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Ex-Cowboys Brent guilty in fatal crash

Ex-Cowboys Brent guilty in fatal crash

GUILTY: The jury deliberated about 11 hours before reaching a verdict, and will reconvene on Thursday for sentencing. Brent faces up to 20 years in prison. Photo: Associated Press

By Lisa Maria Garza

DALLAS (Reuters) – A Texas jury found former Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent guilty on Wednesday of intoxication manslaughter for drinking heavily at a club, getting behind the wheel and causing a fiery car crash that killed teammate Jerry Brown Jr. in December 2012.

The jury deliberated about 11 hours before reaching a verdict, and will reconvene on Thursday for sentencing. Brent faces up to 20 years in prison.

The judge revoked Brent’s bond and ordered the county sheriff’s office to take him into custody.

Brent, 25, remained silent and looked at the floor after the verdict was read. Members of his family wept as he was led out of the court.

Lawyers were not allowed to speak to media about the verdict and the judge did not offer any comment on the jury’s decision.

Brent’s lawyers had previously argued that their client had been reckless but was not drunk.

In the week-long trial, jurors saw video from the Dallas area club that showed Brent dancing and swigging from bottles of champagne.

They also saw a dashboard camera video from a police car that showed him failing a series of field sobriety checks.

The jury requested a laptop to review the video from the club before stating the verdict.

Brent was driving his Mercedes at 110 mph when he slammed into a curb on a state highway, flipping the car, which caught on fire, and killed Brown, then 25.

Brent’s blood alcohol level was 0.189 at the time of the incident, according to police documents. The legal limit in Texas is 0.08.

Brown’s mother hugged Brent to show her support on Tuesday, when the jury left the court to begin deliberations.

Brent was put on leave from the Cowboys after the accident. Although he retired from the National Football League in July, his ties to the Cowboys were prominent throughout the trial.

Current Cowboys safety Barry Church and defensive back Danny McCray testified to drinking with Brent at the club before the crash but said they did not know how much alcohol he consumed.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement after the verdict that the team continues to support Brent.

“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,” Jones said.

(Reporting by Lisa Maria Garza; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Gunna Dickson and Eric Walsh)

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