Prosecutors dropped murder charges against a Manteca minister for the death of a 55-year-old man whom he had knocked to the ground in a scuffle in Las Vegas in June, 2013.
The incident had become an international cause célèbre when a young man in Japan held up a poster written in Japanese that said, “I support Robert Cox,” and a group of 200 people from India said they were praying for him.
The Los Angeles Times reported a message on a website for the Place of Refuge church that said that Pastor Robert Lynn Cox had been with a church group after exiting the Four Kegs sports pub in Las Vegas, when “a very large man assaulted Rob and two of our interns,” in the parking lot. According to members of the group, Link Ellingson was the aggressor. Ellingson allegedly said he was going to “kill” Cox and began punching people.
Cox claims that he acted in self defense and first told police that he had punched Ellingson in the face, but later claimed that he had pushed him to the ground. Ellingson hit his head when he fell and went unconscious. He remained in a coma for six months and finally died in December.
Cox was charged with murder one year later in June, 2014. “It was really hard to explain to my children, what happened, because, you know, their dad was just gone,” Cox told Fox40. “They went to the dentist, and their dad got arrested at the church, and that’s all.”
Now that charges have been dropped, Cox still has to appear before a grand jury, and he is confident that he will be cleared of all charges. “The jurors will see that I didn’t do anything that was wrong. I’m going to be exonerated, and it’s going to be great,” he said.