FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – It’s been more than 18 months since Deerfield Beach teenager Michael Brewer was set on fire at an apartment complex.
This week, jury selection will begin for the only alleged attacker who hasn’t taken a plea bargain, Matthew Bent.
Bent, Denver Jarvis, and Jesus Mendez were all accused of pouring alcohol on Brewer and then lighting him on fire. Brewer survived by jumping into a swimming pool, but suffered Burns over most of his body.
Bent stands accused of starting the fight because Brewer owed a $40 debt.
Jarvis admitted to being the one who poured alcohol on Brewer and was sentenced to eight years in prison and more than two decades on probation as part of a plea deal. Mendez admitted his role in the incident, setting Brewer on fire, and received 11 years in prison for his guilty plea.
Bent initially was going to accept a plea deal offered by prosecutors, but at the very last minute changed his mind and opted for a jury trial. Jarvis and Mendez are expected to testify against Bent during his trial.
Bent was arrested a day before the burning for allegedly trying to steal a bike from the Brewer’s home. Witnesses said it was Bent who ordered Jarvis to pour the alcohol on Brewer.