Victim's mother testifies as jury debates sentence for Josh Brent

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

WFAA

Posted on January 24, 2014 at 8:57 AM

The jury in former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent's intoxication manslaughter trial is now trying to determine if he should spend time in prison or walk out of the courtroom with probation.

There was emotional testimony Thursday from the victim’s mother, Stacey Jackson, who said she forgives Josh Brent and thinks of him as a son.

Prosecutors tried to show Brent as a habitual offender who deserves prison time. Brent was convicted of intoxication manslaughter Wednesday afternoon.

Jackson cried as Defense Attorney Kevin Brooks showed her a picture of a smiling Jerry Brown, the victim. "That’s my son," she said.

She testified she has forgives Brent, saying "he is still responsible, but we all make mistakes, all have to be forgiven, and go on with life."

Prosecutor Heath Harris showed jurors a picture of Brown’s daughter, Maya -- a child he never met. He died just before she was born.

Jackson testified under cross examination that Brown was looking forward to being a father and would have made a good one.

“You think of Brent as a son?" Harris asked.

"Yes," Jackson responded.

"You understand why we don’t let mother’s pick a sentence?"

"Yes,” she said.

Defense attorneys also called Brent’s uncle to talk about Brent growing up basically without a mother or father in a rough environment.

Prosecutors called Illinois Trooper Monica Strandberg to talk about Brent’s prior DWI. She testified she pulled him over for speeding in December 2009.

When she asked him where he had been, he told her he had been at a club partying with friends.

”He said he had a few drinks -- some mixed drinks and some shots,” Strandberg said.

He had a blood-alcohol content of 0.11 and was driving without a license at the time of the Illinois arrest. He was convicted of driving while intoxicated.

The prosecution also called witnesses to testify Brent tested positive for marijuana three times while on bond waiting for this trial.

Jackson left the courtroom in tears, and so did some members of the jury.

In closing arguments, the defense told jurors Brent is already in prison and will have to live with this the rest of his life, so he deserves probation.

“This case isn’t just about Josh Brent and Jerry Brown," the prosecution said. "It’s about sending a message against drinking and driving. Brent is a repeat offender who continues to violate our traffic laws.”

Jurors began deliberating at 3:30 p.m. and wrapped up for Thursday around 4:30 p.m. They will reconvene Friday at 9 a.m.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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