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Deadly fight devastates two families of faith



By Michelle Rindels

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A church group's late-night food fix at a Las Vegas pub last year devolved into a deadly fight that devastated two families of faith.

Marie Ellingson, who was married to Link Ellingson for 29 years, said she watched her once-gregarious husband suffer through brain surgeries, debilitating strokes and a coma for six months before he died of hemorrhaging just before Christmas.

Youth pastor Robert Lynn Cox, who was accused of murder in the case, was arrested at his church in Northern California, spent six days in a largely solitary county jail cell where he slept on the floor, and could be disqualified from adopting children with his wife.

A judge on Wednesday dismissed a murder charge against Cox, 35, as prosecutors revealed they are taking a different route - bringing the case before a grand jury. It's unclear when the grand jury, whose proceedings are secret, will decide whether or not to indict Cox in the death of Ellingson, 55.

What is also unclear is what happened outside the Four Kegs pub on June 13, 2013.

Cox, his family and some interns from Place of Refuge church were on their way to Texas when they made a three-day stop in Las Vegas to do community service and ministry activities with a partner church. After hearing about Four Kegs' famed Stromboli on the Food Network, Cox said, they stopped there for a late-night dinner.

Group members said they were in the parking lot when Ellingson approached, threatened and assaulted them.

"He said, 'Hey girlfriend, you want to 'F' with me?'" witness Kelli Lane told KTXL-TV. "And Rob was immediately like, "Oh my gosh, no,' backed up, 'I have kids here,' said no. And the man said, "Well I'm coming to 'F' with you.'"

According to witnesses in the group, Cox grabbed Ellingson and fell with him to the ground.

Ellingson hit his head on the pavement and went unconscious. When he died six months later at a hospital, the coroner ruled the case a homicide.

Cox initially said he punched Ellingson in the face but later described grabbing Ellingson's waist and falling to the ground with him, according to a Las Vegas police report.

Marie Ellingson, who wasn't at the scene, described "a wonderful husband" who rescued animals, attended church with her and was the "most giving guy I've ever had in my life." Some of the things he's accused of saying, Marie Ellingson said, "are not even in his vocabulary."

She said it's been difficult to follow coverage of the case and see reaction toward her husband.

"Unfortunately, it's been making me very sad. I'm a Christian myself," Marie Ellingson said. "It's discouraging to see a Christian church and to see these horrible things (they're saying)."

Cox said he was told no charges would be filed in the case and was "blindsided" when police showed up with a fugitive warrant and arrested him in early June. He denies he changed his account of the confrontation. Friends wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the words "Bring Justice" joined him in court.

"There's been a ton of support," Cox said. "They feel it's an injustice."

Meanwhile, Marie Ellingson said members of her own congregation, Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, have helped her and offered a listening ear amid her grief.

"I just really wish that the truth comes out, and that things are taken care of fairly and that Link is looked at in a good light," she said. "God is a judge, not me."

Join the discussion

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hellercrimlaw July 03 2014 at 7:49 AM

Violent Christians lying? That's not the first 10 million times that has happened. In the words of dead comedian Richard Jeni: "the history of the war is one nation killing another nation over who has the better imaginary friend."

Flag Reply +51 rate up
5 replies
bigfile4 July 03 2014 at 6:38 AM

Just exposes the real heart of these religious phonies who prey on their parishioners, bilking them of their money and indoctrinating them with Right Wing politics.

Flag Reply +44 rate up
13 replies
DogMan July 03 2014 at 5:51 AM

So, why in the Hell is religion even mentioned in this story? It has nothing to do with it. This sounds like a bully assault gone bad. If you want to bring faith into it, I guess you could say that God made a decision.

Flag Reply +37 rate up
13 replies
Kim Schreiber July 03 2014 at 6:42 AM

Who wrote this...a 12 year old?

Flag Reply +34 rate up
8 replies
steblawar July 03 2014 at 8:02 AM

If the story is correct there was apparently only one "man of faith" involved ... the other sounds like he'd downed too much "devil's brew" and was looking for a fight. The "church group" had women and kids and it sounds as though Cox may have been the only male among them. The guy may have been "usually" a nice guy, at least so far as his friends and family went, but if the story is correct he had some issues.

Flag Reply +27 rate up
5 replies
fenwaypark9 July 03 2014 at 7:39 AM

Jesus must be so proud.

Flag Reply +22 rate up
5 replies
wickedlizzee July 03 2014 at 9:44 AM

More hypocritical Christians.Preaching peace , love and the word of god, only to act like douche bags. And look, a pastor comitted murder. Isnt that one of those comandment things? One of the rules a christian isnt supposevto break? Yeah, that pastor set a real good example. God doesn't like douche bags does he? Or Christians that break his law? I'm an Atheist, and I behave better than most Christians do...

Flag Reply +19 rate up
10 replies
Dr. Cameron July 03 2014 at 7:38 AM

Looks like someone is lying, but then again, stranger things have happened before by those claiming "Christian" status.

Flag Reply +17 rate up
2 replies
frankerin Dr. Cameron July 03 2014 at 11:34 AM

And you and your ilk speak only objective truth, your own truth is beyond criticism, right. Your status is clearly atheistic, that is there is no there there.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
flagwaver2 frankerin July 03 2014 at 4:23 PM

Frankerin, do you know you are quoting Gertrude Stein? Look her up.

Flag 0 rate up
gsbluesky Dr. Cameron July 03 2014 at 11:52 AM

to frankerin..... Christians have done some wicked and evil deeds throughout the centuries. Because of this, it t does open christianity to criticism. YOu can criticize atheists. I dont think they really care what christians think about them anyways.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
ritteralvarez gsbluesky July 03 2014 at 9:02 PM

nope not at all

Flag 0 rate up
telvis July 03 2014 at 5:25 AM

Religion is in this story so let the bashing start.

Flag Reply +16 rate up
5 replies
nurfaceart July 03 2014 at 12:40 PM

"When you understand why you don't believe in other people's gods, you will understand why I don't believe in yours."- Albert Einstein

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
s nurfaceart July 03 2014 at 12:46 PM

"Gym,Tan, and Laundry-" the Situation

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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