Fla. Judge Debating New Trial for Teen Accused of Setting Classmate on Fire

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida judge is mulling whether to order a new trial for one of the Florida teenagers convicted of dousing a middle school classmate with alcohol and setting him on fire.

Broward Circuit Judge Matthew Destry said he would issue a decision next Tuesday in the case of 18-year-old Matthew Bent. Bent was convicted in June of aggravated battery in the 2009 attack on Michael Brewer, who was then 15. Brewer survived but suffered severe burns.

Bent faces up to 15 years in prison. His sentencing was delayed because the trial judge stepped aside following controversy involving a juror. Now Bent's attorneys say the new judge should hear all the testimony himself in a new trial.

Two other teenagers pleaded no contest for their roles in the attack.

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