Teens Sentenced in Brewer Burning Case

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

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    NEWSLETTERS

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

    Two of the three teens accused of setting classmate Michael Brewer on fire in a horrific attack in 2009 were sentenced to 30-year terms that include prison and probation after they pleaded no contest Wednesday to attempted second-degree murder charges.

    Jesus Mendez, 18, entered his plea in Broward court and was sentenced to 11 years in prison, followed by 19 years of probation. Prosecutors had asked for 15 years behind bars for Mendez.

    Mendez's mother said she was too emotional to speak as she made her way out of the courtroom.

    Denver Jarvis, 17, also pleaded no contest to the second-degree attempted murder charge and was sentenced to 8 years in prison with a probation term of 22 years.

    Matthew Bent, also 17, decided not to plead no contest and will head to trial in March. All three had previously rejected plea deals from prosecutors.

    Brewer and his family attended the proceedings, where grandmother Maureen Brewer made an emotional plea before the sentences were handed down.

    She said the attack was "the most heinous act anyone can commit, to set somebody on fire," and detailed her grandson's long and difficult road to recovery.

    "I think they should get longer but that's alright, I know they're going to mess up anyway," Michael Brewer said outside the courtroom. "They knew exactly what they were doing and it doesn't mean anything, how old or how young they are, they knew exactly what they were doing."

    Bent, Jarvis and Mendez were arrested after the Oct. 12, 2009 attack on Brewer at a Deerfield Beach apartment complex.

    Police say they confronted Brewer, who was their classmate, after an argument over a $40 video game that Brewer had reportedly agreed to buy from one of them.

    One of the teens doused Brewer in rubbing alcohol, and Mendez allegedly lit a match and threw it on the now 17-year-old, who jumped into a nearby pool to put out the flames.

    Brewer was burned on over 60 percent of his body and spent months in the hospital recovering from his injuries.

    Prosecutor Maria Schneider retold the whole story in court Wednesday and showed photos of Brewer in the aftermath of the burning.

    She added not only was the crime egregious, but the fact that the teens ran away after setting Brewer on fire and did nothing to help him made it more egregious.

    Two other teens were arrested in the attack but prosecutors later dropped charges against them.

    "It's about time and I hope that everybody understands that the message we want to put out there is it's not alright to be mean and hateful to other people for any reason, especially some reason that's as silly as this," Maureen Brewer said.