California pastor faces judge in Las Vegas murder case - 8 News NOW

California pastor faces judge in Las Vegas murder case

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LAS VEGAS -- A California pastor has been arrested and charged with murder after a man he fought with, in a Las Vegas parking lot, died of a head injury some six months after the fight.

Pastor Robert Cox faced a judge Friday for taking the life of Las Vegan Link Ellingson. He died in December from complications of an injury he got during the fight with the pastor.

Prosecutors feel if Cox caused the injury, he's the one to take responsibility for the death.

Attorneys for Cox requested a quick preliminary hearing saying they're ready and confident they can clear their client of murder charges.

Last July, Cox passed through Las Vegas with a youth ministry group. They stopped at the Four Kegs pub on Jones Boulevard and US 95 to eat. Police records show the group was leaving when Cox scuffled with Ellingson, a regular customer. Ellingson fell and hit his head on the pavement.

Ellingson was in a coma and died from a head injury roughly six months later. Last week, Cox was arrested for murder.

"Being ripped out of my office in front of my school and students, at my church, without any explanation. Thrown in county jail for six days. It's been horrendous. It's been terrible," Cox said.

It's also been rough for Ellingson's family. They say their uncle suffered right to the end. On Thursday, they faced Cox for the first time.

"It's been emotional for the last year. Today is one year since my uncle was assaulted and it's been a really long journey for us," said Jayna Hardy.

Cox, the father of two young children, maintains it was self defense.  He is leaning on his faith to get him through this case.

"It's much harder to say trust God there than when standing behind a pulpit," Cox said.

For Hardy, she only knew a man with a big heart who always helped others and would never start a fight.

"He used to drive around with a stack of dollar bills on his dash to hand out to homeless at the curb, at stoplights. He pulled over for every animal he saw," she said.
 
A few months ago, Cox received a letter giving him and his attorney assurances that he would not be charged with assault. He thought this whole thing was behind them, but after Ellingson passed away, that changed.

Cox is due back in court July 2.

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