Robbie Middleton was just eight-years-old in 1998 when he was attacked by another boy. The bully tied Robbie at a tree, poured gasoline on him, and lit him on fire in a horrifying crime in Splendora, Texas, according to ABC.
Warning: disturbing images below.
Several years later, the perpetrator received the maximum sentence allowed — and Robbie’s family was awarded the highest damages ever imposed in the United States.
Robbie’s story begins in the state of Texas. He was an ordinary boy who went to school. But on the day of his eighth birthday, he met a monster that would completely destroy him and his family. The then 13-year-old Don Collins kidnapped Robbie, tied him to a tree, and poured gasoline on the boy before lighting him on fire. The horrible attack took place near Robbie’s home in Splendora, Texas. Robbie was on his his way to a friend’s house when he came across Don, writes Huffington Post.
99 percent of Robbie’s body was covered third degree burns. He endured more than 150 operations and spent most of his days at a rehabilitation center after his burns. But ten years after the attack, his body began to fail. Robbie received a cancer diagnosis that, according to doctors, was directly linked to his many burns. US courts ruled that his death was a murder.
Don had been suspected of the crime, but was released for lack of evidence.
But on his deathbed, the Middleton family’s lawyer took new testimony from Robbie. He confirmed that Don committed the horrible crime, with the words: “Don did it”.
In the video, the court heard Robbie confirm what happened:
“Don grabbed my shoulder and poured gas onto my face. After that, I don’t really remember anything.”
The lawyer recorded his testimony and in February 2015, a court in Galveston sentenced the now 29-year-old perpetrator. As he was only 13 at the time of the crime, he received the most severe sentence that could be imposed by the state — 40 years in prison.
“Today, one little boy will finally get justice,” said prosecutor Rob Freyer during his final statement in court, according to KHOU.
The lawyer reported during the prosecution that the motive for the crime was that Don sexually assaulted Robbie two weeks before the gas attack. In the video, Robbie told the lawyer that Don did it to silence him. But eventually, Robbie admitted what had happened. After all those years … The jury watched the video in which Robbie confessed everything from the hospital bed, 17 days before his death.
Another now grown man came forward and testified that Don also abused him when he was little, wrote ABC.
In addition, Robbie’s family received the highest damages ever awarded in the US: $150 billion, states The Telegraph. But all money in the world won’t bring Robbie back to his family.
In the city of Galveston, Robbie Middleton Day has been established every year on Robbie’s birthday on June 28, to remember him.
Robbie’s story has touched a lot of people worldwide over the years, and his family has repeatedly shared his ordeal with the news.
We must never forget Robbie. That he lived for so long without telling what actually happened … It’s terrible. Don’t ever hesitate to tell someone when something is wrong, either for a friend, teacher, mom, dad, or someone else. Please share this to honor his memory. Rest in peace, Robbie (6/28 1990 – 4/29 2011).