Five Florida Youths Charged with Dousing Teen with Alcohol and Setting Him Ablaze Because He Turned Them in for Attempting to Steal His Father’s Bicycle (w/Update)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

UPDATE (10/16/09, 2:05 p.m.): Michael Brewer is far from being out of the woods, even at this moment. He is currently fighting for his life at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. The whole episode started over his refusal to repay Matthew Bent, the young black boy he turned over to juvenile authorities, $40 Bent loaned to him to buy a video game. So it appears that Bent did have a valid issue, but he should have taken this up with his and Brewer’s parents, and not with the boy. Taking the bicycle, which looks like a sleek, low-rider model, was wrong. Setting Brewer afire was very wrong. But if Brewer’s parents refused to repay Bent in the dispute, they were wrong.

Psychological tests have been ordered for the youngest defendant in the case, Jeremy Jarvis, 13. Law enforcement officials are still wondering whether to prosecute the boys as adults. In many respects, the boys are still children. One boy may show remorse for his actions one day, and the next day all of them are laughing over the incident, whether in bravado or in genuine hilarity, no one knows. For the record, Matthew Bent is the only black child involved; Jeremy and Denver Jarvis, brothers, and Steven Shelton are white, and Jesus Mendez is Latino. The parents of the perpetrators tell their story at this link.

One more thing: I am revising some of what I said earlier. I am totally in agreement that under any other name–whether it is called finking, ratting, omerta, or snitching–that calling someone a turncoat for naming a crime or a criminal pertains to all peoples, whether Italians, Latinos, KKK members, policemen, or black gangbangers. It is not something that is exclusive to just one group or organization. However, “no-snitching” is becoming increasingly part of American youth culture at this time.

First time I’ve heard about this, from CBS News:

Three teenagers have been arrested for intentionally setting a 15-year-boy on fire, leaving him hospitalized with burns over 65 percent of his body, police said.

According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Michael Brewer was sitting by a swimming pool Monday afternoon in Deerfield Beach when he was doused with a flammable liquid and set on fire.

Court documents say the liquid was rubbing alcohol.

Brewer’s mother, Valerie, told CBS Station WFOR correspondent Carey Codd, “We just don’t understand why anyone would do this.”

A witness said she saw a group of boys running in the complex so she went outside to investigate.

“Somebody threw something at (Michael),” Providencia Maldonado said. “I don’t know if it was gas or alcohol or something and the next thing you know the kid is on fire.”

A neighbor, hearing the young man’s screams for help, put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, said Brewer’s sister, Malissa Durkee.

The teen then ripped off his shirt and jumped into the pool.


A relative told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that the teenager is in serious condition but doing OK. Brewer may be in the hospital for several months to receive numerous skin grafts and to recover from his injuries, said his mother.

The suspects are two 15-year-old boys and a 13-year-old boy. All are accused of setting Brewer on fire. Court documents say the attack was over money the alleged attackers said Brewer owed them.

Detectives originally believed the motive was payback for a thwarted bike theft.

Investigators also said they believe torching the teen was a well-planned attack and not something that just happened by chance.

Actually, the seventh grader suffered burns over 75-80% of his upper body. And the boys were allegedly calling him a “snitch.”

The suspects’ names have been released, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Their names are Matthew Bent, 15; Denver Colorado Jarvis, 15; and his brother Jeremy Jarvis, 13. They appeared before Circuit Judge Elijah Williams this morning. Judge Williams ordered the Jarvis brothers and Bent to be each held in a juvenile detention center for 21 days. They were ordered not to speak to each other, and not to contact Brewer.

Two more teens, in addition to the three who were arrested yesterday, were picked up about 15 minutes ago (it’s 3:35 p.m. Central DST now), it was announced. Their names are Jesus Mendez and Steven Shelton, both of whom are also 15 years old.

The story is that it was Jesus Mendez who actually used the lighter. He is being charged with attempted second degree murder. And Denver Jarvis splashed him with rubbing alcohol as the others may have held Brewer down.

Most of Brewer’s hair and his eyelashes, witnesses say, are burned off. Brewer was suffering so much pain that he had to be induced into a coma. Burn specialists later scraped off his skin and when he awoke later that night, he was given even more “heavy” anaesthesia. It will take several months of therapy and skin grafts before he recovers.

Michael Brewer is a white child. Like many black people, when I hear about stuff like this, I just hope the perps aren’t black. If they’re white, though, that means that the “no-snitching” rule, by imitation, has passed into the white community, and that means big trouble. The police are already shocked; they say that they have never seen or heard of this kind of reprisal among youth. That may mean “white” youth, because we are not even a month gone from the beating death of Derrion Albert in Chicago. It may be that the young hoods-in-waiting are mostly white. Jesus Mendez is the only boy named that is identifiably Latino, if not Cuban. A brother-in-law, however, had to stay at the family’s apartment home because they are now afraid of further retaliation from the parents of the children involved.

“If they had the guts to light him on fire, then they have the guts to do something to the house,” [Danny] Martinez said.

I swear, these kids think that they are living The Godfather or Grand Theft Auto or something. Don’t they know that things in the movies or games aren’t real or aren’t meant to be emulated? And that real people die or are maimed when you do things like this?

~ by blksista on October 13, 2009.

7 Responses to “Five Florida Youths Charged with Dousing Teen with Alcohol and Setting Him Ablaze Because He Turned Them in for Attempting to Steal His Father’s Bicycle (w/Update)”

  1. Derrion Albert wasn’t killed because of “no snitching.” It’s a different situation. That young man died because he hung around to watch a fight and tried to help someone in it, which made the gangs turn on him. Horrible, horrible payback for trying to help. My heart breaks over this.

    I have not read anywhere else that Michael Brewer’s parents dismissed the other child’s claims about being owed $40. What article gave that information? I am curious to know.

    Rap artists have brought the “no snitching” stupidity back into the mainstream with gangsta songs. Kids of all types listen to rap and so it’s spread beyond African-Americans into the mainstream.

    Question: Is it a sign of progress that racially diverse gangs of little thugs are now perpetrating horrible crimes together? It’s an interesting and painful question.


    • Sister, “no snitching” is allowing the other perpetrators to walk. in the Derrion Albert case. There were other kids on that video that the police are trying to apprehend. Everyone has shut up since. That’s the reason why I have said that “no snitching” is still the rule of the day.

      It’s apparent that the Brewer parents wanted Matthew Bent locked up and did not take into consideration that he wanted the bike in payment for the unpaid loan. Check the links I have provided. The boy had a valid complaint. He wasn’t taking the bike just to steal it; he was taking it because Brewer refused to pay back the loan.


  2. Pardon my language but that shit those kids did to that boy ANGERS me to NO AVAIL!!! There is no way those demonic beings can do that to someone and call themselves HUMAN!!! I was angered seeing those tears from that mother’s eyes crying over the fate of her son who had been bullied by these bastard kids. It saddens me to realize that these kids who did this to this boy could have that much hatred and anger towards him to do something like that. What kind of households do they learn this behavior from or perhaps not receive enough love, hugs, nurture, logic, common sense from??


    • As I said before in the update, the parents of the boy who was attacked paid no heed to Matthew Bent’s claims that Michael Brewer owed him $40, and forced him to be taken to juvenile. That, in itself, upped the tension among the families. It is tantamount to saying Bent was a liar and a thief. It doesn’t justify what happened to Brewer, but it makes it even more obvious that the parents meant for Brewer to shirk his responsibility for the matter, and not pay.

      This whole thing should have been given over to the parents to solve and not have involved the children at all.

      Where are they getting this behavior from? The parents (us versus them) and popular culture. No child is to blame for anything that they do against another child–until the cops are called in.


  3. I agree with the previous comment that this isn’t about no-snitching spreading from black communities to white ones. No snitching has been around forever by all races, all ethnicities. Mafia, Klan, you name it.

    This is about gang violence and evil youth, not race.


  4. i’m not one to do the ‘i hope they’re not black’ hand wringing but i want to say that the ‘no-snitching’ isn’t exclusive to black and latinos, and it never has been

    my heart goes out to the child and family


    • You are so right. The Klan’s doings counted on a certain omerta as well in the communities where they proliferated.

      It’s not hand wringing to hope that when something that hits the headlines doesn’t involve black people. Especially on networks like Fox, any kind of perverse criminal activity is counted as just one more reason why whites should have never “given” us rights, and that they should lock all of us up.

      But this “no snitching,” just like drugs, is beginning to influence whites. It’s a wake-up call. Just so long that such activity landed in our laps, they don’t give a damn. But when their kids start showing such behavior, it’s the only reason that they will use to finally do something about it.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: