Don Collins, the Texas killer who doused an 8-year old boy in gasoline and then set him on fire for fear that the boy would tell the world that he had raped him, is finally convicted 16 years later after he committed the heinous crime.
In 1998 Collins was 13 years old and his victim, Robert Middleton was only 8. On Middleton’s eighth birthday, Collins abducted Middleton, tied him to a tree, doused him with gasoline, set the boy on fire and let him to die.
The boy did not die, though but he did suffer burns on 99% of his body and he needed around 200 surgeries for him to even be able to live over the course of 13 years. The boy suffered immensely after each surgery, because as his body grew, new skin needed to be added. Robert Middleton learned to walk several times after the horrific event and was in constant pain.
Robert Middleton died 13 years later after being burned by Don Collins by a rare type of cancer that affects burn victims. While on the death bed, the boy revealed that his attacker had also sexually abused him two weeks before the attack. Prosecutors believe that Collins burned Middleton to make sure the boy didn’t tell anyone of the sexual assault. Now that Robert is dead, the prosecution is charging Collins with murder.
After the attack, Middleton identified his attacker as being Don Collins, but the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. In March, prosecutors won a legal battle that would allow Collins to be charged as an adult for the crime. The law that allows this did not exist at the time he committed the crime.
Colleen Middleton, the victim’s mother, said that she was happy that today is here and that it was a long time coming.
The penalty phase of this trial is set to begin on Tuesday. Don Collins is not eligible for the death penalty because when he committed the crime, he was a minor. If found guilty, he could be sentenced up to 40 years in prison, though.
Image Source: Huffington Post