Judge weighs new trial for teen burning

Sept. 13, 2012 at 3:51 PM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Sept. 13 (UPI) -- A Florida judge was set to hear a defense attorney's argument that his client deserves a new trial in the brutal burning of a middle school classmate.

Matthew Bent, now 18, was convicted by a jury of being the ringleader behind an attack on Michael Brewer, then 15, of Fort Lauderdale. Bent and two other classmates, Denver Jarvis and Jesus Mendez, were convicted of pouring rubbing alcohol on Brewer and lighting him on fire.

Brewer survived by jumping into a swimming pool, but suffered second- and third-degree burns over two-thirds of his body, WFOR-TV, Miami, reported.

Bent's attorney persuaded a judge to hear arguments Thursday that his client deserves a new trial, saying prosecutors failed to meet their burden of proof that Bent conceived the attack.

Bent faces a possible 15 years in prison if the judge rules his conviction valid.

Jarvis and Mendez pleaded no contest and have been sentenced to 8- and 11-year prison terms, respectively.

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