WEST PALM BEACH (CBS4) – The family of Michael Brewer, the Deerfield Beach teen who was doused with alcohol and set on fire in 2009, say they are relieved this very painful part of their lives is over.
“We were very satisfied with the verdict,” said Valerie Brewer, the mother of burn victim Michael Brewer. “We were looking for justice for Michael, we got that.”
Valerie and the rest of the family are OK with the jury’s verdict. Matthew Bent was found guilty of aggravated battery and not the more serious charge of second degree attempted murder for the burning Brewer.
Investigators say Bent was the mastermind behind the attack, that there was bad blood between him and Brewer. Brewer’s mom hopes it will send a message.
“If you bully somebody, if you hurt somebody directly or indirectly, you will be responsible for the consequences,” she said.
Michael’s grandmother Reenie had her arm around Michael every day in court. She said she had very mixed emotions as she watched Bent, just feet away from her scarred grandson.
“I’ve been a mom since I was 5,” Reenie said, “so part of me hurts, part of me is angry and part of me wants to say, ‘what were you thinking? Please tell me what you were thinking!?’”
Reenie says she hopes one day Bent and the others show remorse for what happened…but surprising, does not believe Bent realized what was going to happen.
“I believe that he had no idea that what happened was going to happen. I believe that in my heart,” Reenie said.
She does, however, believe that Bent was in the middle of all this, that he’s the one who set this whole life altering plan in motion.
“He got everybody rolling,” she said. “There’s always the band leader, right? The guy that starts tapping his foot and starts the music, that’s what he did that day. He started the music and everybody played hard rock instead of Beethoven.”
When Bent is sentenced on July 23, the brewer family plans on being in court. They say they’ll leave it up to the judge to come up with an appropriate sentence. He faces a maximum of 15 years.