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Splendora, TX – Robbie Middleton, a 20-year-old man who had been struggling most of his life with burns sustained in a 1998 attack, taped a video just prior to his death in April 2011.  In it, he accuses Don Collins, who was 13-years-old at the time of the incident, not only with setting him ablaze, but also raping him two weeks prior to the debilitating attack.

Middleton was celebrating his eighth birthday back in 1998, walking a forest path on his way to a friend’s house, when he encountered Collins, who allegedly tied him to a tree with fishing line, threw a cup of gasoline on his face, and lit him on fire.  Middleton was able to free himself, but only after the heat of the blaze had melted the lines securing him.  His burns, as you might imagine, were traumatic, leaving him permanently disfigured and without eyelids.

Though Collins was detained right after the attack, he was never formally charged due to a lack of evidence to make a conviction likely.  Though there was no criminal case, Middleton’s family was eventually awarded $150 billion (that’s not a typo) in a civil lawsuit against Collins.  That’s the largest civil lawsuit settlement in U.S. history.  The December 2011 victory was really only symbolic, however, as the Middletons never expected to see a dime of it.  They were really hoping that the award would pressure the county into trying Collins for murder.

It just so happens that Collins was in jail when the civil suit was going on, charged with failing to register as a sex offender, a label he acquired as a result of a conviction for sexually assaulting another 8-year-old boy in 2001.

Middleton did not speak much about the attack during the thirteen difficult years that followed it; years that included over 200 surgeries and hundreds of hours of physical therapy.  However, just prior to his death from a type of cancer doctors maintain can only be caused by complications from multiple skin grafts, he broke his silence in a videotaped sworn deposition.  Since Middleton accuses Collins not only of the burning attack, but also with a rape he alleges occurred two weeks prior to it, the Middleton family’s attorney has been able to file a felony murder charge against Collins.

A charge of felony murder requires that the death be caused in conjunction with another offense.  And, since it is believed that Collins was attempting to kill Middleton to keep him silent about the sexual assault, the charge applies.

The 27-year-old Collins, who was released from jail in September, will be tried as an adult, despite the fact that he was only 13 at the time of the crime against Middleton.

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  • NY_Mommy

    Wow, I can’t even imagine. This guy spent most of his life in pain. I wonder why it took him so long to finally say who the culprit was?

  • p b

    This is so sad. Sex crime punishments are adsurd in the USA. Sexual offenders should be put to death. PERIOD!! Why do we allow them so many chances to continue hurting the vulnerable and unsuspecting?? Our courts and DOC systems are extremely flawed. UGH!

  • Sam

    So what’s changed? Is there suddenly more evidence than they had directly after the burning?

  • Sam

    I hate that this boy’s story has taught me that as a juvenile burn victim grows, their skin grafts have to keep being cut off and re-applied to give the growing bones enough room. So much pain. I would so dearly love it if the dung beetle that did this to him got to experience the same pain.

  • Sue

    He finally gave a motive for the burn attack. Collins tried to kill him to cover up the sex abuse.

  • newstarshipsmell

    Photos of Don Collins I found here, unsure how recent they are:

    Nice neck tattoo.

  • sam1211

    Oh that poor boy, after is saw his pictures as a boy that’s all it took, the tears spilled over :( R.I.P.

  • Texas Ranger

    That is monumentally jacked-up East Texas Bullshit Law right there. It took a private lawyer to get a murder charge on this shithole…on another note….I thought all murders were felonies.

  • Sam

    Not trying to put down the victim, but without evidence it’s still just the victim’s word against Collins’. How are they going to convict Collins, whether its for one crime or an aggravated version of that crime, without evidence?

  • Sam

    Never mind the tattoo. Are those long johns he’s wearing?

  • curiousalways

    lol! that’s what I thought.

  • Eliza Berntsen

    Could it be that his other assault can be used as a reason/ proof/ evidence that this assault also took place? As in show that Collins was indeed more than capable of commencing sexual assault.

  • Athena

    “And, since it is believed that Collins was attempting to kill Middleton
    to keep him silent about the sexual assault, the charge applies.”

    As covered by the sentence immediately prior to this one, intent to kill actually has nothing to do with the Felony Murder Rule. Regardless of whether or not Collins was attempting to kill Middleton, the felony (setting a person ablaze) has directly contributed to the death of the victim. That is why the charge applies.

    Sorry for nitpicking. I can’t help it.

  • Athena

    Why? Two very good reasons: It’s unconstitutional, and sex crimes are associated with a relatively high rate of wrongful convictions. The estimate of wrongfully convicted currently incarcerated under sex crime charges numbers in the thousands. Will you trade thousands of American lives for the ability to kill the legitimately guilty?

  • http://tothechest.com Pete Puma

    I was chatting with Morbid about this issue, and opted to go with what the article said. I don’t consider myself a reporter, nor a true crime fan, just a writer.

  • brownheadlights

    is is terribly sad.

  • brownheadlights

    sad sad sad

  • Athena

    I figured it came from an article. I just thought I’d preemptively clear up any confusion it might cause. I don’t consider myself a reporter, nor a true crime fan, nor even a writer. Now, seriously annoying know-it-all? *Sigh*… Check.

  • Athena

    It’s tricky. Collins isn’t being charged with sexual assault, he’s being charged with felony murder. Generally, prior convictions aren’t admissible in criminal court unless directly relevant to the current charge. For example, if you’re charged with residential burglary, they generally can’t bring up a prior shoplifting conviction, even if it proves you’re prone to thievery. They generally could introduce any past burglary convictions, though.

    I think it will boil down to how interwoven the sexual assault is in the prosecution’s case and whether or not the judge finds the prior sexual assault conviction to be relevant enough.

  • Pipsmom06

    Good for him for seeking justice for himself! Now let’s hope the system will let justice be done. Prayers for his family

  • JGo555

    Disgusting piece of shit, die already. No. Fucking no. AS they say where I hail from: “Weeds never die”.

  • AssWho?

    Did not know that, new even more of a profound respect that he made it another 13.

  • skowhegan_scott

    LWOP should be the mandatory sentence for all sexual predators . I would really like to see the statistics for false convictions for sexual offenses , because I cannot see the logic in giving these scumbag motherfuckers not only a second chance but a third fourth and sixth chance and beyond to destroy a young person’s life in order to satiate their perverted lust all because ” they might be innocent ” . What is it going to take before the system realizes not everybody is innocent nor is everybody capable of being saved , reformed or cured , and that death or imprisonment is the sure bet in keeping evil bastards like this from harming anyone else.To endure such torment for 13 years is nothing I would wish on even my worst enemy however monsters like Don Collins deserves whatever they get .

  • Pinkiepie

    My guess as to why the delay in coming forward : the family knew the kidfucker was in prison. He couldnt hurt another kid while he was in there. 2) They also knew that he would serve longer in jail for murder than for rape. With the crime he is now charged, if this effort fails to convict him he can still be charged with rape. 3) they did not want their son to endure facing his rapist(trauma mentioned in article). His parents have probably known for a while what happened to their son. 4) the kid was already deformed from this, they did not want friends and family to look at him as the deformed AND molested kid.
    I know it’s speculation, but I still think this was all very planned – see lawyers statement about needing publicity to convict, the motive for civil trial. And if I am right, kudos to the team for keeping a very disturbed man off of the streets.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=606239068 Anthony Mandich

    What a twisted evil child that fat little donut loving meat ball Don Collins must have been. One can only imagine what a child like that grows up to be. It must be really horrible to be inside of his depraved homosexual peanut butter and jelly loving mind. I hope that they feed him a constant stream of cock in prison. A never ending all you can eat ball buffet. I hope he does chicken skin uppercuts in his sleep and can’t get the man meat out of his mind out of his dreams out of his ass mouth ears and hands for the rest of his man beef loving years.

  • Athena

    “Chicken skin uppercuts”? I must know. Anyone?

    I’m sure I could come up with it when sober and focused… but I may not remember this post tomorrow.

  • newstarshipsmell

    Best I can do is tell you most of the “chicken skin…” definitions on UD involve nutsacks. No definition for CS Uppercuts, though. Sorry.

  • supreme321

    Hahaha. This is so nuts. Your country is a safe-haven for sex offenders. You can go, do ‘it’ again and only then we’ll come after you. I mean the sexual assault in 2001 (only 3 years after the alleged crime) wasn’t that enough to re-open the case. Or was me that didn’t understand the article?

  • Rachel Ann

    I’m guessing he means blowjobs in at night when he is supposed to be sleeping? lolz

  • Gee

    That helps… LOL

  • Rachel Ann

    Wow. Just wow. I mean how fucked up can your upbringing be that you do this at 13y/o?

  • Athena

    This makes sense. Thank you. 😛

  • JohnQknowitall

    This guy needs to be off the street, but the idea of trying him as an adult for a crime committed when when he was 13 years old is troublesome.

  • JohnQknowitall

    Symbolically you have an additional 100 thumbs up with this one.

  • BEastDuo

    Just WTF does the perp being have have anything to fucking do with what he did? ( if the guy really is even gay?)

  • BEastDuo

    being gay have to do with anything***

  • Kasie K

    i am such a perv. i thought “fingers” refered to digital sex…i read article and was sorta disappointed

  • newstarshipsmell

    It could be an intentional double entendre – he identified his attacker, as well as metaphorically fingered him up the ass, from his deathbed. I wouldn’t put it past Pete to stick something like that in there on purpose.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1106642961 Alice Hennen

    I did too and thought that would be a great revenge tactic. Although if the sick freak gets off on raping little boys and setting them on fire, I think being fingered up the arse would probably turn him on rather than humiliate him.

  • shanshanity

    What’s ‘troublesome’ is the fact he was quite happy to burn the poor kid alive and even after seeing the horror he caused, 3 years later goes on to rape another child of the same age.

    That poor kid not only suffered the initial agony of his attack but went onto suffer relentless pain for the next 13 years til he died of fucking cancer that came about because of the skin grafts that he needed because that demonic turd BURNT HIM ALIVE!

    Seriously,your ‘troubled’ because he might finally get his just desserts?!


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=718600192 Tim Bates

    This guy deserves to suffer as much as that poor kid did.

  • Twisted1

    I think another reason why is that the victim would be less likely to report if they knew it meant death. Since most sex crimes are committed by a close friend or family member.

  • wyrosjr

    He would look best swaying gently from a tall tree.

  • CD

    This is one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard.

    Can you imagine his terror when he came across this Evil Beast in the woods? On his 8th Birthday. Happy for a minute, unsuspecting. I am so sad for Robbie’s sweet little heart. The pictures broke my heart.
    May he RIP. May Collins suffer and burn in hell.

  • JohnQknowitall

    What do you think of a man being tried as an adult for a crime he committed at the age of 13?

  • newstarshipsmell

    Possibly, but I think he’d look even better under six feet of dirt, regardless of how he came to be there.

  • Athena

    I think it’s bad practice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/william.werts.3 William Werts

    Chicken skin uppercuts refer to a nut sack bouncing off ones chin during the action of sucking a cock

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1106642961 Alice Hennen

    You learn something new everyday. I usually go to urban dictionary for these kinds of things, and sometimes wish I hadn’t.

  • LeaveMeBe

    As long as he’s still conscious when they shovel the dirt over him, I’m game for this.

  • newstarshipsmell

    If you’re going to go that route, I’d pick the coffin whose lid is lined with hundreds of razor blades, and liberally coated with some sort of salty goo.

  • Sam

    Surely a more suitable punishment would be to have the salty sharp things at crotch level, and to plaster pictures of young boys at eye level? Let’s see if he still gets excited about the thought of little boys after his dinky toy has been sliced to bits a couple of dozen times.

  • LeaveMeBe

    We can just flood it with rubbing alcohol once we close the lid.

  • newstarshipsmell

    Wouldn’t want him to drown prematurely.

  • joshua


  • http://twitter.com/Q_Jordon Quintin Jordon

    The title confused me at first. . . Interesting word – Fingers –

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=606239068 Anthony Mandich

    well he raped the kid right? a boy (him) age 13 perpetrated a homosexual rape against the 8 year old victim also a boy. he likes dick. so he should be forcefed dick for all the rest of his days. its not a burn on homosexuals. its a burn on homosexual murdering rapists.

  • BEastDuo

    Because we all know what a good track record punitive rape has with reforming criminals?

  • Abroad

    An 8-year-old is not a man. Anybody who rapes an 8-year-old is simply raping a child, and it is entirely possible it would not matter particularly what sex it was.

  • Bop

    I’ve been coming to this site too long. I thought the headline meant something completely different…

  • wyrosjr

    One can argue hanging is neither cruel nor unusual and it gives a nice image to would be criminals. I wonder how often in the past a public hanging left a strong enough imprint to deter potential criminals.