Tuesday, October 3, 2023
HomeBREAKING NEWSBREAKING NEWS - Jury Seated Splendora Murder Trial

BREAKING NEWS – Jury Seated Splendora Murder Trial

7 p.m.

A jury has been selected to hear the first-degree murder trial of 29-year-old Don Collins, who is charged in the death of Robert Middleton, who was tied to a tree, doused with gasoline and set on fire on his eighth birthday. Collins was 13 at the time.

Although Middleton died 13 years later, his death was directly attributed to skin cancer that was a result of being so severely burned.

The trial was moved to Galveston by 359th District Judge Kathleen Hamilton in order to ensure the availability of unbiased jurors. Testimony begins Tuesday morning, with Rob Freyer prosecuting.


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  1. TXCID, no dissrespect, but I also work in the prison system. I am a 9 year veteran of TDCJ. I was born, raised and currently reside in the town where this horrendous crime took place. I know people close to this incident and I lived through the affect it had on our tiny community. Robbie Middleton was not Don Collins first victim, nor was it his last. Even at the age of 16, Collins was still sexually assaulting young boys. He served time and then went back to prison for failing to register as a sex offender. Would you want him living next door to you? It might understandable to be more forgiving if it had been a one time thing. But he tried to kill a child! He intended to silence his sexual assault victim. That’s not really something you chalk up as puberty, hormones or a “dumb kid mistake”. And it certainly wasn’t a case where he committed a minor infraction and then learned his lesson and became a fruitful citizen. He continued committing crimes of various degrees. He was NEVER punished or held accountable for his crime against Robbie Middleton. Prosecution said there was not enough evidence and the charges were dropped. Everyday, I see men coming into the prison system and leaving worse off than when they arrive. There is little to no rehabilitation in our criminal justice system. Prison does change a man, but this is one guy who probably can’t get any worse than he already is. He needs to be held accountable for what he did, and if that means rotting away on death row, then so be it.

  2. Hormones or no I knew enough at 13 it wasn’t proper to rape & set someone ablaze. I knew it at nine. I knew it at seven. Heck, if I knew what rape was at five I would have known it at that age, too.

    Sorry, TXCID, you’re mindset is too soft and squishy and does nothing to advance a civilized society .

  3. There is no question that the State has their hands full trying to show all of the necessary links to allow a jury to return a verdict that can withstand the appeal that will follow a conviction.

    However, while it is one thing to claim that a juvenile may not be the same person as the adult they are many years later, this particular defendant has demonstrated they have no real desire to remain in the community. Twice they have been sentenced for failure to register as a sex offender. Think about that for a moment…

    Done thinking about it? He has the obligation to register and cannot be bothered…that clearly suggests he did not learn from any missteps Collins made as a juvenile.

  4. …I almost vomited when I read what Robert endured.. I’m sorry but at 13, Don Collins knew what he was doing was wrong and there is simply no excuse for what he did to another human being. While I understand and partially agree with TXCID, I have to wonder what he suggests for rehabilitation and punishment? I’m a Mom and having had my own share of trials with my son who is now 24, I can tell you that deep-seated behavior such as this just do not ‘go away’ with age. They just don’t. So again, what to do with a member of society who had a blatant disregard of another human? Meds? Life imprisonment? I don’t know but I can tell you that I sure as heck don’t foree this individual as ever being a productive member of society or contributing positively in any way shape or form…

  5. I grew up in Splendora, 80 to 85.
    Honestly, peronal accountability is gravely absent in our society, a lack of Self respect, and lack of respect for all life is rampant. This form of behavior is learned by example.
    The parents of the offender sould be given the death penalty. I’m sickened to my stomach every time I see examples like this, more and more frequently as the years progress.
    This nation is sliding down a slippery slope, people are so fixated on pleasing and fulfillment of any and all selfish notions of gratification, it’s any wonder it has only gotten this awful.
    From the top to the bottom we are destroying our sense of morality, decency, integrity, inevitably the more we fulfill our own needs for self gratification, personal enjoyment, and selfish pleasure we lose complete respect for our selves with no disregard for anyone else. We are not only teaching these values to the future generations, we are allowing hollywood and the twisted music industry to further the dissension into complete ruin.

  6. As Terrible as this crime was….. I do not believe we should ever treat 13 year old criminals as adults. I worked in the Prison System for 20 Years and as a Criminal Investigator for 10 years. I have known thousands of felons. I am also a parent and grandparent and was a coach for several years. There are so many things that can effect a child’s behavior. Hormones being one of the worst. I am not trying to excuse their behavior…..but there is a reason we don’t allow them to drive, sign contracts, drink, have sex, care for them selves or run with scissors, they are kids…. and will not be the same person at 25 that they were at 13. Throwing away the key on a child or holding a 29 year old man accountable for the actions of his 13 year old self is wrong. He has been punished for this act as a child, and as a man. I do not know Don Collins at all and he may still be as evil as the act he committed 16 years ago, but the society I would be most proud to live in would recognize the differences between children, youth and Adults and hold them accountable with consideration of these differences regardless of the atrociousness of the offense.

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