FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A teen accused of being the ringleader in a fiery attack on a Deerfield Beach teenager has been ruled competent to stand trial.
Defendant Matthew Bent, who is accused in the 2009 attack on Michael Brewer, entered the Broward County Courthouse on Thursday in the hope of getting a change of venue, but then he got a change of lawyers.
Bent's defense attorneys argued that he is not mentally competent to stand trial, but Judge Michael Robinson disagreed.
The next issue was where the trial would be. The judge ruled it would be in Broward County.
"Without a doubt, we think there will be some challenges finding a fair jury, but the judge ruled that we've got to give it a try. We're going to give it a try," said Bent's attorney, Perry Thurston.
Police said that in 2009, Bent told a friend to cover Brewer, then 15, with rubbing alcohol, then told another teen to set him on fire. Of the three teens formally charged, Bent is the only one who has chosen to go to trial. Suspects Denver Jarvis and Jesus Mendez both pleaded no contest and are already serving prison time.
Now, the Brewer family is ready to find justice.
"We have a lot of faith," said Brewer's grandmother, Maureen Brewer. "It's tough on us because it's stressful, but we'll be OK. I think we've proven that we're incredibly strong. Michael's very strong."
Michael Brewer was not in court Thursday.
Bent's trial is set to start May 31.
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