Robbie Middleton

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Robbie Middleton (June 28, 1990 – April 29, 2011) was an American man from Splendora, Texas, who on his eighth birthday in 1998 was tied to a tree, doused in gasoline, and set on fire. He suffered third-degree burns to 99% of his body and endured 150 operations, before dying at age 20 from a cancer that doctors blamed on the original injuries.

Just prior to his death, Robbie, the son of Bobby and Colleen Middleton, left a 27-minute video testimony on his deathbed naming the perpetrator who he believed had torched him as Don Wilburn Collins (born 1985), at the time a 13-year-old neighbor of the Middletons.[1] Collins had allegedly raped Middleton in the same location of the torching just two weeks earlier and Collins's attempt to murder Middleton was to ensure that Middleton would never reveal the secret.[2] "Don grabbed me by my shoulder and threw gas in my face, after that I don't really remember anything" said Middleton in the video statement.[3] Though Collins was detained in connection with the assault, he was later released because of insufficient evidence.[4]

In 2001, Collins, age 16 at the time, had been jailed for sexually assaulting another eight-year-old boy and served time in jail. He also served time for failing to register as a sex offender and was released from prison on September 5, 2011.[5]

In 2011, Middleton died of a rare form of cancer which was linked to the more than 150 surgeries and skin grafts which he received over his lifetime. A coroner ruled Middleton's death a homicide, and Collins was tried for the crime. On February 9, 2015, a jury convicted Collins of murder in the death of Robbie Middleton. Prosecutors say that Collins could serve up to 40 years in prison,[6][7] but Collins' defense attorneys pledged to appeal the conviction.[4]

In December 2011 the Middleton family was granted biggest compensation payout ever - $150 billion (more than Florida tobacco verdict from 2000 of $145 billion, which was overturned).[8]

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