Robbie Middleton was tied to a tree, doused with gas, and then burned alive on his eighth birthday. The child survived, but suffered from cancer caused by burns which covered 99 percent of his little body. Before dying 13 years after the horrific attack, Middleton named his attacker during a death bed video. Don Collins, 27, has been charged with felony murder for allegedly igniting the inferno which resulted in the third-degree burns and ultimately the young man’s death.
Doctors did not expect Robbie to survive the savage attack which resulted in the need for 200 operations and countless hours of physical therapy. Those close to the shocking medical case note the staggering amount of courage Middleton possessed throughout the ordeal, according to the Daily Mail. The burn victim died just days before turning 21 but not before he finally voiced the name of his alleged attacker.
During the 17-minute video, Robbie named the man he believed tied him to a tree and set him on fire during the 1998 Splendora, Texas incident. The young man also stated he had been raped by the then 13-year-old neighbor. Middleton believed that the attempted murder by fire act was meant to ensure his silence about the sexual abuse.
Montgomery County attorney, David Walker, had this to say about the felony murder case during an interview with the Houston Chronicle:
“It was done to prevent Middleton from talking. It provides the bridge that we needed for the delay, rather than saying we didn’t have sufficient staffing or something else.”
Collins, a convicted sex offender, may be charged as an adult even though he was still a juvenile when the crime as committed. When Collins was 16, he was arrested for sexually assaulting another 8-year-old boy.