Jurors in Brewer Burning Case Interviewed About Deliberations

Juror misconduct hearing Friday in trial of Matthew Bent

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jurors were interviewed Friday on whether racial animosity and other misconduct occurred during deliberations in the trial of Matthew Bent. Karen Bates McCord, who made the allegations, was one of many jurors interviewed in court. Bent's attorney Perry Thurston and Michael Brewer's grandmother, Reenie Brewer, also discussed the case.

    Matthew Bent walked back into a courtroom Friday, hoping to hear the jurors who convicted him say something that would get him a new trial.

    Jurors were interviewed Friday on whether racial animosity and other misconduct occurred during deliberations in the trial of Bent, 18, the alleged ringleader of a group that set a middle school classmate on fire.

    Judge Denies New Trial in Brewer Burning Case

    [MI] Judge Denies New Trial in Brewer Burning Case
    Broward Circuit Court Judge Matthew Destry temporarily denied a new trial to Matthew Bent, who was convicted in the fire attack on Michael Brewer. But he kept open the possibility as he set a new hearing for Oct. 12. Bent's attorney Perry Thurston, prosecutor Maria Schneider, mother Valerie Brewer and grandmother Reenie Brewer commented on the case Tuesday.

    Bent was convicted in June of aggravated battery for the 2009 attack on Michael Brewer, who was 15 at the time. Brewer survived by jumping into an apartment complex swimming pool.

    After the conviction, juror Karen Bates McCord sent the initial judge on the case a letter saying that she was pressured into voting guilty, that jurors discussed the case before deliberations, and that another juror called her a racist.

    "The racial calling, all the names, it was just a total chaos in the jury room, bottom line it was a chaos," she said Friday.

    Judge Denies New Trial in Brewer Burning Case

    Convicted Teen Seeks New Trial in Michael Brewer Burning Case

    [MI] Convicted Teen Seeks New Trial in Michael Brewer Burning Case
    Attorneys for the South Florida teen convicted for his role in the fiery attack on Michael Brewer were back in court Friday to ask a judge for a new trial. Shortly after the verdict, Juror Karen Bates McCord sent a letter to Broward Circuit Judge Michael Robinson saying she did not believe Bent received a fair trial. She claimed other jurors had already made up their minds before the trial was over.

    Bates McCord said another woman called her a racist, but other jurors disputed her assertions.

    All of the jurors who convicted Bent testified, and only Bates McCord said some of them talked about the case before deliberations began.

    "The testimony was all over the place, some people say things happened, others say nothing happened," said Bent's attorney, Perry Thurston.

    In the courthouse hallway, Bates McCord said she did feel pressured to vote guilty, as she wrote in her letter. But she didn't tell that to Broward Circuit Judge Matthew Destry Friday "because he didn't let me answer the questions how I wanted to," she said.

    Brewer's family watched the testimony, on the anniversary of the fiery attack.

    "Oh my God, today's the day, three years ago today we sat in a little room at Ryder Trauma Center and waited for them to tell us whether he was alive or dead," said Reenie Brewer, the grandmother of Michael Brewer.

    Bent could get a new trial if the judge decides there was sufficient misconduct.
     
    He faces a maximum 15-year prison sentence if his conviction stands. Two other teenagers are serving prison terms after pleading no contest to attempted murder charges.

    Judge Recuses Himself From Bent Case