Burning trial of Fla. teen to begin

June 12, 2012 at 10:09 AM
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., June 12 (UPI) -- Prosecutors say they concede a Florida teenager accused in the burning of another teen never set the victim on fire nor asked others to do so.

But prosecutor Maria Schneider said Matthew Bent and two other attackers knew rubbing alcohol poured on Michael Brewer was flammable, and put Brewer's life in danger by splashing the liquid on him, the South Florida Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale reported Tuesday.

The trial for Bent, 17, charged as an adult with second-degree attempted murder was to begin Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale. The two other attackers, Denver Jarvis, 17, and Jesus Mendez, 18, entered no contest pleas earlier this year and are serving their sentences.

Witnesses say it was Bent who ordered Jarvis to splash the rubbing alcohol onto Brewer's neck and back during the Oct. 12, 2009, confrontation in Deerfield Beach.

Bent's lawyers deny the teen gave any such order. In a recent deposition, Brewer said he didn't see or hear Bent direct Jarvis' actions, the Sun Sentinel said.

When he was arrested, Mendez told investigators he acted alone when he flicked a lighter. He said he wanted to hassle Brewer and didn't expect the alcohol fumes to ignite.

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