Trial for 'ringleader' in alleged burn attack on FL teen
Legal panel weighs in on facts of case
- Duration 4:50
- Date Jun 15, 2012
Legal panel weighs in on facts of case
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Allegedly doused with alcohol and set on fire.
Says he thought he was going to die this is a big case out of Florida.
On your right is the victim who jumped into a pool to save his own life he has burns over 65% of his body.
-- screen left is the alleged.
Ringleader of the attack who is now charged with attempted murder.
-- this sect in the second degree time connect is a former prosecutor John in line.
As a criminal defense attorney says John stay with you is this this I had the defense there is two other boys that pled no contest to attempted murder charges.
Why do you think they allow this to go to trial.
I think there arguing the intense I think the intent mr.
Matthew bent and what he was intending to do.
-- Michael brewer was -- intending to -- -- -- was in turn -- intending to.
Commit maybe perhaps in this aggravated assault or an aggravated battery so I think that's what they're gonna argue to the jury.
-- got to be affected some.
Look you know the one the one thing the defense has going for in this case is that did the defendant is standing trial Matthew bent -- you know he never he never doubts the victim with -- rubbing alcohol.
They never lit the match however under Florida law.
If -- of the mastermind if you possess the intent can you take any action in furtherance of that.
You could be charged as a principle that's what the prosecutors -- -- doing in this case they're gonna -- to the jury that you'll put forward the evil intent evil actions.
Of the defend -- in masterminding this whole.
Horrific act in the -- in the victim's life would not be forever changed and -- the facts of this case are so egregious.
-- I think the prosecutors actually have a really really strong case.
But the facts have been both sides a little bit and time let's talk a little bit about that guy that Michael dead the victim.
-- previously said that there is a big disagreement over some video game a Little Mermaid video game in fact is what he said this is all over.
But it when he took the stand T said it was over something else related to drives and it didn't.
It it have anything to do that video game and so he admitted to lying.
About the whole reason why there is an altercation at all so how do you think that affects -- prosecution.
Would generate you know you have to look at it hit -- yes they caught him -- -- they caught the victim any inconsistencies remember Florida has pretrial depositions in criminal cases there -- the only states that.
Do that but you have to look at what -- the inconsistency -- what are relates to it really relates to a tangential factor in this case the actual facts of the crime.
Are in very much in dispute.
And I think the defense risks overplaying their hand in this case because remember.
This sympathy in the jury's gonna feel for this victim anyone would feel for this victim is -- -- be so overwhelming.
If the defense looks like there badgering him against tangential points that don't really relate to the crime itself.
It -- risk a tremendous.
Backfired tremendous backlash against their clients John how would you handle it.
Yeah I agree I think that's collateral issue I would and attack the victim I mean the fact that he may have or may not have been talking about The Little Mermaid video is not the key.
Issue in this case the key issue in this case is whether or not this person Matthew -- wanted to burn of Michael brewer -- -- The argument should be that these are -- young kids that were basically taking things too far may have committed aggravated battery.
But it doesn't rise to level of attempted murder because.
Think about it -- attempt is something an act to do something that brings up the natural consequences.
Of something that you specifically intended.
Did Matthew bent specifically intend to -- Michael brewer that is the only issue in this case not attacking the victim -- is not gonna help.
And -- -- final thought on that would you actually put Matthew on the stand to answer direct question did you intend to kill all.
Michael would you have him answer that directly in court before closing arguments which could be potentially today.
No because under -- It look that they attempted murder charge assumes in Florida that he wanted to do it but the consequences were part of his actions there's no specific intense.
Jury instruction like in California.
So it's very dangerous to put him up on that -- I think it's gonna be convicted because of the law because I believe the laws invalid on its face but on appeal they could argue that.
Ben didn't have the specific intent to kill him and hopefully it's overruled then yes that testimony be may be helpful on appeal.
But for the immediate purpose of this trial I don't think it's going to be that helped.
All rot and the big you know it's taking a step back yet.
-- and many young lives very affected by the incident whenever.
Is actually found out in court -- wives that are irreversibly change at -- young age time and John thank you very much we'll watch for the results of this thing hates Jenna.