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Teen makes first statement to boy set on fire

DEERFIELD BEACH – There was no plot to attack Michael Brewer, his former friend Jeremy Jarvis said Tuesday. There was no organized scheme to surround him, pour an accelerant on him and set him ablaze.

Jarvis, 13, wasn’t permitted by his lawyer to explain how the notorious Oct. 12 attack took place, but there was one thing he did say: It wasn’t pre-planned.

Jarvis made his first public statement Tuesday morning, reading from a prepared text in front of his lawyer’s Fort Lauderdale office. “I want to express my deepest sympathy for Mikey and his family,” said Jarvis. “I will pray for Mikey to grow stronger every day and have a speedy recovery.”

Sitting in his lawyer’s office before going in front of the cameras, Jarvis described his relationship with Brewer, 15, as a friendship that deepened considerably over the past year, as both were students at Deerfield Beach Middle School. “He was one of my best friends,” Jarvis said.

And there was no falling out between them, he said. The friendship continued right up until the moment Jarvis and four others encountered Brewer at an apartment complex where Brewer was going to visit a friend.

Jarvis was the youngest of the five teenagers originally accused of taking part in the attack on Brewer. According to reports released so far, Jarvis was accused only of being part of the group that surrounded Brewer. He was not described as an active participant, and no charges were filed against him or fellow friend Steven Shelton, 16.

But prosecutors still have time to revisit that decision, and with Brewer finally giving his account of the incident to investigators on Monday, Jarvis’ lawyer wasn’t going to take a chance that his client might say something to inadvertently incriminate himself.