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Brooks could be eligible for parole in 9 months

Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK -- When former Arkansas football player Jermaine Brooks pleaded guilty to drug charges this week, he received a sentence consistent with what others would face, his prosecutor said. And it helped that Brooks dealt honestly with investigators, he said.

Brooks, a defensive co-captain until getting kicked off the team in October, was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday in Washington County Circuit Court. With good behavior and acceptance into the state's boot camp-style prison, he could be eligible for parole in as little as nine months.

Deputy prosecutor John Threet said Thursday the Arkansas Department of Correction will have the final word on a parole date.

"You can find cases where they got less and you could find cases where they got more, but I think it was fair,'' Threet said. "He pled to the maximum sentence he could get.''

Brooks pleaded guilty to one count of delivery of a controlled substance (marijuana), one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, and one count of theft by receiving.

Judge William Storey sentenced Brooks to 10 years on each count but suspended the sentence on the theft conviction and said the sentences on the other three convictions would run concurrently.

The judge ordered Brooks to report to the Washington County jail March 24 to begin serving his sentence.

Brooks, 23, of Pasadena, Calif., originally was charged with seven felony counts after undercover police allegedly bought marijuana from him on Oct. 22 at his off-campus apartment. Police said Brooks either sold or possessed 10½ pounds of marijuana. During a raid that day, officers seized several guns and nearly $17,000 in cash.

Drug agents tried to talk Brooks into informing on his supplier, but he refused. Even if he had revealed his source, Threet said Brooks still would have gone to prison.

"Based on what he had, I don't think there was any way around him doing (penitentiary) time,'' Threet said. "I don't think it would have been any way to avoid it. He may have received less time.''

Threet also said he didn't know of any investigations that spawned off as a result of Brooks' arrest and conviction, either into his supplier or anywhere else at the university.

Brooks said he sold the drugs as a way to make easy money.

"I thought I'd just get in and out and make a quick buck,'' Brooks told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper of Little Rock. "That didn't happen. Selling marijuana or weed or whatever you call it, only made matters worse.''

The deputy prosecutor said he believed Brooks' story that Brooks had just recently started dealing because he was forthright from the moment he was arrested. Threet also said no one came forward with stories of Brooks threatening people or being involved in other nefarious activities.

"He never gave law enforcement any trouble,'' Threet said. "He fessed up immediately and told them everything he had been involved in. He wasn't like a lot of them who sit there and don't say a word or start telling stories. He said, `Here's exactly what I did.''

Brooks started all six games for Arkansas in 2002 before his arrest. In the 2001 season, Brooks started seven of 11 games and had 56 tackles.

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