Judge: Texas Man Can Be Tried in Childhood Crime
A Texas man accused of dousing a boy with gasoline and setting him on fire when he was a teenager can be tried as an adult for murder after the victim died from his burns nearly 13 years later, a judge ruled Thursday.
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 percent of his body and endured years of physical therapy before he died in 2011 from skin cancer blamed on his burns.
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.