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

in National

Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2014, file photo, Amanda Knox prepares to leave the set following a television interview in New York. Knox is engaged to Colin Sutherland, a musician who recently moved to Seattle from New York, a person close to the Knox family confirmed for The Associated Press. Knox’s murder conviction in the 2007 stabbing of her roommate has been reinstated by an Italian court, but the former college exchange student maintains her innocence and vows she won’t willingly go back to Italy. Both Knox and Sutherland are 27. No wedding date had been set.

Italy's highest court has overturned the murder conviction against Amanda Knox, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case.

in National

Time for Iran to make tough decisions in nuclear talks

In this March 26, 2015, photo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, leaves a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. officials at a hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland. U.S. and Iranian diplomats gather at a Baroque palace in Europe, a historic nuclear agreement within reach. Over Iraq’s deserts, their militaries fight a common foe. Leaders in Washington and Tehran, capitals once a million miles from each other in ideological terms, wrestle for the first time in decades with the notion of a rapprochement.

Six world powers and Iran move closer to a deal, but there are still major disagreements.

in Sports

This week’s top sports shots

AP564917773040_12

A look at some of the biggest plays and best photos in sports this week.

in Sports

This weekend’s sports schedule

playball

A look at some of this weekend's biggest sporting events.

in National

Making headlines this week

AP193442892434_0

A look at some of the week's biggest headlines and the stories you may have missed.