Two of three Deerfield Beach teenagers accused of dousing then-15-year-old classmate Michael Brewer with alcohol and setting him on fire over a video game debt have been sentenced.
Jesus Mendez, now 18, and Dever Jarvis, 17, plead no contest Wednesday to attempted second-degree murder charges in a Broward County courtroom. Mendez was sentenced to 11 years in prison -- four shy of the 15 sought by prosecutors -- followed by 19 years of probation, according Jarvis received 8 years in prison with a 22-year probation term.
A third teen accused will go to trial in March. Matthew Bent, 17, did not take a plea deal in the horrific attack, which made national headlines in October 2009 after Jarvis allegedly poured the alcohol on Bent's command and Mendez flicked a lighter, igniting the blaze that put Brewer in the hospital for months with excruciating burns over two-thirds of his body.
Brewer was present in court Wednesday with members of his family, including a grandmother who recounted how he would kick his legs in his hospital bed, believing he was still on fire. The family has since moved to West Palm Beach, where he is reportedly attending an alternative high school.
"I think they should get longer," he said, according to WSVN. "It's all right. I know they're going to mess up anyway."
Investigators say the incident resulted from a dispute over a $40 sale of a video game. After Brewer refused to pay, Bent allegedly stole a bicycle belonging to Brewer's father and was arrested when the family called police.
Brewer stayed home from school the next day, and went to visit a friend at a nearby apartment complex. But there he ran into Bent, Jarvis, Mendez and several other teens, and was ultimately lit on fire -- forcing him to jump into a nearby pool to extinguish the flames as his assailants ran away.
"We hoped then and still hope today that he never remembers the pain he went through," grandmother Reenie Brewer told the judge at sentencing, according to the Palm Beach Post. "The pain was worse than a shot to the head."
Deerfield Beach Middle made headlines for a second horrific bullying attack when months later, 15-year-old Josie Lou Ratley was beaten nearly to death by a classmate's boyfriend over a round of text messages -- prompting Brewer to speak out on the Today Show about his "terrible" school.
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more