FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/AP) — The final suspect in one of South Florida’s most horrific rimes, the burning of Michael Brewer, is seeking transfer to juvenile court rather than prosecution as an adult.
The attorney for 17-year-old Matthew Bent said in a Broward County court filing Thursday that Bent lacks sufficient mental capacity and maturity.
Attorney Gordon Weekes said Bent is following the wishes of family members by insisting on a trial set to begin next week. If convicted, Bent could receive decades in prison rather than a more lenient sentence if he pleaded guilty.
Two other youths, Jesus Mendez and Denver Jarvis, previously pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree murder in the 2009 attack on Michael Brewer. All were classmates at Deerfield Beach Middle School.
Prosecutors said the trio doused Brewer with rubbing alcohol and set him on fire after an argument over a $40 debt, a video game and a stolen bike.
Brewer jumped into a swimming pool which saved his life but he suffered second- and third-degree burns over two-thirds of his body.
Mendez, now 18, was sentenced to 11 years in state prison, one year of community control and 18 years of probation.
Jarvis, now 17, was sentenced to eight years in prison, one year of community control and 21 years of probation.
Both Mendez and Jarvis are expected to testify against Bent when his trial begins next week.
Brewer has since fully recovered. He and his family now live near West Palm Beach.
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