Former Illini Josh Brent gets 10 years’ probation

By Mitch Mitchell

Former Illini and Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent was sentenced today to 10 years of probation and assessed a $10,000 fine for intoxication manslaughter in the death of his friend and teammate Jerry Brown in a fiery one-car wreck in Irving in 2012.

Brent played with Illinois from 2007-09.

The maximum sentence was 20 years in prison. Brent also will spend 180 days in jail as part of the sentence.

As he pronounced sentence, Dallas District Judge Robert Burns told Brent he was a disappointment to Dallas and to the Dallas Cowboys.

Prosecutor Heath Harris told the ex-player he was tired of seeing mothers and fathers cry for their lost children, and warned others about drinking and driving: “We will come after you.”

Defense lawyers had, in part, blamed Brent’s actions on a difficult upbringing.

After the sentencing, his mother, LaTosha Brent said, “I was a kid raising a kid. Josh had to grow up fast and be independent. Josh never got a chance to be a kid.”

Defense lawyer Kevin Brooks said after sentencing that Brent, still grieving the death of his friend, had not processed what happened in the courtroom Friday.

Brown was killed after Brent lost control of his Mercedes on a Texas 114 service road in Irving on Dec. 8. The car rolled and caught fire.

They were on their way home from a Dallas nightclub about 2:20 a.m. after partying with other Cowboys.

Brent was driving as fast as 110 mph, prosecutors said, and his blood-alcohol content was 0.18, more than twice the legal limit for driving in Texas.

Brent retired from football last year and is working in a warehouse packing boxes, his uncle, Roland Brent, testified Thursday.