Jury orders man to pay $150 billion to family of Montgomery County man who was burned as a boy
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A Montgomery County family has been awarded the biggest settlement ever -- $150 billion. The civil lawsuit has to do with the death of their son and while they will likely never see that $150 billion, they hope it will bring about justice.
"I wasn't expecting it to turn out as well as it did," Colleen Middleton said.
Colleen Middleton and Bobby Middleton are still trying to process what happened Tuesday afternoon.
"It tells me that they understood that he was a precious human being and he didn't deserve what happened to him," Colleen Middleton said.
This final judgment by a Fayette County jury on Tuesday awarded the Middletons $150 billion.
"It just hasn't really sunk in yet. Bobby thought when they said $150 billion, he thought they said $150 million," Colleen Middleton said.
At the center of the case is their son Robbie Middleton. He died eight months ago, just shy of his 21st birthday. His terminal cancer was a direct result of his severe burns.
In 1998, on his eighth birthday, Robbie was doused with gasoline and burned over 99 percent of his body. It happened in Montgomery County.
Robbie spent most of his life in Shriners Burn Hospital in Galveston. The rehabilitation was painful, but his mother says he never gave in to self pity and anger.
Days before he died, Robbie gave a deposition, naming Don Collins as the man who burned him and sexually assaulted him. Collins was never charged in the crimes by Montgomery County officials.
Since 2001, Collins has been serving time in TDCJ for aggravated sexual assault of another eight-year-old boy.
Collins was recently found liable for Robbie Middleton's death in civil court, and on Tuesday, a jury awarded the massive dollar amount. Robbie's mother believes it was her son's deposition that made the difference.
"He did it because was afraid that Don might attack another child and that was Robert's motivation for giving that deposition," she said.
Colleen Middleton says they didn't sue Collins for the money; the family says it is seeking justice.
"I never expect to see a penny of the money and not at all. The whole reason we did this today was to send a statement to Montgomery County that they need to criminally prosecute him," she said.
Whether that will happen remains unknown. The Montgomery County attorney and district attorney did not returned our calls.
local, cynthia cisneros
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