Judge: Man can be tried for setting child on fire years ago

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
A judge says a Texas man can be tried as an adult for an alleged childhood attack on a boy who died nearly 13 years later.

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CONROE, Texas (AP) -- A judge says a Texas man can be tried as an adult for an alleged childhood attack on a boy who died nearly 13 years later.

Authorities say Don Willburn Collins was 13 when he poured gasoline on Robert Middleton and set him on fire during Middleton's eighth birthday in 1998.

Middleton survived but died in 2011 of skin cancer authorities blamed on his injuries.

Prosecutors charged the now-28-year-old Collins with murder last year, but they needed the case moved out of juvenile court in order to take him to trial.

After a hearing this week, state District Judge Kathleen Hamilton ruled Thursday that Collins' case can be transferred. The ruling enables the murder case against Collins.

Collins' attorney had questioned the constitutionality of moving the case from juvenile court.


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