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Texas man can be tried as adult in childhood crime, judge rules

Middleton was burned across 99 % regarding his physique and also endured many a prolonged time of physical therapy before he died within 2011 from skin cancer blamed on his burns.

Montgomery County Attorney J.D. Lambright's office is actually responsible for matters involving juveniles.

"I believe (prosecutors) are generally likely to face an uphill battle here," Scheiner said.

Prosecutors said the particular murder didn't consider place until 2011, well following your law was changed.

That worry as well as frustration had been replaced simply by relief Thursday as being a judge ruled that will a new Texas man accused regarding dousing your boy together with gasoline and also setting him burning when he would always be a kid can be attempted as a grownup with regard to murder after the victim died through his uses up 13 many years later.

"There is not really any physical evidence that will links Don Collins in order to this case," Bond said. The Particular sexual assault allegation prompted investigators for you to reopen your case. Prosecutors charged the actual now 28-year-old Collins using murder final year, but they required to maneuver the truth via juvenile to be able to adult court to take him for you to trial.

Don Willburn Collins was 13 when authorities allege he attacked Robert Middleton upon his eighth birthday nearby the younger boy's residence inside Splendora, regarding 35 miles northeast of Houston. Component associated with Middleton's taped deposition also has been shown.

Once the particular trial concludes, Collins could appeal Hamilton's ruling and any conviction inside Middleton's death.

Bond furthermore argued in which the case really must not be moved to adult court simply because inside 1998, a juvenile had to be no much less than 14 years old for a capital felony offense case being transferred. Legal experts say they've got not necessarily heard of your similar case before.

Colleen Middleton mentioned the girl is pleased the woman's son will finally acquire his day throughout court.

CONROE, Texas -  In your many years which adopted the 1998 attack that horribly burned your ex then-8-year-old son, Colleen Middleton felt worry and also frustration more than the particular possibility in which anyone the lady believed has been responsible would never be studied to trial.

""When Robert died we were pondering maybe there can be little at just about any time happen, maybe someone is simply going to get away with the items they do to always be able to him," your woman said. "It's been a new long road."


March 5, 2014: in this file photo, Don Willburn Collins walks right directly into a hearing at the 359th Judicial District Court with Judge Kathleen Hamilton inside Conroe, Texas.AP/Conroe Courier

Collins' attorney, E. Lambright referred for you to as ruling a "tremendous victory" for that Middleton family. "There are no eyewitnesses."

Prosecutors said they believe his or her function in order to transfer any case below these circumstance is truly a very first regarding Texas. the law was changed throughout 1999 for you to lower in which age group for you to 10.

After a new three-day hearing about the issue this week, state District Judge Kathleen Hamilton ruled that will Collins could potentially be attempted with regard to murder through a grown-up court.

Some legal experts say prosecutors will have the problem convicting Collins involving murder along with preventing the choice to transfer the case to become able to adult court via being overturned upon appeal.

Shortly just before he died, Middleton gave the videotaped deposition in which he accused Collins for your first-time regarding sexually assaulting him fourteen days prior in order to the attack. Collins invested many months inside juvenile detention yet was released after prosecutors said they didn't have sufficient evidence in order to pursue the case.. Currently an adult, the victim testified this week which Collins had threatened to burn up him if he informed anyone what happened.

Several witnesses testified in the hearing that Collins had confessed for them or others which he had been responsible for that attack upon Middleton. Tay Bond, questioned your reliability of Middleton's statements, as well as secondhand statements from other witnesses.

"Because their state did not possess probable induce to continue throughout juvenile court along with new evidence has been found since your 18th birthday associated with (Collins), I have got further determined there's probable cause to trust that will (Collins) committed your offense alleged," Hamilton said.

Robert Middleton named Collins as his attacker as well as the older boy had been arrested in 1998.

Collins, who's becoming held on a $1 million bond, will carry on for you to be jailed.  He also faces the cost throughout neighboring San Jacinto County associated with failing to end up being able to sign-up like a sex offender.

Grant Scheiner, a new Houston criminal defense attorney certainly not involved within the case, stated the greatest hurdle with regard to prosecutors will be linking Middleton's death within 2011 from cancer towards the attack in 1998.

Collins had been convicted in the separate case regarding sexually assaulting another 8-year-old boy. He stated the particular prosecution will certainly be given over to the county district attorney's office, that works to always be able to indict Collins

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