Teen Gets 11 Years in Prison in Michael Brewer Burning Attack

Matthew Bent got 11 years in prison

By Ari Odzer and Brian Hamacher
|  Thursday, Dec 20, 2012  |  Updated 7:42 PM EDT
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The final defendant in the Michael Brewer burning case on Thursday was sentenced to 11 years in prison. NBC 6 reporter Ari Odzer reports from the Broward courthouse on the case against Matthew Bent.

The final defendant in the Michael Brewer burning case on Thursday was sentenced to 11 years in prison. NBC 6 reporter Ari Odzer reports from the Broward courthouse on the case against Matthew Bent.

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Judge Denies New Trial to Matthew Bent in Michael Brewer Burning Case

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.
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The final defendant in the Michael Brewer burning case on Thursday was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Broward County Circuit Judge Matthew Destry sentenced Matthew Bent, 18, to prison with credit for time served. Prosecutors say Bent instigated the 2009 attack in which Brewer was doused with alcohol and set on fire.

Unlike two other boys who pleaded no contest in the attack, Bent didn't take responsibility for his part in the fiery attack. Still, he apologized to the victim.

"I just want to say sorry to Michael and his family for the tragedy they went through," Bent said at Thursday's hearing.

Bent, the only defendant who went to trial, was convicted of aggravated battery in the Deerfield Beach attack that left Brewer, then 15, with severe burns. Brewer jumped in a pool to extinquish the flames that were engulfing him.

Brewer had to undergo skin grafts and suffered breathing complications. He had to repeatedly visit the hospital for treatment.

Bent had faced a maximum 15-year prison sentence, but prosecutors on Thursday asked for 11 years to match the sentence given to the boy who set Brewer on fire.

Destry said that although Bent didn't light Brewer on fire, Bent did spark the attack.

Brewer attended the hearing but declined to speak to the news media afterward. His mother said the family is satisfied with Bent's sentence.

"We got justice today," Valerie Brewer said. "I'm satisfied with that. We're going to close this chapter. We're going to open a new chapter to make the future bright."

Meanwhile, Bent's parents said their son wasn't guilty. Cheri Bent said, "His name, our name, has been dragged through the mud. It's been butchered. The child is not like this." 

Judge Denies New Trial to Matthew Bent

Jesus Mendez, 18, who pulled out a lighter and set Brewer on fire, pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 11 years in prison followed by 19 years of probation.

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.

Jurors in Brewer Burning Case Interviewed

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