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Judge Denies New Trial In Teen Burning Case

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Matthew Bent in court on the first day of jury selection in the Michael Brewer burning case on June 11, 2012. (CBS4)

Matthew Bent in court on the first day of jury selection in the Michael Brewer burning case on June 11, 2012. (CBS4)

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South Florida Crime

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – A Broward judge has denied a motion for a new trial for Matthew Bent, a Deerfield Beach teen convicted of taking part in the attack on Michael Brewer who was doused alcohol and set on fire.

Michael Brewer was not in court Monday when the judge announced his decision, but his family was.

“He’s heard little tidbits, he’s heard us talking a little bit, but he doesn’t know the full extent of it,” said Valerie Brewer. “When we go home today we are definitely going to let him know we are almost there.”

Bent’s attorney Johnny McCray filed the motion after one of the jurors claimed she was bullied by the others and was accused of being a racist. He said the judge’s ruling was not a surprise.

“Given the history of this case, and given what I heard that day, I knew that we were fighting an uphill battle on that particular issue,” said McCray. “I think we’ll see some real, what I’d like to call justice, once we get this case on appeal.”

McCray pointed out that they still have one appeal pending.

Brewer was found guilty of aggravated battery on June 19th which was a lesser included offense, for his role in the burning of Brewer in 2009.

Bent’s co-defendants are already serving time. Denver Jarvis received 8 years for dousing Brewer with alcohol. Jesus Mendez received 11 years for flicking the lighter that set Brewer ablaze.

Bent rejected a plea deal earlier this year. Prosecutors said Bent was angry at Brewer for an unpaid debt and offered to pay for the attack. If the defense’s final appeal fails, the state plans to ask for the maximum of 15 years during sentencing.

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