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Manteca man faces charges in Las Vegas fracas death

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POSTED June 6, 2014 1:24 a.m.

A Manteca youth pastor is facing manslaughter charges after an altercation outside of a Las Vegas restaurant left a man dead. 

Robert Lynn Cox, 55, was arrested on Tuesday by the Manteca Police Department on an outstanding murder warrant from the State of Nevada that was issued more than 12 months after a dustup outside of the restaurant. The encounter left Cox – the youth pastor for The Place of Refuge and the son-in-law of Pastor Mike Dillman – with a broken finger and a pair of church interns with concussions. 

He is expected to be transferred back to Clark County to answer to the charges.

All three Mantecans were down in Las Vegas on a missionary trip to area churches. All three sought medical attention following the incident. The victim, whose name has not been released, hit his head on the pavement and ended up requiring brain surgery and extensive rehabilitation. He died six months later. 

According to an account posted on the church’s website, the man approached Cox and the two interns and began acting aggressively – even going so far as to threaten to “kill” Cox. When the exchange became physical, Cox tried to restrain the large man and protect the two interns. That’s when he fell and hit his head on the cement. 

The letter, posted by Dillman, explained that the family retained the services of an attorney, and through his work with the Clark County District Attorney’s office and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the consensus appeared that Cox was acting in self defense and no charges would be filed. 

That changed six months later, Dillman wrote, and caught the family and the church community off guard. 

“As you can imagine, we are all in a state of disbelief and covet your prayers and support at this time,” the message says. “Please pray for Julie and our family and please do not engage in speculation or story telling as that will only complicate the situation.”

Manteca Police Sergeant Jodie Estarziau said officers, acting on information that he was at the church on Tuesday, took him into custody without incident. He is currently being held in the San Joaquin County Jail on a no bail murder warrant from the State of Nevada and a felony charge of being a fugitive from justice. 

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