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The mother of Michael Brewer, the teen who was brutally burned in an attack, testified during opening statements on Tuesday in the trial of the alleged ringleader. Brewer's mother Valerie Brewer gave an emotional testimony.
Two of the teens who have pleaded no contest to setting their classmate on fire at a Deerfield Beach apartment complex are set to testify in the trial of a third teen charged in the brutal attack.
Denver Jarvis and Jesus Mendez are expected to take the stand Wednesday in the trial of 17-year-old Matthew Aaron Bent, who is charged with second-degree attempted murder in the Oct. 12, 2009 attack on Michael Brewer.
Bent is being tried as an adult and is facing up to 30 years in prison.
Prosecutors say there was a dispute between the boys, with Bent claiming Brewer owed him money. Bent, the ringleader of the attack, directed Jarvis to pour rubbing alcohol on Brewer before Mendez pulled out a lighter and sparked a blaze that set Brewer on fire, prosecutors said.
Bent's attorney has said his client never told Jarvis to pour the alcohol on Brewer and was just a witness to the attack.
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.
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.
Opening statements in the case began Tuesday but were overshadowed by the emotional testimony of Brewer's mother, Valerie.
"My daughter answers the phone, it's BSO. They tell me that Michael had been set on fire and they were going to Traumahawk him to the hospital," Valerie Brewer said, choking back sobs as she recounted the moments she was told about the attack. "I'm standing in the front yard and the Traumahawk flew over my head."
Valerie Brewer told the jury her son has scars on 65 percent of his body and must still go through physical therapy and has lingering emotional issues.
"The night terrors that we go through, he wakes up screaming that he's still on fire," she said.