Burning trial juror pens letter about verdict
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A juror's guilty verdict in the Michael Brewer burning trial is weighing heavy on her conscience, as she says she misunderstood the legal process.
Six jurors convicted 17-year-old Matthew Bent for creating the situation that led to 15-year-old Michael Brewer being doused in rubbing alcohol and set on fire.
Prosecutors say Bent offered friends money in 2009 to harm Brewer, who suffered burns to over 65 percent of his body in the incident.
Bent paid Denver Jarvis to pour alcohol on Brewer, before Jesus Mendez decided to turn on the lighter. "He said, 'I'll give you $10 to $5 if you throw it on Michael,'" said Jarvis.
Karin Maccord was one of the six jurors who was asked to confirm her verdict. Six days later, Maccord wrote a letter about her verdict, saying she thought Bent was not guilty, but went along with the majority because she was confused by the instructions on the verdict, which was unanimous.
Maccord agreed to speak to 7 News but later declined.
In the letter, she states: "I had been immediately attacked when I posted a non-guilty verdict. I was accused of being racist and other hateful names that I do not wish to mention. I was pressured into changing my verdict. I had been told by one of the other jurors that I would look at things differently if Michael Brewer had been a black child and Matthew Bent had been a white child."
Prosecutor Maria Schneider said sometimes people listen to people that were not in the courtroom. "I think unfortunately, people who were not in the courtroom, who were not listening to the evidence, have the ability to influence jurors afterwards, and that can be very unfortunate, because those are not fully informed opinions and that leads to jurors sometimes changing their minds," said Schneider
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