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Montgomery County Attorney J.D. Lambright said he was pleased with the ruling but acknowledged the judge’s decision was “step one in a lengthy process.” The prosecution will now be turned over to the county district attorney’s office, which will work to indict Collins. Lambright’s office is responsible for matters involving juveniles.

Several witnesses testified at this week’s hearing that Collins had confessed to them or others that he was responsible for the attack on Middleton. Part of Middleton’s taped deposition also was shown. A detective did testify that 13 pieces of evidence in the case had been mistakenly destroyed.

Bond, Collins‘ attorney, questioned the reliability of Middleton’s statements, as well as secondhand statements made by other witnesses.

“There is no physical evidence that links Don Collins to this case,” Bond said. “There are no eyewitnesses.”

Collins, who is being held on a $1 million bond, will remain jailed. He also faces a charge in neighboring San Jacinto County of failing to register as a sex offender.

Colleen Middleton, Robert Middleton’s mother, said she is happy her son will finally get his day in court.

“”When Robert died we were thinking maybe nothing will ever happen, maybe someone is just going to get away with what they did to him,” she said. “It’s been a long road.”

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Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter at www.twitter.com/juanlozano70