Man pleads not guilty to murder in childhood attack on boy

CONROE, Texas - A man in Conroe pleaded not guilty to capital murder stemming from a childhood attack on a boy who died nearly 13 years later.

Investigators say Don Collins was 13 years old in 1998 when he poured gasoline on Robbie Middleton and set him on fire. Middleton, who was eight years old at that time, survived but died in 2011 of skin cancer that investigators blamed on his injuries.

"We get to a point where we don't think about it all day, every day and then we have to relieve it all over again. It's really hard thinking about how much Robert suffered, what he went through," said his mother, Colleen Middleton.

A Montgomery County grand jury's indictment last month came after a judge ruled in March that Collins' case could be transferred from juvenile to adult court.

"I think the most difficult aspect of the case is making sure Robert's voice gets heard through it all," said Phil Grant, with the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.

For the family, the fight for justice after so many years, is more important than a decision to move the trial out of Montgomery County.

"Our preference is always to try our cases here in Montgomery County with our citizens in the jury box, but we feel confident that if the judge does grant the change of venue motion, that we will be able to present this case effectively no matter where we are in Texas," said Grant.

"I'm fine with that. The truth is going to be the truth mo matter where we do. I'm fine with the change of venue," said Colleen Middleton. "There were quite a few years where I thought I just can't believe nothing going to happen, we're just going to have to wait until we die for justice."

E. Tay Bond, Collins' attorney, has said there's no credible evidence in the case that could lead to a conviction.

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