Fla. Burned Boy 'Elated' to Be Home for Holidays

Mom: Victim of burn attack is in high spirits, faces months of physical therapy.

Dec. 23, 2009— -- A boy who was doused with rubbing alcohol and set ablaze in an alleged attack in October is "elated" to be home for the holidays, his mother told "Good Morning America" today.

"Spirits are really good," Michael Brewer's mother, Valerie, said. "He's elated to be out of the hospital. ... We will have a family get-together for Christmas. We're looking forward to that."

Michael Brewer Jr., 15, suffered second- and third-degree burns on more than two-thirds of his body after he was allegedly doused with alcohol and set ablaze Oct. 12 in an altercation over a video game.

Brewer faces daily physical therapy sessions for months to come, but doctors said he could regain full range of motion in his arms and legs and should be able to play sports.

Until then, Brewer's mother said he's pushing through and inspiring her with his work ethic.

"Michael does help keep my spirits up by the pure fact that he's so strong," Valerie Brewer said. "He does whatever the doctors tell him to do. It's extremely painful. It's grueling, [but] he knows he has to do it in order to move on and have a normal life."

In addition to the physical obstacles he must overcome, Michael is also battling some emotional scarring from the incident that nearly took his life.

"He doesn't feel safe going back to the neighborhood" where the alleged attack took place, Valerie Brewer said in a news conference today. "He does fear for his life going back there. ... If he's fearful, so am I."

Police: Boy Severely Burned Over Video Game

Police say Brewer was cornered near an apartment complex swimming pool when one of the suspects , Denver Jarvis, 15, allegedly splashed him with rubbing alcohol and Jesus Mendez, 16, allegedly used a lighter to set him on fire, according to police.

Brewer threw himself in the pool in an attempt to douse the flames. His heartbreaking screams can be heard in a 911 call. "Help me," he was heard pleading. "Please, please."

Jarvis and Matthew Bent, 15, and Mendez, who was 15 at the time of the incident, were charged with attempted second-degree murder. The teens, who were charged as adults, have pleaded not guilty.

Police say Brewer was attacked after he reported one of the accused to the police for allegedly attempting to steal a bicycle as payment for a $40 video game.

Officials say they didn't charge two younger boys because they believed they were bystanders, but one of those boys reached out to the victim in a public statement last month.

"I want to express my deepest sympathy to Mikey and his family," Jeremy Jarvis, 13, said. "I will pray for Mikey to grow stronger every day and for Mikey's speeding recovery."

Prosecutor Calls Alleged Crime 'Horrible Act'

Maria Schneider, assistant state attorney in Broward County and the lead prosecutor on the case, has called the attack on Brewer a "horrible, horrible act."

"The injuries to Michael are probably some of the most heinous I've ever had the misfortune to encounter," she said.

Brewer's face and hands were mostly spared from burn injuries.

Cadaver skin was stapled to what's left of Brewer's natural skin to give the excised wounds a chance to heal and regenerate tissue. The human body -- immune-suppressed because of severe injury -- typically accepts the new skin without rejection for some time.

Doctors say that the teen's body will eventually begin to reject the donor skin. When that happens, they will assess how much grafting he'll need to cover the skins that did not regenerate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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