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Ex Dallas Cowboys' Brent guilty of intoxication manslaughter

Source: Reuters - Wed, 22 Jan 2014 23:11 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Adds details from court, quotes, background)

By Lisa Maria Garza

DALLAS, Jan 22 (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 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 (177 kph) 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 and retired in July 2013. (Reporting by Lisa Maria Garza; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Gunna Dickson)

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