University of Illinois, was in his third season in the National Football League when the crash occurred. Brent, 25, had 31 tackles, 1 1/2 sacks and one forced fumble in the 39 games he played, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.
Brown, who also attended Illinois, joined the Cowboys’ practice squad in 2012 and had yet to appear on the active roster.
“We understand the very serious nature of this situation and express our concerns for all of the families and individuals that have been affected by the tragedy of Jerry Brown’s death,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in an e-mailed statement.
In November, ex-Cowboys receiver Sam Hurd, who also played for the Chicago Bears, was sentenced in federal court in Dallas to 15 years in prison for conspiring to traffic in marijuana and cocaine.
Another former Cowboy, Byron Frisch, faces charges in federal court in San Diego with three other people over an alleged $50 million insurance fraud scheme.
The case is State of Texas v. Joshua Price-Brent, Criminal District Court of Dallas County, Texas (Dallas).
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