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Entries in Teens (31)

Wednesday
Apr102013

Teen Daughters Lift 3,000-Pound Tractor, Save Father's Life

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LEBANON, Ore.) -- An Oregon man who became pinned by his 3,000-pound tractor has his teenage daughters to thank after they were able to lift the machine off him and quickly summon help.

Jeff Smith, 36, of Lebanon, Ore. was on his 1949 Ferguson tractor on April 1, trying to pull a stump out of his wife’s garden when, while putting it in reverse, his muddy boot slipped off the clutch. With the tractor chained to the stump, the full weight of the tractor fell backwards, right onto his chest. Pinned, Smith immediately called to his teenage daughters for help.

“I was yelling, ‘Oh God, save me.’ There was enough pressure on me, I didn’t know if anyone could hear me. I had just told them to walk the dogs, then I got on the tractor,” Smith told ABC News. “I didn’t know they were outside, or if anyone would hear.”

Luckily for Smith, Haylee, 13, and her older sister Hannah, 16, were outside walking the neighbor’s dogs at the time. They heard their screaming dad, and within 30 seconds they were by his side, and had started trying to dig him out.

“Originally, they tried to dig a little underneath the tractor to free me up, but it wasn’t working. They couldn’t dig enough. I told them they need to try to lift on the front,” he said. “The first time they lifted it, it gave me a brief moment to get a breath in. I couldn’t move yet. They let it down, and it expelled that breath I got. Then they lifted it again and I was able to wiggle.”

Smith said that with the help of his girls, he was able to twist his body away from tractor, getting it off of his torso. But his arm was still pinned. As Haylee hopped on a 4-wheeler to get help from a neighbor, Hannah continued digging underneath her father to relieve pressure.

“It was helping,” Smith said. “I could feel pressure being relieved.”

The neighbor quickly hopped on his tractor and rushed over, and was able to free Smith using his tractor’s shovel.

Sherry Smith, Jeff’s wife, told ABC News that she was in town buying groceries when she received a call from her daughter. Jeff had told her not to tell her mom what had happened. But she did — and at first her mother didn’t believe her, given that it was April Fools’ Day.

“I said, ‘bulls**t. Let me talk to your dad. Let me talk to the paramedics,” she said. “When they said, ‘This is Lebanon Fire Department EMT,’ I went, 'What??’”

Sherry Smith said she rushed to the hospital, and got there before the ambulance.

When the ambulance arrived at their home, the paramedics allowed the shaken girls to ride with their dad to the hospital. Though Haylee, who was a little more flustered, had to ride in the front. Hannah rode with her dad in the back.

“Both of them were amazing, how well they stayed composed during this whole thing,” Smith said. “I don’t know if either of them had a chance to stop and think what could have been.”

Sherry said that her husband, who is already back at his job as a millwright manager, is seeing a neurosurgeon and an orthopedic doctor. In the end, he escaped with a broken wrist, and said he is regaining some feeling in his forearm, thumb, fingertips and chest. But he’s happy to be alive, and thankful for his girls.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about recognition for them,” he said. “I wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t been there.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr102013

Teens Hook Great White Shark Off Coast of Florida

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- A group of teenagers out on a charter fishing trip off of Fort Lauderdale got a rare surprise when they found themselves grappling with a 12-foot, 1,000 pound great white shark.

The four teenagers, who play baseball at Tallahassee Community College, were aboard Taco Perez’s 45-foot charter boat Hooked Up off of Port Everglades Inlet on Tuesday morning when the huge shark was hooked.

“When we got the leader we were like what the hell … this is too big to be a bull shark. We were as surprised as anybody,” Perez told ABC News.

Capt. Paul Paolucci, 38, was with the small fishing group on the six hour trip.

“We had been fishing for about four hours,” Paolucci said. “He swam up and ate our big bait, the bonito. When we saw him, we knew it was going to be a fight. We knew it was going to be something really big.”

The teens — Harry Andro, Josh Shailer and Jared and Tanner Elliott – along with one of the teen’s father and mother, all took turns grappling with the great white using a Penn International 80 fishing reel, in a battle that lasted about two hours.

“Everyone was really excited,” Paolucci said. “It was amazing to see. They didn’t know what we were up against.”

During the struggle, the hook slipped out of the great white’s mouth and caught him in his side, Paolucci said. After a while, the shark was released.

“We ended up just cutting him loose. Nobody wanted to stick their hand down there,” he said.

On top of their rare hooking, the group had an excellent day at sea, having also caught mahi-mahi, king mackerel, bonito, and black fin tuna. But Paolucci said that Tuesday’s great white is his most memorable catch.

“We catch a lot of sharks,” he said. “But nothing like that. That was by far the biggest.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb202013

Mom Allegedly Hires Strippers for Teen Son's Birthday Party

South Glens Falls P.D.(SOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y.) -- A South Glens Falls, N.Y., mother of four is facing jail time after she is said to have hired two strippers to dance at her 16-year-old's birthday party. The birthday party took place in early November, but racy pictures surfaced on Facebook this month, causing a parent whose son was at the party to alert local police.

The South Glens Falls Police Department has charged Judy Viger with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Police say that five of the attendees were younger than 17, and according to the New York Daily News, some were as young as 13.

The birthday party took place in a room at the Spare Time Bowling Center and had 80 people in attendance, the Daily News reported, including other parents. The bowling alley released the following statement to ABC News:

"Spare Time Bowling Center can confirm that a private party did take place on November 3rd, 2012. We neither arranged for (nor paid for) the entertainment that was provided at the party. Spare Time has been cooperating fully with the investigation and will continue to do so."

In a press release, Police accused 33-year-old Viger of "organizing, managing, and paying" for the party, where two strippers performed "personal and intimate dances for some party attendees."

The strippers, who work for the company Tops in Bottoms, aren't facing charges.

Viger could not immediately be reached for comment, but posted on her Facebook page that she and her family have been going through a "difficult time."

South Glens Falls is a small town 200 miles north of New York City. Viger has her first court appearance scheduled for March 7.

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan092013

Body Pulled from NJ Lake Where Teens Fell Through Ice

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Officials pulled a body from the partially frozen New Jersey lake Tuesday afternoon where two teenagers had fallen through the ice less than 24 hours before.

Dive teams relaunched the search of Budd Lake in Mount Olive Township in Morris County Tuesday morning for the two missing teens who fell through the ice Monday night.  Officials said Tuesday morning that the search had became a body-recovery effort instead of a rescue attempt.

The body was pulled from the lake by recovery crews just before 1 p.m. on Tuesday, ABC News affiliate WABC-TV reported.  It had yet to be identified.

Police said the two teens fell through the ice at the lake in Morris County.  The search was called off Monday night at 9:30.  Police believe the teenagers fell through the ice at around 6:19 p.m., WABC reported.

The Morris County prosecutor's office on Tuesday morning said New Jersey state police had an airboat with divers on the lake in an effort to facilitate the recovery mission.  

A man sitting on his porch along the shore of Budd Lake Monday evening said he heard calls for help from the partially frozen lake.  He said that he walked toward a light, which might have been a cellphone.  The man said that he heard two people saying they did not want to die, WABC reported.

The voices, and the light, eventually disappeared.

WABC identified one of the missing teens as 15-year-old Clyde Schimanski III.  His father said that, according to witnesses, his son might have died making his own rescue attempt.

"Clyde was out there, and he seen the kid go through the ice," Clyde Schimanski Jr. said.  "And Clyde went to save him on his bicycle.  And then they both went in.  And then people on the shore heard them screaming.  He was a very good child.  I'm going to miss him a lot."

Mount Olive Mayor Rob Greenbaum indicated in a post on his Facebook page Monday night that the two teenagers were dead.

"I am sad to report that we likely lost two young adults in Mount Olive this evening.  May God bless their families and help ease their pain," he wrote.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct172012

Xbox Runaways from Iowa Found in Eureka, Ill.

Crystal Sunderman | Sheriff Randall Forsyth(EUREKA, Ill.) -- Four Iowa teens who ran away from home after meeting on Xbox were arrested Tuesday and charged with trespassing at an abandoned home in Eureka, Ill., nearly 360 miles away from home.

The two boys and two girls who ranged in age from 13 to 16 disappeared together Saturday. Before that day, the boys had never met the girls in person, their families told ABC News.

The families haven't spoken directly with their children since they left, but got word today that the teens were being held at the Woodford County Correctional Facility. When the phone call came that the kids were safe, their parents were ecstatic.

"I hysterically started crying, just overwhelmed with joy. All floods of emotions. Overjoyed, relief, you name it. I couldn't believe it," said Judy Hamilton, the mother of Jazlyn Visek, 15, one of the two girls.

Visek ran off with Corey Sunderman, 16, whom she began "dating" after meeting on Xbox.

"This was her first serious boyfriend. He gave her a lot of attention she's never got from any guys," Hamilton said.

Their romance may have led to legal trouble, Hamilton said.

"They were cuffed and they are getting charges of trespass, so they will be spending the night in jail," she said.

Crystal Sunderman, Corey's mother, told ABC News she was concerned about what will come after the teens return home.

"I'm starting to worry about what am I going to do to keep Corey, to keep him safe ... We've got to fix whatever it was that made him leave. He's had some problems at school with bullying but honestly, I don't know," she said.

When Visek and Corey Sunderman left town, they were accompanied by Visek's friend Skie Floyd, 15, and Sunderman's pal Austin Boggs, 13.

The boys are from Atlantic while the girls are from Shellsburg, Iowa towns that are three and a half hours apart.

The teens were arrested by Illinois police, six hours from Atlantic. After facing an Illinois judge Wednesday, the teens will be allowed to return home, Crystal Sunderman said.

"We'll probably leave tomorrow morning (for Illinois) in hopes that maybe we can see the kids before they go to court because we haven't had a chance to talk to them at all," she said.

The boys vanished Saturday after police brought them to the Sunderman home Friday night for violating the town's curfew. When Corey's father Tony woke for work Saturday morning, he realized not only were the boys missing, but so were Crystal Sunderman's laptop and $400 from the father's recently cashed paycheck, Crystal Sunderman said.

Also missing was the 1997 gold Jeep Cherokee Tony Sunderman had brought home from his iron and metal recycling job, the mom said. The vehicle, which didn't have a license, was spotted nearly four hours away in Benton County at around 10 a.m. Saturday, the same county the missing Iowa girls call home.

By the time it was located in Illinois, it had acquired stolen license plates from Atlantic, Forsyth said.

Hamilton said she thinks the teens plotted the escape in advance.

"[Visek] had been planning for a couple weeks at least, and I had no idea," Hamilton said.

"I've learned a valuable lesson on media devices and what you allow your children to do on Xbox or Facebook," she said. "I admit I was pretty free with Jazlyn and I trusted her, and I think I gave her too much freedom."

Crystal Sunderman said she tried to be cautious about what her son did online.

"I don't let him have a Facebook account because I don't want him meeting people online," Crystal Sunderman said. "I didn't realize they could do so much on Xbox."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct152012

Four Teens Go Missing in Xbox Romance

Crystal Sunderman | Sheriff Randall Forsyth(BENTON COUNTY, Iowa) -- A romance that started on Xbox has ended in four Iowa teens running away from their homes, their parents and police say.

Two teenage girls from Shellsburg and two teenage boys from Atlantic went missing Saturday in what police said may have been a plotted escape.

Crystal Sunderman, the mother of missing 16-year-old Corey Sunderman, said she believes her son met his girlfriend Jazlyn Visek, 15, through Xbox's online gaming system and planned to run away with her and two other teens.

"I don't let him have a Facebook account because I don't want him meeting people online," Crystal Sunderman said. "I didn't realize they could do so much on Xbox."

Corey Sunderman and Austin Boggs, 13, disappeared early Saturday morning after a run-in with police the night before. Later that same day, Visek and Skie Floyd, 15, also disappeared.

Late Friday night, the boys snuck out of Corey's home to go skateboarding and were caught by the cops for violating curfew. After police brought the boys back to the Sundermans' home, Crystal Sunderman tried to make sure the teens wouldn't run out again.

"This is going to sound really stupid, but I took all the shoes downstairs and put them in a bag and took them up to my room, thinking if I had the boys' shoes, they couldn't go out and go skateboarding again," she said.

The boys found alternate boots in the garage and went a step further -- they ran away, she said.

When Corey's father Tony woke for work the next morning, he realized not only were the boys missing, but so were Crystal Sunderman's laptop and $400 from Tony Sunderman's newly-cashed check.

Also missing was a 1997 gold Jeep Cherokee Tony Sunderman had brought home from his iron and metal recycling job. The license-less vehicle was spotted nearly four hours away in Benton County at around 10 a.m. Saturday, the same county the missing Iowa girls call home.

Sheriff Randall Forsyth of Benton County said two boys driving a gold Jeep were spotted at a local shop Saturday morning, where they stopped to make a phone call. A man at the store let them, but only on the condition that they used a speakerphone.

"The conversation was something to the effect of, 'Don't pick us up at our house. Pick us up at the Quick Stop,'" Forsyth said.

At around 11:30 a.m., the missing Iowa girls told one of their mothers they were going to walk around a cemetery. At 3 p.m., they again spoke with one of their parents and said they were headed home.

The Jeep was spotted in Shellsburg shortly after dinner a block away from the Quick Stop, Forsyth said.

Parents and police have not heard from the four teens since.

This is not Corey Sunderman's first disappearance from home. He's left twice before, though he always returned and has never had any legal trouble, his mother said.

His most recent run this past summer, Crystal Sunderman said, also involved a girl he met on Xbox.

"He's got contacts in Pennsylvania, in Washington, in all these places," Crystal Sunderland said. "I mean, it's just like, are you kidding me?"

However, since the teens' disappearance, they've had no communication police could trace.

Police and parents are speaking with students at each of the missing teens' schools. From those conversations, they've gleaned potential leads to the kids' whereabouts, which may include a Florida skateboarding park.

Wherever the teens have headed, it does not appear they brought a lot.

"One of the things that's a little out of the ordinary for a normal runaway is Skie did not take anything with her other than her cellphone," Forsyth said, leading police to believe the girls did not expect to be gone for long.

"It's been long enough, and nobody's heard from these kids," Forsyth said. "We're not sure what the situation is."

Crystal Sunderman said she is grateful for extensive help from the Benton County Sheriff's Office, but said she still fears the possibility of never seeing her son again.

"The most important thing of all is that wherever our kids are, whatever they're doing, if any one of them decides they've had enough, that this isn't as exciting as they thought, that they want to come home, as their parents we will do anything to get them home," she said.

"We'll protect them as much as we can from any consequences," she said. "It's more important to get them home than worrying about what's going to happen next. That's the number one thing."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul302012

Three Teens Sue BackPage.com over Sex Trafficking

Filephoto. Comstock/Thinkstock(TACOMA, Wash.) -- Three Washington teenagers have filed a personal injury lawsuit against the classified ad website Backpage.com, alleging that the site allowed them to be forced into prostitution for the company's own financial gain.

The three unnamed girls, now aged 15 through 17, filed the suit in Pierce County Superior Court in Tacoma, Wash. In the suit they allege that through the adult listings in Backpage.com the company allowed them to be raped -- and that it profited as a result, making millions of dollars each month.

"Our kids were hurt by Backpage, so we're going after Backpage," Erik L. Bauer, an attorney representing the three girls, told ABC News.

Images of the underage girls were posted to Backpage.com, which is owned by Village Voice Media, beginning in 2010. The site is a frequent online destination for escort services. The ads were posted by three men who pimped the girls out and kept all of the profits for themselves, the lawsuit claims.

The complaint states that BackPage.com did nothing to prevent these men from exploiting the underage girls, and claims that the site, "knowingly developed a nationwide online marketplace for illicit commercial sex" and, "developed a reputation for itself as a website where pimps and prostitutes advertise commercial sex."

The suit says there is little to prevent anyone from posting ads offering prostitution on Backpage.com, other than a "posting rules" screen that asks users to certify, "I will not post any solicitation directly or in 'coded' fashion for any illegal service, including exchanging sexual favors for money or other valuable consideration." The site also asks users to verify they are 18 years old, and says that posting by a minor will be subject to criminal prosecution.

In Tacoma, the site charges $10 per ad for a posting to escort services, and allows eight pictures to be included. The site also offers a feature to repost escort ads automatically, for an additional fee.

The lawsuit against Backpage.com says the site's rules are hardly a deterrent to those promoting prostitution. The pimp who took advantage of the three girls, the suit says, was legally an adult. The three girls are identified in the complaint only as S.L, L.C. and J.S.

"Other than requiring the poster of the ad to agree to this term by 'clicking' on the posting rules page, Backpage.com does nothing to verify the age of the escorts who appear in its prostitution ads, even though it knows that pimps are usually the ones who create the ads, or force their minor sex slaves to do so," the complaint says.

Baruti Hopson, 33, was the pimp who exploited the three girls via Backpage.com, the girls' lawyer told ABC News. Hopson was convicted in 2011 on multiple counts of child rape and promoting the sexual abuse of a minor.

Seattle attorney Liz McDougall, who represents Backpage.com, said the lawsuit will not pass legal muster and is barred by federal law. She also said that Backpage.com employs a triple-tier prevention system and has a "robust system" to aid law enforcement when the company receives a subpoena -- which she told ABC News can happen five times per day.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of a decision Friday in favor of Backpage.com's right to continue its business without stricter age verification.

Last week Backpage asked a Washington judge to issue an injunction against a state law that would require classified ad companies to verify the ages of people in sex-related advertisements.

Attorneys for Backpage.com argued that the law will force sex trafficking further underground, where it will be far more difficult to police, and said that the law infringes on free speech.

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo Martinez granted the injunction. Bauer, the attorney for the three girls, responded that it was "ridiculous" to call this an issue of freedom of speech.

"How about, basic freedom for kids? How about freedom to live life happy and joyous? Freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are constitutional rights. And children have them. These freedoms are more import than corporate freedom-of-speech rights," he said in an interview with ABC News.

Bauer also argued that the nature of Backpage's listings create a "volume business." He said the girls were sent to clients for sex up to 20 times per day. He said he doesn't believe that the company's "triple-tier prevention system" makes a difference.

McDougall said that closing down Backpage.com will not prevent the exploitation of children. She said the solution lies in stopping the demand.

"What I find frustrating with this lawsuit is that we finally have a focus on child trafficking in the U.S., and we've ignored that, until five or six years ago," she said. "[Now] all of the attention is being focused on Backpage. If you shut down Backpage, it's not going to solve the problem.

"The endgame is that the same activity will continue to occur, but it will just move into the deeper part of the web -- or offshore," she said. "When it goes offshore, they're not in the jurisdiction of law enforcement. There's nothing we can do."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun262012

Lesbian Teen Couple Found Shot In Texas Park, 1 Survives

Mollie Judith Olgin, 19, right, and Mary Christine Chapa, 18, are shown in this undated photo. (Handout)(PORTLAND, Texas) -- Police in Texas are searching for an assailant who targeted a teenaged lesbian couple in a close-range shooting that left one woman dead and the other in the hospital; authorities said the incident is not being investigated as a hate crime.

Detectives are constructing a timeline of events, processing bullet casings found at the scene and are interviewing witnesses to understand what led up to the shootings of Mollie Olgin, 19, and Mary Kristene Chapa, 18, in the small town of Portland, Texas, a few miles from Corpus Christi.

"The families are devastated, obviously, but there's really no information that we've been able to determine yet that would indicate there was anyone who would want to do this to either of those girls," Police Chief Randy Wright told ABC News' Corpus Christi affiliate.

In knee-high grass near a scenic lookout at Violet Andrews Park on Saturday morning, police say a couple discovered the bodies of the two women, who friends say were dating.

Police believe both women were shot in the head around midnight. Olgin was pronounced dead at the scene. Chapa was taken to a local hospital and has since regained consciousness.

"The evidence suggests that there was a third party or parties involved," Wright said.

Friends of the couple told local media they had been dating for five months.

Vigils across the country have been planned to honor the two women.

Cleve Jones, a gay rights activist, noted the timing of the crime, which happened during Pride weekend.

"Last Friday, as millions of LGBT people and their allies were celebrating Pride, something awful happened in Portland, Texas. We need to respond publicly to this tragedy," he wrote. "Whoever shot Mary Christine Chapa and Mollie Judith Olgin, whatever the motive, regardless of where it happened, two beautiful girls were shot and one was killed. We need to honor the memory of Mollie and pray for the recovery of Mary."

Mary Kristene Chapa was last listed in critical but stable condition.

A celebration of Olgin's life will be held this Friday.

"Mollie touched the lives of everyone and will always be remembered for her intelligence, beauty, compassion, humor and her kind heart," her family wrote in her obituary.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun192012

Jurors Convict Accused Ringleader in Teen Burning Case

Comstock/Thinkstock(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- Jurors in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Tuesday evening convicted 17-year-old Matthew Bent of aggravated battery for his role in the 2009 torching of Michael Brewer, his middle school classmate.

Prosecutors failed to secure a conviction on Bent's second-degree attempted murder charge. Bent would have faced up to 30 years in prison if convicted on that charge. The maximum sentence for aggravated battery is 15 years.

After three days of testimony from Brewer, his parents and several other boys who'd witnessed the attack, a six-person jury in the Broward County Courthouse began deliberations Monday afternoon, but adjourned after three hours without a verdict. Tuesday's deliberations were delayed when jurors said they could not understand what was being said in an audio recording of a conversation between Bent and his alleged accomplices taped by police following their arrest.

At noon on Tuesday, the jury sent a note to Broward County Judge Michael Robinson asking for a transcript of the recording, but Robinson replied that no transcript was available.

Prosecutors argued that Bent was trying to avoid responsibility for the violence by offering others money to hurt Brewer, who was 15 at the time. But defense attorneys claimed that Bent never intended the attack, calling the case an example of "prosecution overkill."

Robinson will sentence Bent on July 23. The prosecution will seek the maximum sentence, and the defense has requested a pre-sentencing investigation.

On Oct. 12, 2009, Bent and two boys, all 15 at the time, surrounded Michael Brewer, their middle school classmate, near an apartment complex in Deerfield Beach, Fla. One boy poured rubbing alcohol on Brewer, and another flicked a lighter, setting Brewer ablaze.

Brewer survived the attack by jumping into a nearby pool, but not before second- and third-degree burns covered nearly two-thirds of his body.

While Bent played no physical role in the attack, the prosecution accused him of orchestrating it in pursuit of cold-blooded revenge against Brewer. In closing arguments, Assistant State Attorney Maria Schneider stressed to the jury the disputes between Bent and Brewer in the day leading up to the attack.

The previous day, Brewer's parents reported Bent to the police for allegedly attempting to steal a family bicycle. Brewer said he stayed home from school on Oct. 12 fearing possible retaliation by Bent, who he testified Thursday was targeting him because he refused to buy drug paraphernalia from Bent.

Denver Jarvis, 17, who is serving eight years in prison for pouring the alcohol on Brewer, testified Wednesday that Bent offered him $5 to do so, Schneider reminded jurors. Other witnesses testified that Bent had offered money to anyone who would beat up Brewer.

Bent's attorneys rested their case Monday morning without calling a single witness and told the court that Bent would not testify in his own defense.

In his closing argument, defense attorney Johnny McCray said Bent "will have scars for the rest of his life" because of the trial, and argued that convicting an "innocent child" would not bring justice for Brewer.

Defense attorney Perry Thurston called the allegation of Bent's offer a fabrication on Friday. The attack happened spontaneously after the boys chanced upon a jug of rubbing alcohol on the street, he said.

Brewer has undergone extensive skin graft surgery and physical therapy since he was attacked. His mother Valerie Brewer testified that her son still requires therapy in order to keep his muscles flexible enough for routine functions.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun182012

Teen Burning Jurors Begin Deliberating in Florida

Hemera/Thinkstock(DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla.) -- Jurors began deliberating Monday in the trial of a Florida teen accused of planning the torching of his middle-school classmate after the prosecution urged them not to let him "get away with letting other people do his dirty work for him."

In her closing argument, prosecutor Maria Schneider told jurors Monday that Matthew Bent, 17, on trial for second-degree attempted murder, was trying to avoid responsibility when he offered money for the 2009 attack in which Michael Brewer was soaked with rubbing alcohol and then set on fire.

"Matthew Bent was the reason why this crime happened," Schneider said. "He was offering people money to beat Michael, not to scare Michael."

Bent faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

On Oct. 12, 2009, Bent and two other teens confronted Brewer, who was 15 at the time, near an apartment complex after their middle school let out in Deerfield Beach, Fla. One boy doused Brewer with rubbing alcohol and another flicked a lighter, setting Brewer ablaze.

Brewer survived the attack by jumping into a nearby pool, but not before second- and third-degree burns covered nearly two-thirds of his body.

Schneider stressed to the six-person jury the disputes between Bent and Brewer prior to the attack.

Brewer testified Thursday that Bent targeted him because he refused to buy drug paraphernalia from Bent. And the day before the attack, Brewer's parents reported Bent to the police for allegedly attempting to steal a family bicycle. Brewer said he stayed home from school on Oct. 12, fearing possible retaliation by Bent.

The bad blood between Brewer and Bent reveal revenge as a clear motive for Bent to plan the attack on Brewer, Schneider argued.

Denver Jarvis, 17, is serving eight years in prison and Jesus Mendez, 18, was sentenced to 11 years for their roles in the attack. Jarvis poured the rubbing alcohol on Brewer and Mendez flicked a lighter, setting Brewer ablaze.

Bent's attorneys rested their case Monday morning after informing the court that Bent would not testify in his own defense and without calling a single witness.

Defense attorney Perry Thurston called the allegation of Bent's offer a fabrication on Friday. The attack happened spontaneously after the boys chanced upon a jug of rubbing alcohol on the street, he said.

In his closing argument, defense attorney Johnny McCray said Bent "will have scars for the rest of his life" because of the trial, and argued that convicting an "innocent child" would not bring justice for Brewer.

"This is prosecution overkill," Thurston said.

Brewer has undergone extensive skin graft surgery and physical therapy since he was attacked. His mother Valerie Brewer testified that her son still requires therapy in order to keep his muscles flexible enough for routine functions.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio