Las Vegas Sun

April 21, 2014

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Teens charged in teacher’s death appear in court

Preliminary hearing set for Jan. 21

Jose A. Delatorre

Jose A. Delatorre

Juan Aguirre

Juan Aguirre

Remembering Matt Cox

Students and teachers remember slain choir director Matt Cox with music at a memorial service for him at Basic High School.

A preliminary hearing to determine whether they will go to trial has been set for two teenagers charged in the killing of Basic High School choir teacher Matthew Thomas Cox.

Jose Delatorre, 18, and Juan Aguirre, 17, a former student of Cox, are charged with murder, conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery, grand larceny-auto, burglary and kidnapping in the Dec. 22 death of Cox.

Prosecutors, who on Wednesday decided to charge Aguirre as an adult, will present the evidence against the pair at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 21 before Henderson Justice of the Peace Rodney Burr to determine whether they will be tried in District Court.

During a hearing before Burr today, Delatorre and Aguirre were read the list of charges against them and were individually asked by Burr if they understood them — to which they replied "Yes, sir."

Aguirre will be represented by Special Public Defender David Schieck, and Delatorre will be represented by Deputy Public Defender Andrea Luem, who requested her client be moved to the Clark County Detention Center so she could have better access to him. He had been held at the Henderson Detention Center.

Schieck said prosecutors may decide to take the case to grand jury proceedings, sidestepping the preliminary hearing. Defendants have no representation at grand jury hearings, which are also closed to the public.

Police say Aguirre told them that he and Delatorre were picked up by Cox and taken back to his house, where they played video games. Cox went upstairs to pack for his trip, and Aguirre joined him then went back downstairs to the video games, the statement says.

After a while, Cox drove the two back to their home in downtown Las Vegas. After he stopped in front of the home, the teen's statement says, Delatorre struck Cox in the head and the two choked him. They used a tie in a gift box to tie his feet and hands, the teen reportedly told police.

They then drove the car back to Cox's home, where they took a laptop computer, a Wii console and games, DVDs, and an iPod. They left Cox on the sofa, with a blanket over him, according to the statement.

The teen told police the brothers only meant to rob Cox.

Cox began teaching at Basic in fall 2006.

Dave Clark can be reached at 990-2677 or [email protected].

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