Dozens of fans on Deerfield Beach boy Michael Brewer's Facebook page were thrilled to see the new photo his mother posted on Friday, showing Michael looking in good spirits and evidently healing well. Wrote one Facebook friend from Colorado:
"I am totally jazzed to see you looking so good! Keep up the good work. Few of us have any idea what you are going through, but all of us have known bad times, and it is great to see you getting better."
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Brewer was burned over 60 percent of his body when nine boys surrounded him on October 12 and lit him on fire in a dispute over a $40 videogame. Although three of the boys -- Mathew Bent, Denver Jarvis, and Jesus Mendez -- are scheduled to be tried as adults on charges of attempted murder, 142 locals have added their signatures to letters received by the State Attorney's office on Friday asking that the three be tried as juveniles instead.
Brewer's Facebook page, Pray for Michael Brewer, has attracted more than 7,000 friends, most of whom have never met the boy but all of whom are beaming good vibes in his direction over the net. Writes another fan, from Spartanburg, South Carolina:
Mikey, you're gonna think I'm crazy but I got both your pictures printed out and posted on my workstation at the office. When I pray for someone in person, I like to touch them on the top of the hand or on the shoulder. Since I can't do that, I like to touch your picture - its not necessary but it makes me feel like I'm touching you.
Debate over how the juvenile perpetrators should be tried has sparked fierce contention. Eleven hundred people signed an online petition demanding that the kids be tried as adults. And Denver Jarvis' mother has appeared on the Today show with her younger son, Jeremy, pleading for clemency for Denver. "There's two sides to every story," Mrs. Jarvis told Today. "My children are not the monsters they've been painted out to be."