Teen Burning Suspects Back in Court

Lawyers want to keep jailhouse phone conversations private

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Broward Sheriff's Office
    From left: Jesus Mendez, Denver Colorado Jarvis and Matthew Bent. The three teens are charged with setting 15-year-old Michael Brewer on fire.

    The three teens accused in the brutal burning of Mikey Brewer last year were in court Monday morning as their attorneys try to keep their jailhouse phone conversations under wraps.

    Lawyers for Denver Jarvis, Matthew Bent and Jesus Mendez are hoping to keep the three teens' taped phone discussions private after the Sun-Sentinel filed a motion seeking their release.

    It's unknown what's on the tapes but the teen's attorneys are concerned they could be prejudicial to their defense and filed an emergency motion to keep them private.

    "There is no legitimate public interest in releasing the telephonic conversations of this child," Bent's lawyer, Gordon Weekes, said during today's hearing. "The Sun-Sentinel is essentially going on a fishing expedition to obtain telephonic conversations to create or report on new information in this case."

    Phone calls made by inmates to anyone besides their attorney are public record in Florida, but the decision is ultimately up to the judge, who said he'd make a decision in the next day on whether the tapes will be released.

    Bent and Jarvis, both 15, and Mendez, 16, have been locked up since the Oct. 12 attack on Brewer at a Deerfield Beach apartment complex. They're accused of surrounding Brewer, who was their classmate, after an argument over a 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 15 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.

    Bent, Jarvis and Mendez have all been charged with attempted murder as adults.

    In April, the attorney for Bent indicated that he'd ask for a change of venue for the case.

    The argument for keeping the tapes private didn't get much help last week, when the phone conversations of Josie Ratley beating suspect Wayne Treacy were released to the public. Treacy, who has been behind bars since the March 17 attack on Ratley, mostly chats about food and his future in the taped conversations with his parents. Treacy's lawyer, Russell Williams, called the release an invasion of privacy.

    Also last week, Jeremy Jarvis, the younger brother of Denver, was arrested for burglary. Jeremy Jarvis and a friend allegedly broke into a Pompano Beach home to steal a Nintendo Wii.

    Jeremy Jarvis was one of five kids who were originally charged in the Brewer attack. Prosecutors later dropped charges against the 13-year-old and the other suspect.