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October 20, 2014

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Defendant in Las Vegas choir teacher’s slaying considering plea agreement

Court date set for May 10 for one of two brothers charged in strangling death of Basic High School teacher Matthew Cox

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From right to left, Jose Delatorre and Juan Aguirre, then teens, stand as their case is discussed at Henderson Justice Court on Feb. 11, 2009. Charged with the murder of Matthew Cox, a music teacher at Basic High School, Delatorre was set to go to trial in April, but is now considering a plea deal, according to his attorney. Aguirre's trial is set for Sept. 10.

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Matthew Thomas Cox

Jose Delatorre, one of two brothers accused of robbing and killing Basic High School teacher Matthew Cox in 2008, will have another three weeks in jail to see if he can work out a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Delatorre, 22, who faces kidnapping, robbery and murder charges, was in court Thursday morning for a status check on plea negotiations before Judge Valorie Vega.

Deputy Public Defender Andrea Luem told the judge she had just received the latest offer from the District Attorney’s office this morning and needed time to review it with Delatorre.

Vega set a new status check hearing on the case for 9 a.m. May 10, when Delatorre can either change his plea or the judge would set a new trial date.

Delatorre and his brother, Juan Aguirre, 20, who are being tried separately, each face six charges in the Dec. 22, 2008, death of Cox, a 32-year-old high school choir teacher they had befriended.

The charges include murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, burglary, kidnapping and grand larceny-auto. The brothers are being held in the Clark County Detention Center without bail.

Aguirre’s trial is set for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 10.

The brothers were teenagers at the time of the slaying, which took place the night before Cox was to take a flight to Michigan for Christmas in 2008. Prosecutors allege the brothers' motive was to steal items from Cox's home that they could trade for methamphetamine and marijuana. The brothers have said they only intended to rob, not kill, Cox.

According to prosecutors, on Sunday, Dec., 21, 2008, Aguirre, a former student of Cox, and his brother, Delatorre, visited Cox at his apartment. The visit lasted past midnight and into the early morning hours of Monday, Dec. 22, 2008, prosecutors said.

Cox had a flight reservation on Northwest Airlines to leave Las Vegas at 6:50 a.m. that same day but never made the flight, prosecutors said.

As Cox drove the two brothers to their home on East Stewart Avenue in Las Vegas, the brothers beat and strangled the teacher in his car, took Cox to his home, put his body on a couch, took items from Cox’s home, loaded them into his car and drove to their home, prosecutors said.

The brothers told their mother about the slaying and she offered to drive the stolen car to the Club Fortune Casino in Henderson, where she left it in the parking lot and walked to work to a nearby Dunkin Donuts, prosecutors said.

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