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California pastor will not be prosecuted on fight charges

Steve Wolfson
Steve Wolfson
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Updated: 8/15 1:04 pm
LAS VEGAS -- A California youth pastor involved in a June 2013 altercation that ultimately led to another man’s death will not face criminal charges because he could have been acting in self-defense, the Clark County district attorney’s office announced today.

Link Ellingson, 55, of Las Vegas, sustained a traumatic head injury when he apparently fell and hit his head on a curb during a confrontation with Robert Cox outside a local sports bar on June 13, 2013. Ellingson never regained consciousness and later died on Dec. 15.

Robert Cox, 35, a youth pastor for a church in Manteca, Calif., was in Las Vegas with his family and a church group when the altercation with Ellingson happened. Cox has said he was acting in self-defense during the confrontation, and witnesses have supported Cox’s claim.

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.

In all 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.

-- Clark County DA news release

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