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Texan accused of burning boy who later died pleads not guilty

Don Willburn Collins

CBS affiliate KHOU

CONROE, Texas - A Texas man has pleaded not guilty to a capital murder charge stemming from a childhood attack on a boy who died nearly 13 years later.

Don Willburn Collins appeared in court north of Houston on Thursday to enter his plea.


Robert Middleton

CBS affiliate KHOU

Authorities say Collins was 13 in 1998 when he poured gasoline on Robert Middleton and set him on fire on Middleton's 8th birthday. Middleton survived but died in 2011 of skin cancer that authorities blamed on his injuries.

Now 29, Collins is jailed on a $1 million bond. His trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 5.

A judge ruled in March that Collins' case could be transferred from juvenile to adult court.

E. Tay Bond, Collins' attorney, has said there's no credible evidence that could lead to a conviction.