View Mobile Site

18 Manteca interns going before Vegas grand jury

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED June 20, 2014 1:21 a.m.

More than a dozen interns that were witnesses to the incident that took place outside of a Las Vegas restaurant involving a Manteca Pastor more than a year ago are being called to testify before the Clark County Criminal Grand Jury. 

And while inconveniencing 18 young people with orders to appear in Las Vegas during the middle of the summer seems extreme, the attorney representing Robert Cox – who is facing charges of murder for the death of 55-year-old Link Ellingson after a dustup outside of a popular eatery and haunt left the man with a traumatic brain injury – thinks that it could be the first step towards his client ultimately going home with the charges dismissed. 

According to attorney Warren Gellar, only three of the 18 students who received notices to appear have provided statements – attempts to coordinate jurisdictions to get the others never materialized on the local level. Now, with his client agreeing to make routine court appointments in Las Vegas to answer to what he feels are trumped-up charges, the district attorney is using a rare tactic to question the students without the presence of a defense attorney present. 

“Basically what they’re doing, instead of a preliminary hearing is having a grand jury convene to see if there will be an indictment and the defense attorney is barred from participating,” Gellar said. “We can submit a letter – exculpatory evidence – but that’s it. 

“And it’s all going to take place over one long day.”

The students will have to appear on Tuesday, June 24. 

Cox isn’t set to be back before a judge until July 2. It’s unknown whether he will need to be in town when the Grand Jury proceedings are taking place. 

He’s maintained his innocence since the beginning, when he was picked up by the Manteca Police earlier this month on an outstanding murder warrant from Nevada. He had even gone on national news programs to tell his side of the story. 

“I don’t think there was anything that went wrong. I acted – I felt threatened – and I was scared for my life. When watching my students get attacked and knowing that my daughter was watching it all go down out of the RV window – I was just acting. Protecting myself protecting those around me.

“So I’m not sure what went wrong, but all I was doing was defending myself.”

Gellar said that Nevada is a “stand your ground” state meaning that Cox had every right to defend himself without having to search for the retreat scenario that would have been applicable if the same thing took place in California. 

And Gellar is pretty certain that the ploy to parade 18 witnesses before a grand jury is a reaching attempt by the district attorney to find the evidence needed to bring a case to trial – otherwise this step could be handled much differently. 

“There’s a good chance that this will show that there’s not enough evidence to proceed and the family will get the bail money back and the case will be closed,” Gellar said. “We’ll have an arraignment one week after the grand jury, so we’ll have to see what happens between those two. I think they have some serious problems with their evidence, and this tactic just reinforces that.”

While the details aren’t completely certain, witnesses claim that Cox intervened when Ellingson – who had been drinking – started making off-color comments to some of the group members. When it turned violent, according to the group, Cox took control of the situation by trying to take him to the ground by the waist. That’s when he hit his head. He would slip into a coma shortly thereafter, and died six months later from a pierced vena cava that came during a medical procedure. The Medical Examiner’s report ruled that the death was as a result of injuries sustained in the incident.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department alleges that Cox claimed he first punched Ellingson – later retracting that statement when he was brought in to make a formal statement. 

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...