Defense: Bent did not plot burning attack

Teen could face 30 years in prison

Published On: Jun 12 2012 11:32:16 AM EDT   Updated On: Jun 12 2012 04:26:59 PM EDT
Matthew Bent
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -

A defense attorney says a South Florida teenager did not plot or take part in an attack that resulted in a middle school classmate being set ablaze and nearly killed. 

Attorney Perry Thurston said in an opening statement Tuesday that Matthew Bent was present but did not orchestrate the 2009 attack on then-15-year-old Michael Brewer. Thurston told jurors the blame belongs on two other boys, one who poured rubbing alcohol on Brewer and another who lit the fire with a lighter. 

Prosecutor Maria Schneider says Bent offered to pay one boy $5 to pour the alcohol on Brewer. Schneider says there was a dispute between the two over a $40 video game. 

Bent, now 17, faces a maximum 30-year prison sentence if convicted of attempted second-degree murder.