Michael Brewer, Set On Fire Over $40 Video Game, Remains in Critical Condition
Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 12:00 pm
|Michael can't speak and opened his eyes for the first time last week|
Prosecutors in Fort Lauderdale are faced with a difficult predicament. Yesterday, they received a nine day extension in their case against five juveniles charged with setting 15-year-old Michael Brewer on fire after he failed to repay a kid for a $40 video game. But if they don't charge them as adults by November 12, the boys will have to be released...
Prosecutors have been delaying the charges, hoping to get a witness statement from Michael. But given the teen's condition -- he suffered burns over 65 percent of his body -- that doesn't seem possible anytime soon.
|13-year-old Jeremy Jarvis can only be charged as an adult if Michael dies|
"For the kind of discussion they need to have, he can't do that," Namias told the Miami Herald. "We're still at 'squeeze my hand,' just to know that he's conscious and aware of what's going on around him."
Michael now rests on a balloon-like mattress to keep pressure off of his body. He's forced to breathe through a ventilator because he can't do it on his own. His daily bandage changes alone take four hours.
All this is expected in such severe burn cases, where basic survival is considered a score. He still runs the risk of infections and organ failure. "When you say he's doing OK, in this situation it means he's alive and responding to treatments," Namias told CNN. "We're still dealing with the respiratory failure. We're dealing with infection now and the need to supply the massive amount of nutrition that this person needs to survive."
|Matthew Bent is accused of ordering the fire after her was caught trying to steal Micheal's dad's bike|
13-year-old Jeremy Jarvis is the only one expected to be charged as a juvenile. Under Florida law, he's too young to be charged as an adult unless Michael dies. His lawyer, Stephen Melnick, hopes that Jeremy can be released to relatives, so he can be taken out of the area and home-schooled for his own protection. A court psychologist will do an evaluation before his next court date, November 10, to see if he poses a risk to the community.
UPDATE: Michael's sister found burned dolls in the backyard of their home. Either someone's working a low-rent form of intimidation, or they're just a huge dick.
|Denver Jarvis is alleged to have poured the rubbing alcohol on Michael|
She told police she heard the dog barking at about 2:30 a.m. the night before, but didn't get up to see what it was about. "We don't know what the motive was," Broward County sheriff's spokesman Jim Leljedal told the Miami Herald. "It probably was a sick joke. But if it was something more than that, we would like to know that, too.''
UPDATE II: Only three of the five kids accused of setting fire to Michael will face adult charges.
|Jesus Mendez, the only kid to show remorse, light Michael on fire|
16-year-old Steven Shelton is still being investigated, though it's unknown what role he actually played other than surrounding Michael so he couldn't escape. But murder charges haven't been ruled out against him.
Under Florida law, 13-year-old Jeremy Jarvis can only be charged as an adult if Michael dies.
UPDATE III: Mom says Matthew Bent was an altar boy who was always good to his family.
Cheri Bent is painting a much different picture of her son than police have painted so far. She says the 15-year-old was a good boy who did his chores, played basketball, and even served as an altar boy at church. She also says she knew Michael as a friend of her son.
You'd expect a mom to say good things about her own boy. What mother wouldn't? But she didn't address the specifics of the case -- or the environment Matthew grew up in. As we wrote last month, most of the accused attackers had losers for parents. Matthew's dad has a long history of drug, assault, and burglary charges.
But Cheri Bent insists they did their best with their seven kids. "We tried everything in our power to raise our children in the way they should be raised,'' she told the Miami Herald, adding that she prays for Michael. "I would like the Brewer family to know we are deeply sorry for what has happened to their son. We are praying that Michael Brewer has a good recovery.''
UPDATE IV: Michael is finally able to give his account of the attack to police.
The teenager discussed the assault with detectives yesterday, though police aren't releasing details about what he said. He is, however, showing steady improvement, though he remains hospitalized and will likely stay there for months to come.
Meanwhile, supporters in South Florida continue to raise money for the family. The Miami Dolphins took part in a fundraiser that netted $50,000 for Michael. The Florida Panthers hockey team has also auctioned off autographed equipment, tickets, and rides on the Zamboni.
The three kids charged with attempted murder won't be back in court until January. The state declined to press charges against 13-year-old Jeremy Jarvis and 16-year-old Steven Shelton. Both have been released.
Also see Teens Douse 15-Year-Old Michael Brewer, Set Him On Fire