Don Collins guilty of capital murder in Robbie Middleton's death

CONROE, TX (KTRK) -- A guilty verdict has been reached in the capital murder trial of the man accused of tying a young boy to a tree and setting him on fire.

That verdict came today after only a few hours of deliberation. Don Collins tortured and burned Robbie Middleton back in 1998. Middleton died of cancer related to the burns in 2011.

The punishment phase of the trial begins in the morning.

"It's been so long and we've waited and waited and now that it's here, it's like, maybe it'll sink in later," said Robbie Middleton's mother, Colleen, shortly after the verdict was read.

Even though this was a capital murder trial, the death penalty is off the table because Collins was 13 at the time of this crime. His defense team argued that he shouldn't have even been tried as an adult because the laws at the time would have prevented it. The laws changed since that time.

Collins' sentence could be up to 40 years in prison.

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