However, the alleged theft was followed by a tense confrontation between Bent and Brewer’s father, who is also named Michael.
Michael Brewer Sr. testified Tuesday that he went looking for Bent after hearing about the attempted theft. He said he found Bent a few blocks away, told him to stay away from the house, and then uttered a racial epithet at the boy as he drove away.
About 15 minutes later, the elder Brewer testified, Jarvis knocked on the door of the Brewers’ home, with Bent standing in the street pulling at his shirt and yelling for Michael Brewer Sr. to come out and fight.
The Brewers called police and pressed charges against Bent.
The attack on Michael Brewer occurred the following day in the parking lot of an apartment complex near Deerfield Beach Middle School, where all the boys attended.
Calvin Kenny, 17, was with the group of boys when the attack occurred. He testified Tuesday that he overheard Bent telling Jarvis to pour a bottle of rubbing alcohol, which the boys had just found, on Brewer.
“He said pour it on him to mess with him,’’ Kenny said.
Kenny added that he also saw Bent motion to Jarvis to pour the rubbing alcohol on Brewer, who had his back to Jarvis. But Kenny did not see Mendez flick the lighter. He said he only felt the heat of the flame, and then saw Brewer run away screaming.
Leslie Nielsen, who was living in the apartment complex at the time, said she saw Brewer engulfed in flames “from head to toe.”
She said she ran to the pool after Brewer. “He reached out his hands, and his skin came off,’’ Nielsen said.
Nielsen’s boyfriend then jumped into the pool, she said, and pushed Brewer up a ladder by the seat of the boy’s shorts. She said she saw Brewer take a lighter out of his pocket and toss it behind him.
Prosecutors played a recording of Nielsen’s 911 call, in which Brewer is heard screaming in agony in the background.
“Please help me,’’ he screams.
Trial resumes Wednesday, when Jarvis and Mendez are scheduled to testify. Jarvis and Mendez never struck a deal with prosecutors, though, and their sentences did not depend on a promise to testify against Bent.