Circuit Judge Matthew Destry ruled Monday that Matthew Bent, 18, will not be allowed a new trial following his conviction on an aggravated battery charge in the 2009 attack on Michael Brewer. His mother and grandmother, Valerie and Reenie Brewer, spoke about the case, as did juror Karen Bates McCord and Bent's attorney Johnny McCray.
A judge has denied a motion to grant a new trial to one of the South Florida teens convicted for his role in the fire attack on Michael Brewer.
Circuit Judge Matthew Destry ruled Monday that Matthew Bent, 18, will not be allowed a new trial following his conviction on an aggravated battery charge in the 2009 attack on Brewer.
The motion for a new trial had been filed by Bent's attorneys after a juror in the case complained after the trial that she was intimidated by fellow jurors and felt forced to vote guilty.
Earlier this month, Destry interviewed all the jurors in a special court hearing to determine if there was any validity to the juror Karen Bates-McCord's claims. The other jurors did not, for the most part, corroborate the story Bates-McCord told of being pressured to vote with the majority.
Brewer's family attended Monday's hearing and said they were pleased with the outcome.
"I'm very happy with that, very happy, we're just looking forward for it to be over with so we can move on. We're very satisfied with what the judge ruled on this morning," mother Valerie Brewer said. "We definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel."
"It's not over 'til the fat lady sings and I didn't sing today, so we gotta wait a little bit longer but then when it's done it's done and we get to move on," grandmother Reenie Brewer said.
Bent's attorneys said they feel they have a good case at the appeals court level.
Bent, who prosecutors say was the ringleader in the Brewer attack, was the only defendant who went to trial. Denver Jarvis, 17, who poured rubbing alcohol on Brewer, pleaded no contest to charges related to the attack and has been sentenced to eight years in prison with a probation term of 22 years.
Jesus Mendez, 18, who pulled out a lighter and set Brewer on fire, also pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 11 years in prison followed by 19 years of probation.
Sentencing for Bent won't happen until the judge reviews another defense motion for outright acquittal of the case.