“He’ll wake up screaming and crying,’’ she said.
Before delivering the sentence, Destry said he had weighed the case “for a long time,’’ and that it was not an easy decision.
A Broward jury found Bent guilty of aggravated battery in June but cleared him of the more serious charge of attempted second-degree murder.
Bent was the only one of three defendants charged with attempted second-degree murder for the attack to go to trial.
Denver Jarvis, 18, who admitted to pouring the rubbing alcohol on Brewer, pleaded no contest and was sentenced to eight years in prison followed by probation. Jesus Mendez, 19, who admitted to flicking the lighter that set Brewer on fire, also pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Though witnesses at the trial differed in their recollection of events leading up to the attack, all of the witnesses who were at the scene said no one ever discussed burning Brewer.
Brewer, who was 15 at the time, saved his own life by jumping into a nearby swimming pool.
On Thursday, the Bent family’s pastor, the Rev. Merwyn Tracy Smith, testified that Matthew Bent had been an altar boy at St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral in Deerfield Beach, and that he was always respectful of his elders.
Defense attorneys testified that Bent had completed numerous life skills courses while in Broward County Jail, and earned his General Equivalency Diploma.
But Destry remained convinced of Bent’s culpability in the attack.
“Mr. Bent is not the person who actually lit Michael Brewer on fire. That responsibility properly attaches to Mr. Mendez,’’ Destry said. “However, I cannot ignore that but for Mr. Bent’s orchestration of these events, none of this would have happened.’’
After Destry handed down the sentence, a woman seated with the Bent family wailed.
Michael remained silent, but his mother, Valerie Brewer, shed tears and hugged her son.
Bent, who had faced a maximum prison sentence of 15 years, will get credit for time already served, which has been a little more than three years.
Outside the courtroom, Dennis Bent vowed to appeal his son’s conviction.
“This isn’t justice,’’ he said.
But the Brewer family, which has since moved to West Palm Beach, was satisfied.
“We got justice today,’’ Valerie Brewer said. “Now, we’re going to close this chapter.’’