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Experts: Prosecutors face problems in case of Texas man accused of murder in childhood attack

  • CORRECTION Badly Burned Boy.JPEG

    CORRECTS TO JUDGE HAMILTON, NOT COLLINS IN SECOND SENTENCE - Don Willburn Collins waits to be placed into the custody of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office following a hearing at the 359th Judicial District Court with Judge Kathleen Hamilton on Thursday, March 6, 2014, in Conroe, Texas. Collins, now 28, accused of dousing Robert Middleton with gasoline and setting him on fire in 1998 when he was a teenager, can be tried as an adult for murder after the victim died from his burns nearly 13 years later, Judge Hamilton ruled Thursday. (AP Photo/ The Courier, Jason Fochtman) MANDATORY CREDITThe Associated Press

  • 9b0248812af9b1094d0f6a706700e862.jpg

    CORRECTS TO JUDGE HAMILTON, NOT COLLINS IN SECOND SENTENCE - Colleen Middleton, the mother of victim Robert Middleton, speak to the media after hearing regarding Don Willburn Collins at the 359th Judicial District Court with Judge Kathleen Hamilton on Thursday, March 6, 2014, in Conroe, Texas. Collins, now 28, accused of dousing Middleton with gasoline and setting him on fire in 1998 when he was a teenager, can be tried as an adult for murder after the victim died from his burns nearly 13 years later, Judge Hamilton ruled Thursday. (AP Photo/ The Courier, Jason Fochtman) MANDATORY CREDITThe Associated Press

  • 3f02a51d2af9b1094d0f6a7067005f63.jpg

    CORRECTS TO JUDGE HAMILTON, NOT COLLINS IN SECOND SENTENCE - Colleen Middleton, the mother of victim Robert Middleton, speak to the media after hearing regarding Don Willburn Collins at the 359th Judicial District Court with Judge Kathleen Hamilton on Thursday, March 6, 2014, in Conroe, Texas. Collins, now 28, accused of dousing Middleton with gasoline and setting him on fire in 1998 when he was a teenager, can be tried as an adult for murder after the victim died from his burns nearly 13 years later, Judge Hamilton ruled Thursday. (AP Photo/ The Courier, Jason Fochtman) MANDATORY CREDITThe Associated Press

  • 1814e2cc2a91af094d0f6a706700c04e.jpg

    FILE - In this March 5, 2014 file photo, Don Willburn Collins walks into a hearing at the 359th Judicial District Court with Judge Kathleen Hamilton in Conroe, Texas. On Thursday, March 6, 2014, a judge ruled that Collins, 28, can be tried for murder in the death of Robert Middleton. Collins is accused of dousing Middleton with gasoline and setting him on fire. Middleton died from his burns nearly 13 years later. (AP Photo/ The Courier, Jason Fochtman, File) MANDATORY CREDITThe Associated Press

Legal experts say prosecutors hoping to secure a murder conviction against a Texas man accused of setting an 8-year-old boy on fire as a teenager will face a difficult task.

A judge ruled Thursday that 28-year-old Don Willburn Collins can be tried as an adult for murder in the death of Robert Middleton.

Middelton died 13 years after the then-13-year-old Collins allegedly doused him with gasoline and set him on fire in 1998. Middleton died of a skin cancer authorities blamed on his burns.

Houston criminal defense attorney Grant Scheiner, who's not involved in the case, says the biggest hurdle for prosecutors will be linking Middleton's death to the attack.

He also says prosecutors lack direct evidence against Collins and that Collins' alleged confessions to others could face heavy scrutiny.

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