A teenager convicted of orchestrating an attack on a middle school classmate who was soaked in alcohol and lit ablaze was sentenced to 11 years in prison Thursday even as he continued to insist on his innocence.
Circuit Judge Matthew Destry agreed with prosecutors that Matthew Bent, 18, deserved the same sentence as the youth who flicked the lighter during the 2009 attack on Michael Brewer, who was then 15. Although Bent did not set the fire or pour the flammable liquid, Destry said he was just as much to blame. Bent was convicted of aggravated battery in June.
"I cannot ignore that, but for Mr. Bent's orchestration of these events, none of this would have happened," Destry said.
Before he was sentenced, Bent turned and apologized to Brewer but said he was not the ringleader.
"I didn't intend for any of this to happen," he said. "I didn't tell nobody to do that."
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