DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent left the Dallas courtroom in cuffs Wednesday after a jury found him guilty of intoxication manslaughter.
Prosecutors argued Brent was driving 110 mph, with a blood alcohol level of .189, when he flipped his car, killing his passenger and teammate Jerry Brown Jr.
Thursday, Brent will be back in court to begin his punishment phase that will determine how the 25-year-old former football player could spend his next 20 years.
Brent faces probation to 20 years in jail.
Dallas attorney Pete Schulte has been closely watching the trial.
He said, “I think [the defense] will have an uphill battle in front of this jury to try to get probation.”
Schulte said the key for the defense now could be Brown’s family.
Brown’s mother is expected to testify for Brent during sentencing. She has publicly said she forgives her son’s former teammate.
Schulte said he also fully expects the defense to argue Brent can use his position as a former Cowboy to go spread the word about the dangers of drinking and driving as a reason to give him probation.
However, so far the jury has shown no signs of being star struck.
The fact the jury came back not just with a guilty intoxication manslaughter verdict but a guilty verdict with a deadly weapon, Schulte said, doesn’t bode well for Brent.
That distinction with a deadly weapon means if Brent is sentence to jail time he will have to serve at least half of time before he’s eligible for parole. Without the deadly weapon distraction, he would have been eligible for parole after serving just a quarter of the sentence
Schulte said, “The prosecution is not looking at what Jerry Brown’s family wants. They are looking at what’s the message that we send to everyone else that gets behind the wheel after drinking.”
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