Jury selection is in its second phase and moving toward completion in the trial of Matthew Bent, the alleged ringleader in an attack on a South Florida teenager who was set on fire. Michael Brewer's mother, Valerie Brewer, said coming to court makes it difficult to heal.
Jury selection has progressed from an initial pool of more than 200 people to a group of 80 Broward County citizens who have said they either haven't heard of the case or could make a judgment based solely on the evidence presented at trial.
A final panel of six plus alternates will be seated in Broward County Circuit Court for the attempted murder trial of Bent, 17, who has pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors say Bent orchestrated the attack on then-15-year-old Michael Brewer, who was doused with rubbing alcohol and set ablaze in October 2009. He survived after jumping into an apartment complex swimming pool.
Two other youths have pleaded no contest and received prison terms. They will testify against Bent, who maintains he had nothing to do with the attack on Brewer. Bent could get up to 30 years if convicted.
“Come to court, you heal, it’s brought back up, you have to heal all over again," Brewer's mother, Valerie Brewer, said Monday. "We’re looking forward to finally getting to the healing process and Michael moving on with his future."
She said her son is doing okay physically, but has many mental scars that may never go away.
Opening statements are scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday for a trial expected to last about two weeks.