The entire ordeal took less than a minute.
A mountain of a man – towering into the frame – lights up a cigarette and immediately looks towards the group of young people that had gathered in the parking lot.
Words are exchanged. He becomes animated. And suddenly he is moving across the screen towards the group.
A punch is thrown. He goes off the screen. Four cameras, all rolling simultaneously, capture the scene from various angles. And then it’s over.
On the ground lays 55-year-old Link Ellingson, and hovering about are a dozen people frantically looking for help. Two or three people crouch near the injured man – who sits up and is communicative despite falling backward and hitting his head on the pavement.
All 6-foot, 8-inches – whipping backward onto rock-solid asphalt.
In less than a minute two different worlds violently clashed into one another outside of a popular Las Vegas eatery made famous by a wild-haired chef with a popular show on The Food Network.
In less than a minute, the life of Manteca Pastor Rob Cox – his followers, his friends, his believers, his supporters, his flock – was turned upside down by a matter of happenstance.
And in less than a minute a young, brash pastor with a demeanor not unlike that wild-haired chef that had essentially brought him to this parking lot was suddenly a murderer.
On Friday afternoon the Clark County District Attorney announced that it would not to seek a grand jury indictment against Cox for the death of Ellingson. After six months in a rehab facility, he died from complications sustained during a surgical procedure. The medical examiner determined that because his death was as a result of the incident, Cox was responsible.
Then the whirlwind began.
He was arrested by the Manteca Police Department on a Nevada warrant, spent a week in the San Joaquin County Jail, and was immediately thrust into the national spotlight.
A pastor suddenly jailed on a murder charge when defending his family is a sexy package. It’s good enough for an interview on Fox News. It’s good enough for the New York Daily News. It’s good enough to Los Angeles Times. It’s good enough for the Associated Press.
Less than 60 seconds. It’s enough time to watch tick away on your watch, if you still wear one.
Less than the amount of time than it takes to make a toast.
Less than the amount of time that it takes pull up your favorite show on your DVR.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
But it wasn’t that slow burn that ate away at Cox.
It was the long wait between when he was led away from his church in handcuffs and when he was finally able to tell his side of what happened on that fateful June night.
Instead of 60 seconds, it took more than 60 days.
So when it all wrapped up on Friday – tied together nice little press release that reiterated that “prosecutors are ethically and legally bound to only pursue charges that they believe can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt” – there was no celebration.
No tickertape parade. No balloons. No cake.
Just a lot of tears and an overwhelming sense of relief that the worst of the storm is behind him.
Now it’s time to pick up the pieces and move on.
Rob Cox will never know how much of an impact that the surveillance video that captured the entire scene played into the peculiar way that the prosecutors pushed for his arrest and then slowly unreeled the line.
Whether the grand jury actually pursued an indictment will likely never be unsealed, and he’s left with nothing more than a stack of legal paperwork showing the statements made by witnesses – the only one of which that substantiated the claim that Cox threw a punch came from somebody who wasn’t even outside – and other information that he says leaves more questions than answers.
Rob Cox will never view time the same again.
One minute changed it forever.
And you better believe that he’s going to appreciate every one that he gets from here on out.