DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Thursday morning marked the beginning of testimony for the punishment phase of Josh Brent’s intoxication manslaughter trial.
Wednesday afternoon, the jury found Brent guilty of driving intoxicated the night of December 8, 2012.
They concluded Brent’s Blood Alcohol Content to be .189 – more than twice the legal limit—when he crashed, killing his friend and teammate Jerry Brown.
The former Dallas Cowboy defensive player faces probation, or up to 20 years in prison.
The same jury that convicted Brent will now decide how much time he could serve behind bars.
In this phase of the trial, prosecutors presented the past bad acts Brent committed, while defense attorneys brought forth character witnesses.
Before the jury began to hear testimony, Judge Robert D. Burns, III ruled that the prosecutor’s first witness could not mention certain aspects of Brent’s past record in her testimony.
In February, 2009, Brent was arrested in Urbana, Illinois, for driving while intoxicated.
The trooper who arrested him, Monica Strandberg, charged him with aggravated DWI. The charge was an aggravated felony because Brent was driving with a suspended license.
Brent’s Illinois driver’s license was suspended because he failed to appear in court in 2007 for a speeding violation.
The February 2009 charge ultimately resulted in a misdemeanor DWI conviction. Judge Burns agreed with the defense, and forbid the trooper from mentioning the words ‘felony’ or ‘aggravated’ in her testimony.
Trooper Monica Strandberg testified that she stopped Brent for speeding on February 21, 2009. She told the jury she smelled alcohol on Brent’s breath that night, and that his eyes appeared glassy. Strandberg also said that Brent failed the field sobriety test.
For the misdemeanor DWI conviction in Illinois, Brent served 30 days of a 60 day jail sentence.
The next witness was Leah Gamble, the Jail Diversion Programs manager for Dallas County. She testified that Brent violated his bond, when two random drug tests showed that marijuana was in Brent’s system.
Irving police officer James Fairbairn told the jury, when he investigated the crash on December 8, 2012, Brent didn’t have a Texas driver’s license.
Brent’s uncle, Roland Brent, took the stand and told the jury that Josh had a difficult upbringing. Brent told the jury his nephew had no father in his life, and a strained relationship with his mother. He said Josh was immature for his age.
Jerry Brown’s mother was the last witness to testify for the defense today.
His attorneys are hoping for probation. There are 34 people in Dallas County right now, on probation for the same crime. Four of them, like Brent, have prior DWI convictions.
The defense brought forth witnesses to testify to the jury that the former Cowboy has matured in the last 13 months, going to church and working in a Dallas Cowboys merchandise warehouse.
Prosecutors argued Brent should serve time. They tried to make the case for inadequate supervision within the county probation program which has 55,000 people currently on probation for various offenses.
The judge will ultimately set the terms if Brown receives probation, deciding if he can be excused for Cowboys games (if he is reinstated with the team).
Prosecutors then showed a picture of Brown’s one year old daughter, Maya, who was born after Brown died.
But when Brown’s mother took the witness stand, she had the entire courtroom’s attention. Former Cowboy Leon Lett was in the gallery.
Jackson painted a picture of her son and Brent’s strong friendship. She told how she’s still holding him responsible, but Jackson said, to her, people make mistakes, learn lessons, and go on living life. That’s what she told the jury she wants for Brent, and said that’s what Jerry Brown would have wanted too.
As Jackson spoke, many in the courtroom wept, including several people on the jury.
Prosecutors concluded by saying no other mother should go through what Brown’s mother is experiencing, asking the jury to sentence Brent to serve time.
The jury deliberated for an hour before wrapping for the day. They will return Friday morning at 9 a.m.
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