A Florida judge has rejected a new trial for the alleged ringleader in an attack on a teenager who was soaked in alcohol and set on fire.
Circuit Judge Matthew Destry ruled Monday there was insufficient evidence of juror misconduct to warrant a new trial for 18-year-old Matthew Bent. Bent was convicted in June of aggravated battery in the 2009 attack on Michael Brewer, who was then 15.
The jury foreperson claimed there was racial animosity and division on the panel that affected the verdict. Bent is black and Brewer is white.
Bent faces up to 15 years in prison.
Two other youths are serving prison time after pleading no contest to attempted murder charges. Brewer survived after jumping into an apartment complex swimming pool and has largely recovered.