Toxicology Expert Witness Testifies in the Manslaughter Trial of Former Dallas Cowboys Player Josh Brent
Written by: Inna Kraner
A toxicology expert witness provided testimony that bolstered the prosecution’s argument that former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent, 25, was intoxicated the night of the fiery car crash that killed Brent’s close friend and teammate Jerry Brown. Brown, 25, a linebacker, had just “made the Cowboy’s practice squad that season.”
Brent’s defense attorney, Deanna Grant, proclaims that his client “made a terrible mistake but was not intoxicated when he got behind the wheel.”
Toxicologist Justin Schwane testified that Brent’s blood alcohol level was above the legal limit. The expert witness tested three vials of Brent’s blood taken at the time of his arrest. He opined that “based on blood alcohol calculations for a person as large as the football player, Brent likely consumed 17 standard size drinks.” Brent is 6-feet-2 and weighs 320 pounds.
Grant attempted to discredit the testimony by suggesting that the vials may have been improperly stored, asking about Schwane’s credentials, testing equipment, additives used, and storage process. However, Schwane dismissed the idea that the results were unreliable. He stated that “the tests met industry standards, the vials were properly stored and the equipment is not contaminated.”
Police report document Brent’s blood alcohol level as 0.189, well above Texas’s legal limit of 0.08. “Brent told police he drank fewer than five [drinks].”
According to prosecutors, however, Brent consumed much more than just five drinks, as night club receipts reveal that he “purchased cocktails with several shots of liquor in them and three bottles of Champagne.”
Defense attorney George Milner protested the prosecution’s assertions that Brent was drunk driving. Milner argues that because of Brent’s large size, the “the amount of liquor Brent drank before getting behind the wheel was not enough to make him drunk. ” “Josh Brent is as big as a house,” Milner exclaimed in court.
The fatal car crash occurred on December 8, 2012. The two men had spent time at a Dallas club and prosecutors say that a drunken Brent was speeding at the wheel. Brent is charged with intoxication manslaughter and manslaughter. The testimony provided by the toxicology expert regarding Brent’s blood alcohol level will be critical in the jury’s determination of whether Brent was intoxicated at the time of the accident. If convicted, Brent could spend up to 20 years in jail.
Brent is currently in jail “after failing a second drug test in less than a month.“