FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Oct. 23 (UPI) -- Lawyers surprised a Florida courtroom by announcing they were ready to try the case of four defendants accused of setting a teenager on fire last year.
A plea bargain in the case had been expected, but the defense told a Broward County judge late Friday it was prepared to go to trial, the South Florida Sun Sentinel said Saturday.
The teenage defendants are accused of dousing 16-year-old Michael Brewer with rubbing alcohol and setting him on fire last October during a confrontation in a Deerfield Beach, Fla., parking lot.
Brewer saved himself by jumping into a swimming pool but suffered burns over two-thirds of his body. The motive for the alleged attack by Brewer's former friends was not clear.
Defense attorneys told the Sun Sentinel they were wary of a plea bargain at this time because the current judge in the case was scheduled to transfer to a different department. That would leave open the possibility the new judge could sentence the four as adults rather than send them to a juvenile facility.