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Fayette County jury awards record amount in 1998 attack of 8-year-old Splendora boy, Local lawyer files civil suit to pressure Montgomery County officials into prosecuting excused assailant

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A Fayette County jury awarded the family of Robbie Middleton over $150 billion, the largest civil settlement in U.S. history.

In a largely symbolic judgment against Donald Wilburn Collins, jurors concluded that, in 1998, he raped, tied to a tree, doused with gasoline and set on fire, Robert Middleton of Splendora.

On the day of the attack, it was Middleton’s 8th birthday. He sustained third degree burns on over 99 percent of his body. Doctors never expected him to survive the attack, but amazingly he lived until April 2011, just three months shy of his 21st birthday.

Middleton eventually succumbed to a rare form of skin cancer that doctors attributed to the injuries he received in the 1998 attack. In the days following the attack, Robbie Middleton told family, doctors, and investigators that a neighbor, Don Collins, who was 13 at the time, was the person who attacked him. A case was never brought against Collins.Read more