It was another day of emotional testimony Tuesday during a hearing in Montgomery County over the death of Robbie Middleton. A man is facing murder charges, accused of dousing Middleton with gasoline and setting him on fire.
The child survived for more than 10 years after the attack, but died after developing cancer that doctors say was directly related to the burns.
We learned in court that Don Collins has a sex assault conviction as a minor. The victim in that case testified Tuesday morning. What he says Collins told him is just chilling.
The attack happened in 1998. Prosecutors say a then 13-year-old Collins did it in order to keep Middleton from talking about how Collins had allegedly sexually assaulted him..
Fast forward 11 years later. A man says he was sexually assaulted by Collins, and then threatened should he ever tell.
"He told me and a buddy of mine that if we told anybody, he would burn us like he burned that little boy," said the man, who we're not identifying.
Collins was convicted of that sexual assault, according to his attorney. The other victim testified Thursday in an effort to help prosecutors convince a judge to certify Collins to stand trial as an adult for Middleton's murder.
"The only statement I was able to get from him was that Don did it and that was it," said former juvenile prosecutor Bill Pattillo.
Pattillo testified Tuesday that they didn't take the case to trial right after the attack because of a lack of evidence. Middleton, he says, initially accused a number of people, including Collins. And because he was highly medicated and in extreme pain, they couldn't ensure he was thinking clearly.
"I felt it was very, ver, very shaky," said Pattillo.
Even in his final days, though, Middleton was adamant that Collins was his attacker, accusing him in a deposition videotaped before his death. Prosecutors say that, combined with new evidence and witness statements give them enough to pursue a murder charge against Collins.
His attorney insists otherwise.
"None of it has been new actual evidence," said Collins' attorney Tay Bond.
This hearing is in recess until Wednesday.
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