State: No Juror Race Bias In Fla. Teen Burn Case

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A Broward County prosecutor says there’s not enough evidence of racial bias among jurors to warrant a new trial for the alleged ringleader in an attack on a teenager who was soaked in alcohol and set on fire.

A defense attorney for 18-year-old Matthew Bent countered Wednesday that race played such a role in deliberations that Bent’s aggravated battery conviction should not stand. A judge says he’ll decide by Monday whether to order a new trial.

Bent faces up to 15 years for the 2009 attack on Michael Brewer, who was then 15.

The jury foreperson claimed there was racial animosity and division that affected the verdict. Bent is black and Brewer is white.

Two other youths are serving prison time after pleading no contest to attempted murder charges.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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