Jury Selection to Begin in Brewer Burning Case

Teen facing second-degree attempted murder in attack on classmate

By Brian Hamacher
|  Thursday, May 31, 2012  |  Updated 8:57 AM EDT
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Teens charged in attack plead no contest to second-degree attempted murder charges.

Teens charged in attack plead no contest to second-degree attempted murder charges.

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Competency Hearing for Brewer Burning Suspect

Matthew Aaron Bent, 17, is charged with second-degree attempted murder in the Oct. 12, 2009 attack at a Deerfield Beach apartment complex. He will be tried as an adult and faces up to 30 years in prison. Jury selection in his case was scheduled to begin Monday, but was delayed after a judge ordered a psychological evaluation to determine his competency. On Thursday Bent learned that his trial would move forward.
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Jury selection is expected to begin Thursday for one of the three teens charged in the Michael Brewer burning attack.

Matthew Aaron Bent, 17, is charged with second-degree attempted murder in the Oct. 12, 2009 attack at a Deerfield Beach apartment complex. He will be tried as an adult and faces up to 30 years in prison.

Jury selection had been scheduled to begin in March but was postponed after a judge ordered a psychological evaluation for Bent to determine his competency. Bent was ruled competent to stand trial.

The jury selection is expected to last through next week with the trial scheduled to begin on June 11.

Prosecutors say Bent and a group of boys surrounded Brewer, their classmate, and set him on fire after an argument over a $40 video game that Brewer had reportedly agreed to buy from one of them.

Brewer Burning Case Timeline

Bent directed one of the other teens, Denver Jarvis, to pour rubbing alcohol on Brewer, before another classmate, Jesus Mendez, pulled out a lighter and sparked a blaze that set Brewer on fire, prosecutors said.

Brewer, 15 at the time of the attack, jumped into the apartment complex's pool to put out the flames. He was burned on over 60 percent of his body and spent months in the hospital recovering from his injuries.

Bent's attorney has said his client never told Jarvis to pour the alcohol on Brewer and was just a witness to the attack.

In February, Mendez, now 18, pleaded no contest to a charge of attempted second-degree murder and was sentenced to 11 years in prison, followed by 19 years of probation. Jarvis, 17, also pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 8 years in prison with a probation term of 22 years.

Bent rejected a plea deal to take his chances in court.

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