A Manteca pastor is accused of killing a man after a fight outside a Las Vegas sports bar.
Robert Cox is now being held in the San Joaquin County Jail, awaiting extradition to Nevada to face a murder charge. Those who were with him on June 13, 2013 say he was the one who was attacked first, and only acted in self defense.
Cox’s friends and family can’t understand why these charges have been filed against him.
“He needs a good morale booster, he’s struggling,” Cox’s wife, Julie, told FOX40. “Obviously, he has no criminal past, no history of this.”
Cox and several members of his youth group were talking in the parking lot after dinner at the Four Kegs, a Vegas sports pub.
According to Kelli Lane, who was there, Link Ellingson abruptly approached them around midnight.
“He said, ‘Hey girl friend, you want to ‘F’ with me?’ And Rob was immediately like, ‘Oh my gosh, no,’ backed up, ‘I have kids here,’ said no. And the man said, ‘Well I’m coming to ‘F’ with you.’”
That’s when the group says Ellingson started punching members of their group.
“He assaulted five of us multiple times before Rob could get his arms around him to push him back and, unfortunately, when he was pushing him back they tripped and fell,” Lane told FOX40.
In that fall, Ellingson hit his head on the concrete, immediately going into a coma.
But according to the police report, Cox punched Ellingson in the face, something investigators believe he later lied about.
“There was no punch thrown. I can understand where that was implied because his finger was broken, but from the get go we said that the police report is false and we need to get it fixed,” Julie Cox said.
Ellingson passed away in December.
While the group thought no charges would be filed, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office issued a warrant for Cox’s arrest late May, without contacting him or his Las Vegas attorney.
“A couple of days ago the Manteca Police Department shows up here and handcuffs him and tell him he’s on a fugitive warrant out of Las Vegas, which makes it sound like he’s been running from the law,” Michael Dillman, the senior pastor at Place of Refuge, told FOX40.
This group says they can’t understand how, in less than a year, one of their leaders went from protecting them against an attacker to being accused of murder.
“It doesn’t make sense, if you hear it, if you hear the facts, if you hear the truth, why would it even go to court,” Lane said.
Clark County District Attorney was unavailable for comment Thursday.