Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent avoids jail, ordered to wear second monitor

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by REBECCA LOPEZ & NOMAAN MERCHANT

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA & Associated Press

Posted on May 24, 2013 at 9:10 AM

Updated Friday, May 24 at 6:49 PM

During a bond hearing Friday morning, a judge ruled that Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent must now wear an alcohol-monitoring device that takes a picture as it takes a sample as to show where the nose tackle is at the time.

The ruling came after prosecutors asked Judge Robert Burns to issue a bench warrant for Brent after his alcohol-monitoring device allegedly detected the presence of alcohol and "possible environmental anomalies in his SCRAM reports" on several occasions.

Brent, 25, also missed two bond hearings, among other alleged violations.

The judge denied the prosecution's request to issue the warrant or raise Brent's bond and instead ordered increased alcohol monitoring. Burns ordered a second form of monitoring to take breath samples, and for Brent to provide a urine sample.

"I think we've unequivocally established the fact that the district attorney's office is treating Mr. Brent differently because of the helmet that he wears," said George Milner, Brent's defense attorney.  "There's no disputing that now."

Heath Harris, the Dallas County first assistant district attorney, disputed Milner's claims.

"This is a person who just got off probation at the time of Mr. Brown's death," Harris said. "So, are we taking this case seriously? Yea, absolutely we're taking this case seriously. This guy is a repeat alcohol offender that killed someone in our county."

Brent's ankle monitor was set off for alcohol four times in February and March, but both sides agreed Friday that those instances were most likely caused by the presence of alcohol in the air or near Brent -- not drinking. His attorneys said they didn't know how the alcohol positives occurred, but suggested in court that they could have been triggered by things as benign as mouthwash or hand sanitizer.

“People don't realize it but being in an alcohol-rich environment doesn't mean being in a bar," Milner said. "It means using hand sanitizer, washing your hands with certain soaps and lotions."

Brent sat silently throughout the nearly hour-long hearing, though at times he tapped Milner on the shoulder and whispered in his ear. He did not testify and declined to answer questions outside court.

The Cowboys player was charged with intoxication manslaughter in the death of friend and teammate Jerry Brown Jr., who died in a car crash on Dec. 8, 2012. Brent was behind the wheel at the time of the crash and had a blood-alcohol content of 0.189, more than twice the legal limit, according to Irving police.

A crash report released by suburban Dallas police says Brent was driving the night of the crash with a suspended driver's license from Illinois, where he pleaded guilty three years ago to a misdemeanor driving under the influence charge. Brent and Brown both played college football at the University of Illinois.

Brent, who is free on a $100,000 bond, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of intoxicated manslaughter, though he could also get probation.

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