crimesider

Hearing set for man accused of burning boy who later died

Robert Middleton CBS affiliate KHOU

CONROE, Texas - A Southeast Texas man could be tried as an adult for a 1998 crime he's accused of committing as a 13-year-old -- allegedly dousing a boy with gasoline and then setting him on fire.

A hearing is scheduled Monday in Conroe as Don Willburn Collins faces a murder charge in Robert Middleton's 2011 death.

Authorities say Collins poured gasoline on Middleton, on the victim's 8th birthday, and set him on fire. Years later, Middleton died of skin cancer that likely developed from skin grafts that saved the boy's life after the attack, according to doctors, CBS affiliate KHOU reported in 2011.

"He grabbed me by my shoulder and threw gas in my face, after that I don't really remember anything," Middleton said in an interview with the station.

In the 2011 report following her son's death, Middleton' mother Colleen told KHOU she believed her son was murdered.

"He was burned 13 years ago, it took him 13 years to die," Colleen Middleton told the station.

Robert Middleton, who was reportedly a neighbor of the suspect, was burned on over 99 percent of his body, reports the station.

Monday, prosecutors and defense attorneys are expected to present evidence on whether Collins, who in September was charged with murder, can be tried as an adult. The hearing is expected to last several days.

Collins is being held on a $1 million bond.

  • Crimesider Staff

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