MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas When Robbie Middleton, a young man who struggled to survive for more than a decade after he was set on fire when he was 8 years old, died earlier this year, charges had not been filed against the person responsible for his injuries.
But now, thanks to Middleton s death-bed deposition, his family is having their day in court, seeking justice on Middleton s behalf.
Robbie Middleton s painful journey on this Earth came to an end in April, 13 years after he was doused in gasoline, set on fire and burned over 99 percent of his body. Before Middleton died of skin cancer, he recorded a sworn video deposition on his death bed.
He was dying in his hospital bed, and we asked him if he wanted to continue this fight and he did, said Craig Sico, Middleton s attorney.
In the deposition, Middleton blamed his former neighbor, Donald Collins, for setting him on fire.
Don grabbed me, and turned me around and threw gas in my face, Middleton said.
But that wasn t all. Middleton also made a shocking claim an embarrassing secret he d been hiding since he was a child.
He said a few weeks before the gasoline attack, Collins had sexually assaulted him.
He pulled my clothes down and started raping me, Middleton said.
Donald Collins had sexually assaulted him approximately two weeks before the fire in the very location of the fire, Sico said. He was never charged. They told us there wasn t enough evidence.
Collins was taken into custody, but was later released.
He did, however, serve time for the 2001 aggravated sexual assault of another 8-year-old boy.
Collins has denied Middleton s claims.
Everybody s lying ... if detectives had something, I d be proven guilty, Collins said.
But now, the Middleton family is going after Collins in civil court.
They said that while they have no expectation of ever collecting any money, but they re hoping that what comes out in court will prompt Montgomery County to reopen a criminal investigation.