ROBBIE MIDDLETON - 8 yo - (1998) /Charged: Don Collins - Splendora TX

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ROBBIE MIDDLETON - 8 yo - (1998) /Charged: Don Collins - Splendora TX

Post by twinkletoes on Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:54 pm

Texas boy burned at 8 says in deathbed video that attacker raped him beforehand

Robbie Middleton of Splendora, who died of skin cancer at 20, identified his
alleged attacker as Don Collins. Now that Collins is free after serving
time for failing to register as a sex offender in an unrelated case,
police want to prosecute him for felony murder.


NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 9:14 PM


Courtesy Middleton Family/AP

Robbie Middleton reportedly developed a type of skin cancer that develops
after several grafts. Because of this, prosecutors have linked his death
to the burning he suffered at 8. Prosecutors say his alleged attacker
burned him to silence him about an alleged sexual assault.


The horrific case of a Texas boy who was doused with gasoline, tied to a
tree and torched on his eighth birthday appeared to come to a
heartbreaking end last year, when the victim, Robbie Middleton,
succumbed to cancer.

But now, Montgomery County prosecutors have a
new tack for going after the man accused of the heinous act 14 years
ago — and finally bringing justice for Middleton.

Montgomery
County attorney David Walker said Middleton gave a 27-minute deathbed
video statement in which he again named his alleged attacker and said he
was sexually assaulted by him two weeks before he was set on fire, the Houston Chronicle reported Monday.

The video is the first time Middleton, who was 20 when he died in April
2011, ever spoke publicly about being raped and provides a possible
motivation for why he was later brutalized.

“It was done to prevent Middleton from talking,” Walker told the Chronicle.

The accused neighbor is 27-year-old Don Collins, who was 13 in 1998. Police
had detained him in the attack, which occurred on a trail near
Middleton’s Splendora, Texas, home, but he was never charged.

Walker told the Los Angeles Times last year that “the case was very, very difficult, with evidence that was not clear or necessarily compelling at that time.”

But Collins was found guilty in 2001 in an unrelated sexual assault of an 8-year-old boy.

He served time for failing to register as a sex offender and was released from prison Sept. 5.

Now that Collins is out of the slammer, Walker plans to file papers to have
the case moved from juvenile court to district court as a felony murder
case given the weight of the sexual assault claim.

Middleton’s mother, Colleen, told the Chronicle that the family’s lawyers “see this
is a strategic move, one that is moving in the right direction.”

She also said her son had told his older sister about the alleged rape two
years before he died, but otherwise he wasn’t comfortable talking about
it.

During his life, Middleton reportedly required more than 200
operations and developed a type of skin cancer that doctors said occurs
after complications from having multiple, painful skin grafts.

Medical examiners ruled his death last year a homicide.

A Texas jury awarded the family $150 billion in a civil lawsuit against
Collins last December. But the money was considered a symbolic gesture
meant to prod prosecutors to go after Collins in a criminal case,
according to reports.

www.nydailynews.com/.../texas-boy-burned-8-claims-earlier-rape-art...
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Re: ROBBIE MIDDLETON - 8 yo - (1998) /Charged: Don Collins - Splendora TX

Post by willcarney on Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:37 pm

Man who covered boy with gasoline and set him on fire 13 years ago CAN be tried for murder even though the victim died in 2011, judge rules
Latest ruling states that Don Willburn Collins can be tried for murder and sexual assault stemming from an attack that allegedly took place in 1998
Collins was 13 when he attacked Robert Middleton, then 8, with gasoline
Middleton suffered massive burns over 99% of his body and died from skin cancer in 2011 which was attributed to the burns

Middleton recorded a deposition before his death saying Collins also sexually assaulted him before the gas attack

Collins spent several months in juvenile detention but never taken to court
Another man testified in a separate case that as a young boy, Collins sexually assaulted him and threatened to burn him if he told

By Daily Mail Reporter PUBLISHED: 10:14 EST, 6 March 2014  

A Texas judge has ruled that a man who doused a boy with gasoline and lit him on fire when he was a teenager can now be tried as an adult for murder even though the incident took place 13 years before the victim died.


Authorities allege that Don Willburn Collins was 13 when he attacked Robert Middleton in 1998 on his eighth birthday near the younger boy's home in Splendora, about 35 miles northeast of Houston.

Middleton was burned across 99 per cent of his body and endured years of physical therapy before he died in 2011 from skin cancer blamed on his burns.


Brought to court: Don Wilburn Collins, seen here Wednesday, can now face murder charges more than a decade after attacking a former neighbor with acid. The boy survived but died from complications from the burns years later


Back in court: Collins was sent to juvenile detention for a few months immediately after the attack but never had a full trial or faced criminal charges, but that will likely change with the new ruling

Middleton had initially named Collins as his attacker and the older boy was arrested in 1998.

Collins spent several months in juvenile detention but was released after prosecutors said they did not have enough evidence to pursue the case.

Shortly before he died, Middleton gave a videotaped deposition in which he accused Collins for the first time of sexually assaulting him two weeks before the attack.

The sexual assault allegation prompted investigators to reopen the case, and prosecutors charged the now 28-year-old Collins with murder last year — but they needed to move the case from juvenile to adult court to take him to trial.


Before and after: Robert Middleton, seen left before the attack, faced constant health problems for the remainder of this life, seen right in an undated photo of him years later


Heartbreaking: He was left with 99 per cent of his skin covered in burns, and eventually died due to skin cancer in 2011

After a three-day hearing on that issue this week, state District Judge Kathleen Hamilton ruled that Colllins' case could be transferred.

The ruling enables the prosecutors' murder case against Collins.

Colleen Middleton, Robert's mother, said she was relieved the case would go to trial.

'When Robert died we were thinking maybe nothing will ever happen, maybe someone is just going to get away with what they did to him,' she said. 'It's been a long road.'


Turning back time: Collins' lawyer said that it is against his constitutional rights to be tried as an adult for something he did when he was a child because so much time has passed in between the attack and now


Seeking justice: Colleen Middleton told how it has been 'a long road' in fighting for the case to go to court


Keeping the focus on her son: Mrs Middleton, seen in the Texas court room on Wednesday, has continued the fight since her son died of skin cancer in 2011

Several witnesses testified during this week's hearing that Collins had confessed to them or others that he had been responsible for the attack on Middleton. Part of Middleton's taped deposition also was shown during the hearing.

In a separate case, Collins was convicted of sexually assaulting another 8-year-old boy.

Now an adult, the victim testified during this week's hearing that Collins had threatened to burn him if he told anybody what happened.

Collins' attorney, E. Tay Bond, had argued that moving the case to adult court would violate his client's constitutional rights. Bond also questioned the reliability of Middleton's statements, as well as secondhand statements made by other witnesses, saying there was 'no new credible evidence in this case.'


Seeking justice: Colleen Middleton came face to face with her son's attacker in October- the first time in 15 years

Bond argued that the case should not be transferred to adult court because under state law in 1998, a juvenile had to be at least 14 years old for a capital felony offense case to be transferred to adult court. The law was changed in 1999 to lower the age to 10.

Prosecutors said the crime of murder did not take place until 2011, well after the law was changed. But Bond said the law couldn't be applied retroactively to Collins.

Collins, who is being held on a $1 million bond, will remain jailed as he faces up to 10 years in prison for a charge in neighboring San Jacinto County of failing to register as a sex offender.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2574502/Judge-Texas-man-tried-childhood-crime.html
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Re: ROBBIE MIDDLETON - 8 yo - (1998) /Charged: Don Collins - Splendora TX

Post by mermaid55 on Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:18 pm

Don Willburn Collins Pleads Not Guilty Of Setting Boy On Fire When He Was A Teen
AP | By JUAN A. LOZANO
Posted: 06/19/2014 11:54 am EDT Updated: 06/19/2014 3:59 pm EDT

CONROE, Texas (AP) — The family of a boy who died 13 years after being burned in a gasoline attack will have to wait at least six more months before the person charged with murder will face a jury, as a judge Thursday set a January trial date.

But Colleen Middleton, whose son was burned across 99 percent of his body, said she and her family don't mind waiting for a few more months to get what they hope will be justice.

"Six months is nothing. We've waited sixteen years," she said.

Authorities allege that in 1998 at age 13, Don Willburn Collins doused Robert Middleton with gasoline and set him on fire on his eighth birthday. The attack occurred near the younger boy's home in Splendora, about 35 miles northeast of Houston.

Middleton endured years of physical therapy before he died in 2011, shortly before his 21st birthday, from skin cancer blamed on the horrific burns he suffered.

Collins, who is jailed on a $1 million bond and was in handcuffs and leg shackles for Thursday's court appearance, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment hearing.

Jerald Crow, one of Collins' attorneys, said he would need six months to get ready for trial.

State District Judge Kathleen Hamilton scheduled the trial for Jan. 5.

Collins had spent several months in juvenile detention in 1998 after Middleton named him as his attacker. But he was released after prosecutors said they didn't have enough evidence to pursue the case.

Shortly before he died, Middleton gave a videotaped deposition in which he accused Collins for the first time of sexually assaulting him two weeks before the attack. The sexual assault allegation prompted investigators to reopen the case and file a murder charge last year.

Collins was indicted last month, after Hamilton ruled in March that the case could be transferred from juvenile to adult court.

Hamilton determined that Collins could be tried in adult court because prosecutors had been unable to proceed with the case before his 18th birthday, but that new evidence had been found since then.

If Collins had been certified to stand trial as an adult when he was a juvenile, his maximum sentence would have been 40 years. It has not been determined yet what maximum sentence Collins will face.

Collins' attorneys have said they plan to ask for a change of venue and will present evidence at the trial of his history of mental disability.

Phil Grant, first assistant district attorney for Montgomery County, said he is confident that if a change of venue is granted, his office "will be able to present this case wherever we are in Texas."

Colleen Middleton said she is not worried if the trial is moved to another county.

"The truth is going to be the truth, no matter where we go," she said.

Collins also faces a charge in neighboring San Jacinto County of failing to register as a sex offender.

___

Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter at www.twitter.com/juanlozano70

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/19/don-willburn-collins_n_5511571.html
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