A neighborhood bully was convicted of attempted murder for tying up a 12-year-old boy and setting him on fire during a robbery that left his victim scarred for life.

The defendant, a 14-year-old who appears much older, was also found guilty Wednesday of kidnapping, robbery and other offenses in the March 7 attack on David Opont."There could be no other conclusion than he secreted (David), tied him hand and foot and he set him on fire," ruled Family Court Judge Joseph A. Esquirol Jr., who presided over the non-jury trial.

The older boy "intended to and did in fact severely and permanently disfigure David," the judge said.

Authorities said the teenager, whose name was withheld because of his age, was known in his Brooklyn neighborhood as a bully who taunted and stole from smaller children.

Under juvenile law, he can be confined to a detention center for three years, but the sentence can be extended each year afterward until he is 21.

Esquirol also ordered the boy to undergo psychological tests.

The attack shocked the city and evoked an outpouring of sympathy and get-well messages from across the nation. While in the hospital, David was visited by former President Ronald Reagan, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and several entertainment and sports figures.