FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Two of the three teens accused of setting former Deerfield Beach teen Michael Brewer on fire will spend the next few years behind bars.
During a hearing Wednesday morning 19-year old Jesus Mendez and 18-year old Denver Jarvis pled no contest to attempted second degree murder. Matthew Bent, who was the alleged ringleader of the trio, was also expected to enter a new plea. However, he changed his mind and will now go to trial on March 12th.
“I wanted to get up and leave, I don’t want to see them.” said Brewer who watched the sentencing. “I think they should get longer but it’s okay, they’re going to mess up anyway.”
Mendez, Jarvis and Bent are accused of pouring rubbing alcohol on then 15-year-old Brewer back in October 2009 before setting him on fire. The trio reportedly set Brewer on fire after an argument over a video game and a stolen bike.
Jarvis’ attorney asked the judge for leniency saying the crime was “a childhood prank that turned into a dangerous crime.”
Brewer’s grandmother Reenie Brewer told the judge how wrong she thought that statement was.
“This act is the most heinous act anybody can commit against another human being, it’s a million times worse than being shot in the head,” Reenie Brewer told the judge. “The message we want to send is it’s not okay to be mean and hateful to any person for any reason.”
He survived by jumping into a nearby swimming pool. He suffered burns over 60-percent of his body. He spent months rehabilitating at Jackson memorial Hospital Burn Center in Miami.
The state sought 15 years for Mendez and 10 years to both Bent and Jarvis.
Mendez, 18, accused of the flicking the lighter, was the first to be sentenced. He was given 11 years in prison, one year of community control and 18 years probation.
Outside the courtroom, Mendez mother said she was upset by the outcome.
“I’m hurt, I can’t talk at this time,” she said.
Jarvis, who was accused of pouring the liquid on Brewer, faced sentencing next. His attorney told the judge the boy was only 15 at the time and didn’t think of the consequences. Jarvis said if he had know what was going to happen, he never would have taken part in the attack.
“They knew exactly what they were doing and I don’t believe that, it doesn’t mean anything, how old they are or how young they are,” Michael Brewer.
The judge sentenced Jarvis to eight years in prison, one year of community of control and 21 years of probation.
“I couldn’t understand how they could do something like that,” said Michael’s aunt Diana Brewer, “It’s beyond me. I don’t understand how anybody could hurt anyone that bad.”
Dreading having to re-live the attack when Bent goes to trial, Brewer said he will soldier on. His mother, Valerie, said they’ll be right there for him.
“You have to re-open those wounds and the nightmares come back and it’s difficult,” said Valerie Brewer. “We’re strong and we are here for each other and we will see Michael through it.”
Bent faces a maximum of 30 years in prison if convicted.