A Dallas County jury showed leniency to Josh Brent, a former Dallas Cowboy convicted of intoxication manslaughter in the death of teammate Jerry Brown. Brent received 10 years probation for his role in the deadly, drunken wreck. He will also have to pay a $10,000 fine.
Brent faced up to 20 years in prison. On top of probation, Judge Robert Burns tacked on 180 days in jail, which was the maximum he was allowed to assess.
The sentence was handed down January 24 — two days after the jury found Brent guilty for causing Brown's death on December 8, 2012. Brown was riding in Brent's Mercedes when he crashed the vehicle in Irving.
"You can't imagine the guilt Josh Brent is living with." — attorney George Milner III
Brent's recorded blood-alcohol content was nearly twice the legal limit, and he was reportedly traveling at around 110 miles per hour. Brown's blood-alcohol reading showed he was within an acceptable range to drive.
After posting a $100,000 bond, Brent had been allowed to remain out of jail as long as he abided by the conditions of his release, including wearing an ankle monitor, not using alcohol or drugs, and meeting regularly with a county officer.
His bond was briefly revoked due to a pair of failed drug tests, and 25-year-old Brent retired from the NFL in July 2013 to focus more fully on his case. Brent's attorney, George Milner III, successfully lobbied for Brent's release from jail pending the conclusion of his trial, and Milner pushed for probation instead of prison.
Speaking to the media after the verdict, Milner said Brent was punishing himself already. "You can't imagine the guilt Josh Brent is living with."
Meanwhile on Twitter, many expressed outrage for the light sentence. "180 days is insufficient jail time for killing someone with your drunkenness," local radio talk show host Mark Davis wrote. "Only Ethan Couch considers this severe."
Couch is a Fort Worth teen who was also sentenced to probation in a deadly drunk-driving accident. Both Couch and Brent were wealthy offenders with a history of drunk driving.
"Guilty until proven wealthy," one Twitter user quipped. Sports Illustrated's Peter King called the sentence "shamefully light."
Judge Robert Burns told Brent his actions "bring shame to the City of Dallas."
"Sadly, Mr. Brent, you're not the first Dallas Cowboy to have killed someone with a motor vehicle, but I sure hope that you're the last."