Teens Who Set Boy on Fire To Be Charged As Adults

Fort Lauderdale, FL—On Monday, three teenage boys who are accused of having deliberately set another teenager on fire will be not only charged as adults, but also charged with attempted murder, according to prosecutors.

The incident occurred on October 12, when the boys allegedly doused 15-year-old Michael Brewer with rubbing alcohol and set him on fire with a cigarette lighter. The group had argued with Brewer over a report of a stolen bicycle. According to witnesses who spoke to police, the boys called Brewer a “snitch” as they poured the alcohol onto his body and used the lighter to ignite it.

Brewer remains in critical condition in a Miami hospital, with burns over 65 percent of his body. He has been unable to speak with the police or the media, both because he is heavily sedated and because he is on a ventilator which helps him to breathe, but does not allow him to speak. Covered in bandages which must be changed daily in a process that takes four hours, Brewer is reported to be recovering, albeit slowly.

The three teens, who will each face one count of attempted murder in the second degree, are Matthew Bent and Denver Jarvis, both 15, and Jesus Mendez, 16. Two other boys have been taken into custody in the incident, but have not had charges filed against them by the state attorney’s office. The boys, who are 13 and 15, were charged earlier, with aggravated battery, in juvenile court. They have both been released from custody. The 13-year-old is Denver Jarvis’s brother.

Maria Schneider, assistant state attorney in charge of Broward County’s juvenile unit, said that the the investigation is ongoing. “This is a very active, ongoing investigation,” she said. “As additional information becomes available, then we have the option to revisit our filing decision.”

According to prosecutors, the three teenagers who were charged Monday as adults will most likely be arraigned next week.

The mother of one of the boys, Sherry Jarvis, issued an apology to the Brewer family last week. “This is a horrible incident that never should have occurred,” she said. “And we pray for Michael’s recovery every day.”

The Jarvis family has received death threats as a result of the boys’ alleged participation in the attack. According to the family’s attorney, the 13-year-old Jarvis son will not be returning home, but will be staying with relatives out of the area.

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