DALLAS (AP) — Former Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent was convicted of intoxication manslaughter Wednesday for a fiery wreck that killed his teammate and close friend, Jerry Brown.
He faces up to 20 years in prison for a December 2012 wreck after a night of partying with fellow Cowboys players. He could also get probation.
Jurors took about nine hours over two days to convict Brent, who was led from the courtroom in handcuffs as family members sitting in the front row of the gallery sobbed.
Among those sitting with Brent's family was Stacey Jackson, Brown's mother. Jackson did not respond to questions as she left the courtroom Wednesday with Brent's family, but she has said in interviews that she's forgiven Brent and could testify in support of a lighter sentence for him when that phase of the trial begins Thursday.
Attorneys from both sides remain under a gag order that prevented them from commenting after the proceedings.
Prosecutors say Brent, a defensive tackle, was drunk when he crashed his Mercedes on a suburban Dallas highway in December 2012, killing Brown, a linebacker on the Cowboys practice squad who had also been Brent's teammate at the University of Illinois. Officers who arrived on scene saw Brent trying to pull Brown's body from the wreckage.
Police say Brent's blood alcohol level was tested shortly after the crash at 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal limit for drivers in Texas. Prosecutors last week argued that the burly, 320-pound defensive tackle had as many as 17 drinks the night of the crash.
Brent's attorneys argued the blood tests used by police were faulty and that Brent could not have drank nearly that much. Attorney George Milner said his client was "guilty of being stupid behind the wheel of a car," not drinking beforehand.
Brent retired from the NFL last year, but his ties to the Cowboys were prominent at trial. Two current players, Barry Church and Danny McCray, testified about hanging out with Brent and Brown, first playing video games, then having dinner and going to Privae, a Dallas nightclub.
Sean Lee, a Cowboys linebacker, attended part of the trial to show support for Brent, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said this week that he was closely watching for a verdict.
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