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Judge revokes plea offer in Port Charlotte deadly crash

Posted at 10:50 PM, Feb 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-27 22:50:08-05

A man accused of leaving the scene of a crash that killed two people won't get a plea deal he expected next Tuesday. The change comes after a Fox 4 exclusive aired Monday night.

Michel Brutus, 23, is accused of crashing into a tree on U.S. 41 in Port Charlotte in December of 2016, killing his two passengers Brittany Beni and Wesley Chery, and then running away from the scene. Investigators initially said Chery was the driver, but DNA evidence on the car's airbag led to Brutus's arrest 10 months later.

Linda Beni, Brittany's mom, said Brutus was offered a plea deal. He had already accepted it, and had a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, March 6th to have the judge sign off on it.

Beni said the plea deal was 11 years behind bars and 4 years of supervised probation. She was upset about the deal, saying the State Attorney's Office didn't notify her or the Chery family before it was offered to Brutus. She said the deal wasn't harsh enough, since the minimum sentence for leaving the scene of a crash involving death is 30 years, multiplied by two for two deaths.

"He needs to pay for what he did," Beni said. "A lot of people had said to me 'Oh, he needs the death penalty.' No he doesn't. That's the easy way out. He needs to suffer behind bars."

After the story aired on Fox 4 Monday night, Beni said she got a call from the State Attorney's Office saying the judge pulled the plea offer off the table, and at this point, it appears the case will go to trial.

This means Tuesday's plea hearing is cancelled.

The State Attorney's Office spokesperson said since this is an active case they cannot comment.