Group Teen Violence Shocks as Minors Charged With Rape, Murder, Assault

Recent spate of violence among groups of teens shocking to communities, police.

ByABC News
November 10, 2009, 1:57 PM

Nov. 10, 2009— -- Three of the five Florida teenagers accused of setting 15-year-old Michael Brewer on fire over a $40 video game debt will be tried as adults, prosecutors decided Monday. They are among nearly two dozen teens across the country charged in the last month with committing extreme acts of group violence.

The State Attorney's Office in Broward County formally charged Denver Jarvis, Michael Bent, both 15, and Jesus Mendez, now 16, with attempted second degree murder, a felony, in last month's attack that left Brewer clinging to life with severe burns over 65 percent of his body.

The two others facing lesser counts of aggravated battery, Jeremy Jarvis, 13, and Steve Shelton, 15, will be charged as minors and, according to Miami's ABC affiliate WPLG, will be released into the custody of their parents this week, per Florida state law.

Several hundred miles away, five other teenagers are sitting in Texas jails charged with the brutal beating death of 28-year-old Jonathan Bird. The attack was prompted, police said, by Bird's request that two of the teens stop driving recklessly down the narrow, residential street.

They left the scene and returned a short time later with three others and "kicked and hit him while he was down on the ground," Wylie Police Sgt. Donna Valdepena told

Bird was beaten so badly -- in his own front yard, she said -- that his spinal cord was severed at the neck "and he had a lot of hemorrhaging on his brain."

Charged with murder were 17-year-old Ethan Dorris and four 16-year-olds whose names were not being released because of their ages. Valdepena said the district attorney was considering charging the 16-year-olds as adults.

"What these kids did was senseless," Bird's fiancee Coti Duer told ABC's Dallas affiliate WFAA. "He he didn't fight back because they were kids."

The increasingly disturbing crimes committed by these teens have been so heinous that many prosecutors are going after them as adults when possible.