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DA Drops Charges Against Youth Pastor

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File photo of a gavel in a courtroom.  (Credit: Thinkstock)

File photo of a gavel in a courtroom. (Credit: Thinkstock)

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(Las Vegas, NV) — The Clark County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday it would not seek to indict a California youth pastor in connection with a confrontation which led to another man’s death.

Prosecutors say 35-year-old Robert Cox could have been acting in self-defense.

Cox was in Las Vegas with his family and a church group when the altercation happened with 55-year-old Link Ellingson.  Ellingson sustained a traumatic head injury when he apparently fell and hit his head on a curb during a confrontation with Cox outside a local sports bar on June 13, 2013.

Cox has said he was acting in self-defense during the confrontation, and witnesses have supported Cox’s claim.

Ellingson never regained consciousness and later died on Dec. 15.

Following Ellingson’s death, the DA’s Office charged Cox with murder but elected not to proceed with the preliminary hearing in order to further investigate the matter before the grand jury.

According to the DA’s office, in criminal cases, prosecutors are ethically and legally bound to only pursue charges they believe can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  This includes being able to eliminate reasonable defenses, such as a claim that a person was acting in self-defense.

This means that in this case the prosecution would have had to prove that Cox did not act in self-defense during the confrontation. After further review, prosecutors determined they would not be able to meet this standard and so decided not to seek an indictment from the grand jury.

 

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