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Burned boy: 'Somebody poured something on me and lit me on fire'

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Burned boy describes attack
  • Police release interview with teen set on fire, allegedly by youths he knew
  • Michael Brewer recalls threats, flames, running, jumping in pool to douse fire
  • Three teens are charged as adults with attempted murder in the incident
  • Brewer, 15, faces long recovery and rehabilitation process
  • Michael Brewer
  • Florida

Miami, Florida (CNN) -- A 15-year-old boy who was set on fire, allegedly by a group of youths he knew, told police he remembered "cold stuff all over my clothes and ... burning."

"Somebody poured something on me and lit me on fire," Michael Brewer tells police from his hospital bed in the audiotaped interview conducted November 23, six weeks after the October 12 incident. "I started running."

Broward County, Florida, prosecutors released the interview, along with other audio, video and documents, to media outlets including CNN on Monday and Tuesday.

Three teenagers have been charged as adults with attempted murder in connection with Brewer's burning. Detectives said eyewitnesses have told them that 16-year-old Jesus Mendez used a lighter to set fire to Brewer after Denver Jarvis, 15, allegedly poured alcohol over him, and that Matthew Bent, also 15, allegedly encouraged the attack.

Detectives said Mendez admitted that he set Brewer on fire, and that he made a "bad decision," according to an arrest transcript. Interviews with the suspects were not part of the evidence released this week.

Detectives believe that Brewer owed Bent $40 for a video game. When Brewer did not pay, police said, Bent stole Brewer's father's bicycle, then was arrested when Brewer reported him to the police. The next day, police believe, the group sought out Brewer.

In the interview, Brewer speaks in a soft, labored voice and sounds breathless. He can be heard inhaling and exhaling on the recording.

He told police that Bent "came to my house and he tried to take my dad's bike. He threatened me. He threatened my sister."

He said Bent wanted him to buy something that he didn't want to buy, but he couldn't remember what. "I think it was stolen," Brewer said.

He said he saw Jarvis pour the flammable liquid on him, and told police he was walking away from the others when it occurred.

When the teens approached him, he said, one told him, "Nobody's going to hit you." Instead, he recalled "cold stuff all over my clothes and ... burning."

Bent, Mendez and Jarvis face a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison if convicted. Two other boys who were allegedly involved, a 13-year-old and 15-year-old, have not been charged in the attack.

After he was set on fire, "I'm like, run. Run," Brewer said. "I ... jumped the fence and jumped into the pool."

"This guy comes running out and tries to pull me out of the water, and I said, 'Leave me, leave me,' 'cause my skin was, like, hanging," he said.

"I got out of the pool, and ... in a chair. And then they put me on a stretcher, and they strapped me, and then they put me on the helicopter."

A videotaped interview with an eyewitness to the incident is also among the pieces of evidence released.

In it, the teenager recalls hearing Bent, who is known as Zeke, tell Jarvis to pour the flammable liquid on Brewer. "Zeke's like, 'Yeah, yeah, pour it on him,'" the witness says, estimating the pouring lasted three to five seconds.

Asked if a lot of fluid was poured on Brewer, the boy said it soaked his entire back.

Brewer was released from Jackson Memorial Hospital's burn unit on December 22 after more than two months. During that stay, he had three skin-graft surgeries and was on a ventilator for a month.

He was readmitted to the hospital earlier this month after experiencing trouble breathing, but was re-released after three days. Doctors have said he faces a long recovery and rehabilitation process.

Brewer is recovering at an undisclosed location. His mother, Valerie Brewer, has said he will be home-schooled once he has recovered enough to resume his school work.

CNN's Rich Phillips contributed to this report.