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Dallas Cowboys Car Crash Tragedy
Aired December 10, 2012 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight, live, Dallas. Super Bowl dynasty, the Cowboys -- they play in the world famous $1.2 billion Cowboy Stadium, known as "America`s team." Bombshell tonight. Star defensive player Josh Brent speeding when he crashes his Mercedes into a curb, flipping the car 900 feet into the air, catching fire, killing his passenger, a Cowboy teammate, 25-year-old Jerry Brown, Jr., also his teammate at U of Illinois for three seasons.
In a stunning twist, the late night crash turns into felony manslaughter charges, cops alleging Brent boozing at a reportedly private members-only club just before the deadly crash.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty-five years old, he`s no longer with us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A member of the practice squad, Brown died in a car crash driven by a teammate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think about the bond?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it`s outrageous. It`s 16 times what the bond schedule says -- 16 times. There`s no asterisk on that felony bond schedule that says if he plays for the Dallas Cowboys, his bond is times what some other guy is. It`s outrageous and it`s offensive!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dallas football player Josh Brent...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... is charged with intoxication manslaughter in the death of his Dallas Cowboys teammate and roommate, Jerry Brown, Jr.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The vehicle actually did catch on fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police say Brent admitted to drinking at a club that evening and smelled of alcohol.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can`t get any tighter than those two. You simply can`t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us.
Bombshell tonight. Live to Dallas. Super Bowl dynasty, the Cowboys, they play in the world famous $1.2 billion Cowboy Stadium, known as "America`s team." Star defensive player Josh Brent speeding when he slams his Mercedes into a curb, flipping the car 900 feet into the air, catching it on fire, killing his passenger, Cowboy teammate 25-year-old Jerry Brown, Jr., also his roommate and teammate for three years at University, Illinois.
We are taking your calls. Straight out to L.Z. Granderson, senior writer with ESPN, CNN contributor. Thanks for being with us. What happened?
L.Z. GRANDERSON, ESPN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (via telephone): Oh, geez. You know, just NFL coaches`, NFL fans` worst nightmare. You know, two of their players are out drinking. They`re having a good time. You know, apparently, Brent was driving his 2007 Mercedes. They allegedly left this club, hit a curb about 2:00, 2:20 in the morning Saturday morning.
As you stated earlier, the car flew almost 1,000 feet into the air before tumbling over at least once and bursting into flames. And by the time the police arrived, they found Brent pulling out his teammate. You know, he`s physically or visibly intoxicated. He doesn`t take a blood test, but he does fail the field test, and you know, he`s later arrested. Just a horrible, horrible situation.
GRACE: L.Z., what was the bar? Where was he just before the crash?
GRANDERSON: Well, the name of the bar is Privae, I believe is the name of it. There was a comedian there, Shawn Wayans, the brother of, you know, Marlon (ph) Wayans, the whole famous Wayans family, was doing a stand-up there Friday night.
The club tweeted out that there were Cowboys there, and we know that Dallas television (ph) is (INAUDIBLE) Dallas radio stations are reporting that the two gentlemen in question were also there in attendance.
The timing of it is perplexing only (INAUDIBLE) that we know that Dallas had to get on a plane and fly for a game against Cincinnati Saturday. We know that the accident was about 2:30 in the morning, Saturday morning. So there`s a very good chance that part of the reason why he was going at such a fast rate was because they were out too late and didn`t want to miss (INAUDIBLE) get home in time so they wouldn`t miss their flight to play in the game.
That`s the wrinkle in the story that`s kind of perplexing because it just shows further poor decision-making by Brent.
GRACE: OK, let me get this straight. Everybody, with me is L.Z. Granderson. He`s a senior writer at ESPN, a CNN contributor, joining us.
A fiery crash leaves one Dallas Cowboy dead. Behind the wheel, another Cowboy. And it`s my understanding, L.Z., this is not his first DUI.
GRANDERSON: No, it is not, unfortunately. He pleaded guilty back in 2009 while he was a student at the University of Illinois. He didn`t do any jail time. He had a fine. He had to do community service. But you know, this is not his first time having this particular issue.
GRACE: You know, I like the way you say that. You`re kind of putting perfume on the pig there, L.Z., the first time he`s "had this issue." You mean driving drunk, bottom line.
GRANDERSON: Yes. Bottom line.
GRACE: No nice way to say it this time. We`ve got a dead body. And this time, that dead body is a young man with his whole life ahead of him, a star athlete. He`s on the Dallas Cowboys, for Pete`s sake, a 25-year-old guy, expecting a child, I might add, a little baby girl, is dead.
So what do we know about how fast he was going, L.Z.? What do we know about the circumstances surrounding the crash?
GRANDERSON: Well, all we have so far -- we don`t have any exact speed that`s been reported yet, but we do know that he hit a curb and that from the impact of the curb, his car flew 900 feet. So I don`t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out that that car was going pretty fast in order to make that distance after hitting an object like a curb like that.
Beyond that, we don`t have to many more details that have come out. We`re finding things out in terms of timeline, where they were at. There`s reports now that they partied (ph) at more than one bar. And so the police are trying to figure out the exact pattern so that they can have a better (INAUDIBLE) to give us a sense of how much alcohol may have been consumed from the beginning of the night to the point of this horrific crash.
GRACE: So what is this private members-only club? What`s that, L.Z.?
GRANDERSON: Well, it`s a bar that works really hard -- I actually don`t have a problem with it because it`s good to try and keep the riff- raff out. You know, it`s designed so that they have better control over who`s coming in and who`s coming out. And it`s a bar that a lot of the Dallas Cowboy players go, they frequent.
One of their teammates (INAUDIBLE) Brian (ph) had a party there last month at this particular bar, and according to those, you know, reports from this Web site that any moment, they can decide if you`re allowed in or out of the bar.
So you would think that it`s the kind of environment that doesn`t (ph) lend itself to something as tragic as this because they`re so careful about who they`re letting in.
GRACE: Everybody, we`re taking your calls. Out to Dave in New York. Hi, Dave. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, hi, Nancy. First of all, long-time viewer, first-time caller, so I`m a bit nervous here.
GRACE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You do so much for the victims. I have so much respect for you.
GRACE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to ask, is the club (INAUDIBLE) liable in any way?
GRACE: Is the club liable in any way? Unleash the lawyers, Brian Claypool, Miami, Kirby Clements, Atlanta. I assume that both of you have handled DUIs, driving under the influence. This has turned into a vehicular homicide, which is, you know, slang for -- intoxication manslaughter, is what it is.
But here, what about liability for the club itself, a private members- only club that seems to be a little more involved than just going in and buying a couple of beers and leaving. What about it, Claypool?
BRIAN CLAYPOOL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, you can have civil liability on -- targeted toward the club, but it is going difficult to prove because you`re going to need testimony from other patrons, for example, that would testify that a lot of drinks were served to Josh Brent after he was intoxicated.
You can also look at the bill -- in other words, the bill that`s printed out -- to see how many drinks were possibly just given to Josh Brent.
GRACE: That`s a good idea.
CLAYPOOL: Right. And then also...
GRACE: What about it, Kirby?
CLAYPOOL: ... surveillance video. There might be surveillance video, too.
KIRBY CLEMENTS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He`s absolutely correct. I mean, that`s called the dram shop law, which allows you to sue a club for serving a visibly intoxicated person with knowledge that they`re about to drive. So if the club knew he was intoxicated and knew that he was about to drive and continued to serve him, then there would be liability not only of the club but perhaps the waiter or waitress that served him, as well. But I bet -- go ahead.
GRACE: OK, guys. I got it. I know there`s a lot that`s got to be proved before you can actually get a lawsuit successfully against the bar itself. You`ve got to show knowledge on the part of the bartender. But if you get that bill that Brian Claypool is talking about, that may be possible.
Joining me right now is a special guest I want to go to, Theresa Clark. This is Jerry Brown, Jr.`s grandmother, Brown allegedly killed by a Dallas Cowboy teammate. Ms. Clark, thank you for being with us.
THERESA CLARK, VICTIM`S GRANDMOTHER (via telephone): You`re welcome. How are you this afternoon?
GRACE: Well, Ms. Clark, I`m fine. And I just hate what you`re going through. I have a little boy. This is your grandchild, and I can`t imagine all the years and the love you`ve poured into him and then you see him succeeding and his dreams coming true, you know, beyond whatever you would ever imagine, your son, your grandson being a Dallas Cowboy, for Pete`s sake. I mean, that`s a pretty big dream to come true, to come to an end like this.
CLARK: Yes. You know, well -- you know, we never know what, you know, God has in store for us. That`s why I`m so proud of my grandson. I`m so proud of Jerry. I`m upset about what has happened to him, but then in my heart, I`m happy because he got a chance to fulfill his dream, something that he worked for since he was a little boy.
And not only that but the legacy that he left behind as far as helping, guiding, teaching and giving all of his love to his cousins, his family, all of us, to let us know that he still had Christ in his life, and that means a whole lot because no matter where he went or what he done...
GRACE: Ms. Clark, when you said he made his dreams come true, that he had worked so hard since he was a little boy, what do you mean by that? What did it take for him to become a Dallas Cowboy?
CLARK: It took a lot of hard work. He started when he was a little boy. He was just a baby, playing football. He always had a little football. And he wanted to become a football professional because he had his uncle, who would have made it to NFL, if possible, played basketball, but he got hurt. So he said that told his uncle, he said, If it`s the last thing I`m doing, I`m going make you proud of me. I`m going to succeed and get what you couldn`t get because you gave your life almost for someone else.
And that`s what made me so proud because he always did love football. He said he don`t care too much a about basketball, but loved football. So he would go (INAUDIBLE) as far as playing football and everything. But what I loved about him, though, is even though he worked so hard, he went to school, he played football day and night. He was always playing football. He had all his other cousins playing football, too. They loved it because he was their inspiration. He was their guide.
GRACE: Everyone, on the phone with me is the grandmother of Jerry Brown, Jr., who lost his life in a fiery crash, a crash we now learn was because his teammate, Josh Brent, was behind the wheel drunk after leaving a members-only nightclub, crashing into a curb, flipping his car 900 feet into the air, killing his roommate and Dallas Cowboy teammate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jerry Brown has been killed in a car accident.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a car driven by a teammate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Price-Brent was under arrest for intoxication manslaughter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s final. You know, and that part of it is difficult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Tragedy strikes the Dallas Cowboys yet again in another Sunday tragedy for the NFL.
We are taking your calls. Out to Kitty in Louisiana. Hi, Kitty. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Thanks for taking my call.
GRACE: Yes, ma`am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First of all, Ms. Clark, oh, God, I am so sorry for your loss. The Cowboys won yesterday, but they were solemn, but they won for Jerry. OK, if I was the judge and he has had two drinking DWIs, why didn`t the judge put him in rehab for six months before he goes to trial to be tried and maybe he drank a lot before he went to the bar. You can`t blame the bar owner.
GRACE: You know what, I don`t know. We don`t know the answer to those questions yet, had he been drinking before he went to the bar, did he drink too much at the bar? All we know now is that he is charged with felony -- felony -- it`s called, in that jurisdiction, intoxication manslaughter. In most jurisdictions, it`s called vehicular homicide, which means he was drinking and behind the wheel.
Out to Reggie Rivers, former NFL player, six seasons with the Denver Broncos, sports broadcaster. Reggie, thank you for being with us.
REGGIE RIVERS, FORMER NFL PLAYER: You bet. Thank you.
GRACE: I`d like you to weigh in.
RIVERS: Yes, well, obviously, this is a tragic situation, the NFL now for the second consecutive week dealing with a player who has died, Kansas City last week with a murder/suicide there, and now with Jerry Brown, Jr., dying in this car accident.
And it`s something the league is really trying to get a handle on, with players going out drinking, getting behind the wheel. The league has programs, I think in every NFL city, that basically says you can call a cab at any time and your team will pick up the cost of that cab to get you back home.
Players obviously have a lot of money. They can hire a limo driver. They can hire anybody to drive them. So there`s really no reason to get behind the wheel after they`ve had a drink. And this is the worst case scenario of what happens when you do that.
GRACE: You know, Reggie Rivers is right. There`s an 800 number that the Dallas Cowboys can call if they need a ride. They don`t have to get behind the wheel drunk.
With me right now, CNN correspondent Ed Lavandera. Ed, you`re joining me from the scene. What do you know? Tell me about the crash, Ed.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it happened just after 2:00 o`clock in the morning, Central time, Saturday morning.
GRACE: Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Ed! Ed, 2:00 o`clock, 2:00 AM -- I used to tell my juries nothing good happens after midnight, Ed, nothing good.
GRACE: It`s 2:00 AM...
GRACE: Tell me the rest.
LAVANDERA: I heard there`s a -- there`s an old Chris Rock joke that goes along those lines as, well. And yes, it was 2:00 AM. According to the police affidavit that we`ve gotten a hold of, it was a single car accident. And according to the officer, it was -- it had rolled over, hit a median and appeared to be on fire.
When the police officers showed up at the scene, they actually see Josh Brent trying to pull his friend out of the car. And as the officers approached, according to this affidavit, they say they smelled alcohol on his breath and that`s why they started investigating and asking more questions about that and where he had been.
He -- according to this affidavit, he had told police he had just -- they had -- he and his friend had just been at a club. He wouldn`t specify which club, but they had just left there and presumably on their way home.
GRACE: Well, did they administer a sobriety test, a field test right there on the scene?
LAVANDERA: Well, he refused -- he refused the test, which you can do by law. But once Jerry Brown was declared dead, then authorities, according to law here in Texas, have the ability to go in and just take the blood sample because there was a death in this case. So that was done, so they`ll have that evidence when this case goes to trial.
GRACE: Ed Lavandera joining me there on the scene. Ed, question. He was pronounced dead at the hospital, right?
GRACE: So when did they take that blood? When did they take the blood sample from Josh Brent?
LAVANDERA: Good question. I`m not totally sure of that. I don`t -- you know, the distance to Parkland Hospital from where this accident happened is not that far. Maybe -- it`s less than -- it`s probably about a five-minute drive. Especially if you`re in an ambulance, you can make it there in a matter of minutes.
So I`m not sure if that was done there at the field location and that they still had Josh Brent in custody and by the time they had declared his friend dead at Parkland Hospital, then relayed that back to the scene, or if Brent had been taken to the hospital. So I`m not clear about that.
GRACE: Well, what I`m getting at, Ed, is, I wonder how much time had elapsed from the time of the crash to the time they took the blood alcohol test because you know alcohol dissipates in your system after you`ve had it in there for a while. So if it was an hour or two hours or however long, that means he had more alcohol in his system before, at the time of the crash.
GRACE: Straight back out to Ed Lavandera, CNN correspondent there in Dallas. Ed, when we used to get pile-ups or crash reports that said single car accident, as you described it, we would laugh because it would mean -- it`s not funny now because somebody has been killed -- because that means somebody is so smashed that they`re striking a fixed object.
It`s not like a car came at them, or they were moving through an intersection. They ran into a fixed object. Out of all the places in the world you can go in your car, you crash into something stationary. In this case, it was a curb that flipped this Mercedes-Benz 900 feet in the air and killed somebody, Ed.
LAVANDERA: Yes. Obviously, and this would be part of the investigation, as well, as you know full -- know fully well, Nancy, is just how fast they were going. And that would, you know, give, I think, a pretty clear indication of just how violent that crash turned out to be, especially if it must have sparked some sort of fire at some point, that that`s what the police officer said they saw when they pulled up on the scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the second time in two weeks, an NFL team overcomes the death of a teammate with a victory on field.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Josh Brent facing intoxication manslaughter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After a passenger in his car, fellow teammate Jerry Brown, was killed in an accident.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were best friends. They were close.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Based on the objective symptoms that he was displaying that they felt as if alcohol was a factor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will live with this horrific and tragic loss every day for the rest of my life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cowboys came back from a 9-point deficit to beat the Cincinnati Bengals on a dramatic last-second field goal. Brown`s jersey was held up after the emotional win. The jersey of Jerry Brown, Jr., was draped over the team bench.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: That jersey draped over the bench in honor of a 25-year-old star, Jerry Brown Jr., was making his dreams come true. He played football according to what his grandmother told me, ever since he was a little boy in the hopes of being a Dallas Cowboy. And he became a Dallas Cowboy only to have his life cut short because his friend and fellow teammate, fellow Cowboy, was drunk behind the wheel and this is not his first DUI. Josh Brent has had at least one DUI before this.
Back to Kitty, the second part of your question is, what now, why couldn`t he get rehab? Is that what your question is?
KITTY, CALLER: Why didn`t the judge admittedly send him to rehab for six months before a trial and then put him in jail for however long?
GRACE: Are you talking about with this incident right here?
GRACE: All right. Because you can`t get sent to rehab or get sent anywhere against your volition unless you are adjudicated guilty. So you have to have the trial before you can have any type of sentence even if that sentence is rehab.
To Kelley in Texas. Hi, Kelley, what`s your question?
KELLEY, CALLER FROM TEXAS: Hi. I just want to know your thoughts. I think he`s getting preferential treatment because he`s a Dallas Cowboy. You can look back to several Cowboys, I`m not going to name any names, but there`s been, you know, drug parties and, you know, Jerry Jones, I just feel like he holds them to no standards whatsoever. And, you know, like you said they could have called a limo.
MORGAN: I mean, that`s pretty -- that`s a pretty sweet deal, huh, Kelley in Texas, that whenever I don`t feel like driving somewhere, hey, you know what, I got to take the twins to Target, I`d love to just dial an 800 number and pile into a big old stretch limo and then have it take me back home with our bags. That`d be just great. Wouldn`t it? That`s what the Dallas Cowboys get to do.
Isn`t that right, Reggie Rivers?
REGGIE RIVERS, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Well, I don`t know if they get a limo for sure but certainly there is a number they can call. They can get a ride if they`ve ever been out drinking and I think that`s true in every NFL city because the league wants players to know if you`re going to go drink that`s OK. You`re of legal age to drink. You`re allowed to go drinking if you want to.
Drink in moderation and make sure you don`t get behind the wheel of a car. But you`re battling against a couple of things. You`re battling in an industry with big egos. You`re battling against guys who have a very well-developed sense of invincibility. To make it as an NFL player you`ve got to believe at a very high level that you are invincible.
GRACE: Well, Reggie. Reggie.
RIVERS: Yes, ma`am.
GRACE: I was looking back over his record. He did do 30 days the first time. I think it`s his first time in 2009 incident. He got 60 days, he did 30. Now Kitty in -- Kelley in Texas think he`s getting preferential treatment. It`s interesting to me that he`s already bonded out. Of course we`ve got a dead body here and his lawyer was whining that the bond was too high.
I just find that completely inappropriate. Do these names ring a bell to you, Reggie? Nick Fairley, Jerome Felton, David Diehl, Darrius Heyward- Bey, Aldon Smith, Brandon Meriweather, Justin Blackmon, all NFL DUIs. And that`s just 2012 that I know of. And I think there are more.
RIVERS: Yes, that`s true. Obviously there is a problem. And you know, the reality of the NFL is that these men are part of the normal society. They are young men with fast cars and big egos and all young men, anybody who has a teenage son knows that the insurance is very high because the insurance companies know that these drivers are the worst drivers. They make the worst decisions, they are irresponsible and in the NFL these young players that is true across the board, and I think that`s why you see so much of this happening, even though the league tries to do everything it can to encourage guys to be more educated, make better decisions but it`s tough to get them to listen.
GRACE: Back to Ed Lavandera joining me there in Dallas.
Ed, the lawyer, his lawyer was whining that the bond was too high. I find that totally inappropriate when his roommate of three years and I think he was -- had lived with him since they became Dallas Cowboys, as well, but his University of Illinois roommate, and teammate, three years, is dead and they are in there whining that the bond was too high? Obviously he`s got money to make bond, Ed.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, without question. I`ve been trying to get a hold of the lawyer throughout most of the day. They haven`t had any luck, Nancy.
You know, but I think, you know, to the point about whether or not, you know, he`s getting preferential treatment. You know, I think, you know, once your name is in this kind of story and you`re a Dallas Cowboy football player, you know, obviously that raises it to another level. It`s nationwide news obviously. And obviously I think prosecutors are going to -- they`re going to handle that very delicately because they want to make sure that they`re not seen as giving anyone preferential treatment.
You know, so that`s -- you know, you can argue both sides of that fence. But there`s no question I think that once -- you know, you`re dealing with a football player that`s a star on the helmet.
GRACE: You know what, Ed?
LAVANDERA: That`s a big deal.
GRACE: You know what, Ed? when there is a dead body, OK. I don`t know why there should be a bond. Take a listen to what his defense lawyer said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What do you think about the bond?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it`s outrageous. It`s 16 times what the bond schedule says. Sixteen times. There`s no asterisk on that felony bond schedule that says if he plays for the Dallas Cowboys his bond is 16 times what some other guy`s is. It`s outrageous and offensive.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Would you get it reduced or what happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to try to get it reduced.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How soon do you think he`s going to get out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know. I`m going to have to discuss some issues with my client. It may be today but I doubt it.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What did you think the bond was going to be or should have been?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told the cowboys it should be $30,000 to $50,000 but because he`s a Cowboy they`ll bump it up and they will be maybe 50 to 100. And then we`ll get 500.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: No, no, sir, what`s ridiculous is you whining about the bail. What you need to be doing is finding out where the funeral is, all right. That`s what you need be doing. You need to be over there in that church praying, down on your knees, because your client was driving drunk and caused this young man`s death. That`s what you need to be doing not out whining about how unfair the system is.
To Michael Board, WOAI. Michael, weigh in.
MICHAEL BOARD, REPORTER, WOAI NEWSRADIO: It`s outrageous that this man, Josh Brent, his base salary, this is how much he`s making, his base salary is $540,000 a year. I don`t know too many people who make $540,000 a year. I`d like to think that some day I`ll make $540,000 a year.
It`s outrageous that someone who makes that much money can`t call a cab for him and his buddy to get home. It`s just amazing, Nancy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Irving Police Department is currently investigating a single vehicle fatality accident involving two Dallas Cowboy football players.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can`t get any tighter than those two. Simply can`t. It`s closest family he had was Jerry Brown.
JASON GARRETT, DALLAS COWBOYS HEAD COACH: I think everyone in our organization who knew him is completely numb and has been numb for the last couple of days.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our officers also located a Larry Brown Jr. who was lying on the ground and he was unresponsive.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Brown`s teammate Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent is out of jail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His bond is 16 times what some other guy`s is. It`s outrageous and it`s offensive.
GARRETT: At 25 years old he`s no longer with us and that`s hard for everybody to handle. Really hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Tragedy strikes after a night of boozing at a so-called private members only club. A bar is what it boils down to.
Joining me right now a special guest, first assistant at the Dallas County District Attorney`s Office, Heath Harris, is with us.
Heath, thank you for being with us. I know you cannot comment on the facts of the case. I under that. But I`m interested about what your procedures are going forward and what exactly are the charges against him?
HEATH HARRIS, DALLAS COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Good afternoon, Nancy. The charges against Mr. Josh, I believe his name is Josh Price --
HARRIS: It is his actual name. But the charges against Mr. Brent is going to be intoxication manslaughter is what we anticipate the Irving Police Department is going to charge him with. The case has not been filed with our office at this time. We anticipate that the Irving Police Department is still conducting their own investigation regarding this particular offense and once they conclude their investigation then they will forward all of that evidence to our office where we will continue with our investigation.
GRACE: OK. Let me ask you this, if he is convicted on intoxication manslaughter, what`s the sentence on that, minimum, maximum?
HARRIS: Intoxication manslaughter here in the state of Texas is a second-degree felony. The range of punishment is minimum of two years, maximum of 20 years. However, here in the state of Texas, if a person has not been convicted of a felony in this state or any other state they would also be eligible for what we refer to as community supervision or what`s commonly known as probation.
GRACE: You mean he could get straight probation for this if he doesn`t have a felony?
HARRIS: Absolutely. Yes. Yes. Yes.
GRACE: That doesn`t seem right.
HARRIS: Unfortunately. We`ve had cases where individuals have been found guilty of intoxication manslaughter and a Dallas County jury or a judge has felt that based on the totality of the circumstances and all the facts before them, they give him community supervision.
GRACE: Well, he`s a -- does the jury sentence or the judge?
HARRIS: It`s up to the defendant. Here in the state of Texas, a defendant can select whether or not they will want the judge to assess the punishment.
HARRIS: Or a jury to assess the punishment.
GRACE: Didn`t know that. Good to know.
Heath Harris is joining me, everybody. First -- first assistant in the Dallas County District Attorney`s Office.
Heath, I just have played a clip with his defense lawyer outside the door whining about how wrong it was and how unjust it was that his client`s bond was set where it was, it was $500,000 bond which means he puts up 10 percent of that. Is that unusual? Why is the defense attorney complaining about the bond? I thought he shouldn`t get a bond.
HARRIS: Let me first and foremost say it has nothing do with him being a Dallas cowboy. It`s not unusual for magistrates in our -- I guess our suburban areas like Irving, Garland, Grand Prairie to assess a high bond on an individual and what would have happened is Mr. Brent would have been transferred to our county jail where, again, a magistrate would have reviewed the -- all the information and I anticipate that he would have set a bond more consistent with our bond schedule in the county itself.
And what I would -- what I would tell you and your viewers is that the bond would probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of probably anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000.
GRACE: Well, I`ll tell he -- I don`t think he should have even gotten a bond when you`ve got a dead 25-year-old -- I don`t think there should have been a bond.
Out to the lines --
HARRIS: Let me just say, Miss Grace, as you know, being a former prosecutor, you know, all citizens are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
GRACE: So I appreciate that. I appreciate that. I learned that when I read the constitution.
Let me just get back to the bond with the defense attorney whining about the bond being too high.
Michelle in Florida, hi, Michelle what`s your question, dear?
MICHELLE, CALLER FROM FLORIDA: hi, Nancy. I have a question. It is the Dallas Cowboys` team responsible in any way? Can they actually get fined or sued from the family?
GRACE: Highly doubtful that anybody on the team is going to get sued or that the Dallas Cowboys are going to get sudden. That`d be just like suing the rotary club for somebody driving drunk from one of the lunches not that they drink at the rotary club. But that`s not going to happen.
But I get where you`re coming from, Michelle, when you see one person after the next, after the next within the Dallas Cowboys, within the NFL. So it seems like there could be a connection but not under the law.
With me right now Dr. Kevin Campbell, physician at UNC Health Care.
Dr. Campbell, thank you for being with us. What difference would it make as to how long after the crash the blood was drawn from the defendant to get a blood alcohol?
DR. KEVIN CAMPBELL, M.D., PHYSICIAN, UNC HEALTH CARE: That`s a great question. We know that alcohol metabolizes at the rate of about a drink an hour. So if these guys were, you know, drunk enough to drive this fast and this reckless I suspect that an hour delay probably is not going to make a huge difference because that`s really just one drink being metabolized.
GRACE: So what about two or three hours?
CAMPBELL: You know, again, we typically see effects of alcohol after one to two drinks. You`ll see a little bit of euphoria, maybe a little bit of lethargy, as you get blood alcohol content to 0.9 percent. I suspect in this case that gentleman was pronounced dead rather quickly because I think he probably died on impact.
And I expect that this test was run within that hour. I have no direct knowledge of that but that`s my best guess.
GRACE: Back to Ed Lavandera, CNN correspondent.
Ed, I under that you have the time of death?
LAVANDERA: Yes, you asking me earlier. The call came in about the accident at 2:21 a.m. Central Time. And according to the police records we`ve got a -- we`ve gotten a hold of, he was pronounced dead at the local hospital at 2:57. So about 36 minutes after that initial 911 call was put into police.
GRACE: Out to the lines. Michelle, Nevada. Hi, Michelle, what`s your question, dear?
MICHELLE, CALLER FROM NEVADA: Hi, Nancy. Love you, love you, love you.
GRACE: Thank you.
MICHELLE: Here`s my question, and I`m going to piggyback on Michelle in Florida.
MICHELLE: I realized that the NFL they can`t be held accountable, but is it no different than if I went into a bar, got smashed, bartender kept serving me, and then I get into an accident. Can`t people now go after the bartender?
GRACE: You absolutely can. Now according to the -- according to the lawyers in our panel, there are a lot of hurdles you`ve got to jump through, but Brian Claypool, I don`t think it`s that difficult to go after the bar.
BRIAN CLAYPOOL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You have to have some kind of objective indication that Brent was intoxicated. In other words, if he was sitting there doing -- acting in a normal manner, it might be difficult to prove that a reasonable person would think he was intoxicated. That`s why you`ve got to look at surveillance tape and look at the receipts.
GRACE: Michael Board, what do we know about the bar?
BOARD: It`s a private club in Dallas. It has a very strict limit to who can come in, very strict dress code. We know that the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is launched -- excuse me, they have already launched an investigation into this. They`re looking at the receipts of who was served what that night, although that can get very tricky, Nancy, because if you look on the receipts and, say, ten drinks were purchased, who is to know if he didn`t buy five for himself and buy five for five other girls there at the bar?
GRACE: What about it, Lavandera? What do we know bout this clog and what does it mean, private members only?
LAVANDERA: That`s a good question. I don`t really know -- places that I`ve been to here in the Dallas Forth Worth area. So I`m not really sure. I mean I would imagine it`s, like, you know, maybe perhaps some membership. Not necessarily everybody can get in.
GRACE: Tonight a different kind of American hero.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIE NELSON, SINGER: I`m very proud to be here tonight to help honor my dear friend, Kris Kristofferson. And it`s even more a pleasure to be honoring him for something that he`s not normally recognized. The fact that he served his country in the Armed Forces.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Kris Kristofferson, honored as a Veteran of the Year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A single-vehicle fatality accident involving two Dallas Cowboy football players.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: They arrested 24-year-old Josh Brent, one count of intoxicated manslaughter. His teammate, his friend, his roommate, the Jerry Brown, was in the passenger seat. It was his second involvement of alcohol incidences. Back in 2009 when he played for the University of Illinois, he was charged with a DUI.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: To Ramani Durvasula, clinical psychologist.
Ramani, it is a conscious decision to get your car keys, walk to your car, crank up the car, and get behind it. And this guy knows better. This NFL start Jerry Brown knew better.
RAMANI DURVASULA, PH.D., CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes, but the fact of the matter is a DUI should be a wake-up call, but it isn`t. This one should be a wake-up call but it may not be. Think of all the people we know who have had DUIs and get back in the car, back in the car. We need more severe penalties and we need to link this to treatment. I`m not sure either of those things are going to happen here. So it could happen again?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Ellie is the -- Ellie Jostad, is the NFL considering the mechanism in your car that won`t let it start if you`ve been drinking?
ELLIE JOSTAD, NANCY GRACE CHIEF EDITORIAL PRODUCER: Well, Nancy, Nancy, Calvin Hill, who is a consultant for the Cowboys, and is a former player himself, says that this thing called safety which prevents your ignition from starting if you`ve been drinking is something that the team will consider. Not clear if that`s actually going to actually happen.
GRACE: Everyone tonight across the country mourning Jerry Brown, Jr., star athlete, linebacker for the Dallas cowboys. D. Drew up next.
Everyone, I`ll see you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp eastern. Until then, good night, friend.