Arrest Warrant: Man accused of killing disgraced priest met him through Craig’s List ad

Local News

HENDERSON, Nev. (KLAS) — New information was revealed Tuesday about the murder of disgraced priest John Capparelli.  An arrest warrant for a 25-year-old man says the two men met through an ad on Craig’s list.

On March 9, Henderson Police did a welfare check at the 70-year-old’s home in the Anthem neighborhood on Bonner Springs near Eastern Avenue.  According to the Clark County Coroner’s office, Capparelli had a gunshot wound to the neck.

Derrick Decoste, who’s sitting in a jail in Oakland, Michigan on unrelated charges is accused of killing him.  Decoste faces the following charges:

  • Murder with a deadly weapon
  • Robbery with a deadly weapon 

He was arrested in Michigan in March, which is the same month he allegedly killed Capparelli.

Decoste said he responded to Capparelli’s advertisement for a “gig” to have photos taken, but when he arrived at Capparelli’s home, he learned the photos entailed much more than he thought.  

According to the warrant, Capparelli met Decoste outside his home with another person. That’s when Capparelli told Decoste that he wanted to take photos of the two of them hugging each other. Decoste said he declined the offer and drove away. 

Henderson Police interviewed Decoste’s girlfriend, and she told detectives that Decoste told her that he had met someone on Craig’s List that advertised that he was looking to hire wrestlers. 

Henderson Police say they found hundreds of DVDs of nearly nude men wrestling in Capparelli’s home. Neighbors told 8 News Now he frequently had young boys visit home, and they thought he was tutoring them.

The girlfriend told police that Decoste was eager to make money, so he met with the victim. She said she remembered him going to Capparelli’s house a couple of times, but that Decoste had only mentioned wrestling one time.

According to the girlfriend, it was after his second visit to Capparelli’s home that she remembered Decoste telling her about robbing him.  The report said the girlfriend said Decoste believed Capparelli had money and would be home alone the next time he went over. When she asked him about it once he returned, Decoste told her he “chickened out” and instead he stole wrestling underwear and wristwatches from Capparelli.

The girlfriend gave Henderson Police a bag that belongs to Decoste, and in it, officers found a Smith & Wesson semi-automatic 9mm handgun, which matched the same caliber of the cartridge casing recovered from the murder scene. There was also a wristwatch that had the Newark Teachers Union Local 481 logo on the face of it. 

Police showed the watch to Capparelli’s brother, and he said that the watch was that of his brother.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Capparelli was at the center of claims of sexual abuse.  He had been a priest in New Jersey and was suspended from ministry in 1992.  According to a New Jersey publication, there were over two dozen lawsuits of sexual accusations against Caparelli.  He taught math in Newark Schools before surrendering his teaching license and moving to Nevada.  He was never criminally charged with the alleged crimes.

Eventually, Decoste will be extradited back to Nevada to face murder and robbery charges.

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