Courts & Crime

3 teens accused of setting boy on fire will be tried as adults

Three of the five teenagers accused of setting fire to 15-year-old Michael Brewer of Deerfield Beach will be charged as adults, the Broward State Attorney's Office said Monday.

Denver Jarvis and Matthew Bent, both 15, and Jesus Mendez, 16, were charged with one count of second-degree attempted murder.

Adult charges have not been filed against Steven Shelton, 15, or Jeremy Jarvis, 13. Those two were released from custody on Monday, but prosecutors have not ruled out charging them as adults in the future.

"This is a very active, ongoing investigation,'' assistant state attorney Maria Schneider said. ``As additional information becomes available, then we have the option to revisit our filing decision.''

The five are accused of attacking Brewer on Oct. 12 at a Deerfield Beach apartment complex, dousing Brewer with rubbing alcohol and setting him aflame.

Brewer, who was burned over 65 percent of his body, remains in critical condition at the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Hospital burn center in Miami. His great-aunt, Patti Gendron, said Monday he is recovering nicely.

Skin from a cadaver has been grafted onto his arms and legs, and the hair on his head has started to grow back.

``A lot of his frustration is not being able to talk to us,'' Gendron said. ``It really bugs him.''

The family has chosen not to comment on the legal case except to note that they hope ``God and the law will do the right thing.''

According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, Brewer owed Bent, a classmate, $40 for a video game. To get even when he didn't get the money, Bent tried to steal a $500 custom bicycle owned by Brewer's dad. The Brewer family reported the incident to BSO. Sheriff's deputies arrested Bent, who spent the night in a juvenile facility.

Neither Bent nor Brewer, who was afraid of retaliation, went to school Oct. 12. But just before 3 p.m., Brewer ran into Bent and the four other teens at the Lime Tree Apartments, 429 SE 13th Ct.

Investigators have said that Bent ordered the others to set him ablaze with rubbing alcohol. Denver Jarvis poured the rubbing alcohol, while Mendez used a lighter to set Brewer on fire. The others watched and did nothing as Brewer, burning, ran to a nearby swimming pool.

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