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October 24, 2014

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Trial delayed for men suspected of posing as Mormon missionaries and robbing home

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Metro Police

Two suspects in an armed robbery are shown June 27, 2013, in the area of Flamingo Road and Buffalo Drive. Police say the men dressed as Mormon missionaries.

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 | 12:38 p.m.

Abraham Austin

Abraham Austin

Robert Estall, from December 2011

Robert Estall, from December 2011

Attorneys for the men accused of posing as Mormon missionaries and committing a strong-armed robbery last summer in Las Vegas will have more time to build their case.

During a pretrial conference today, Clark County District Judge David Barker agreed to a request to delay until July 7 the trial for Robert Estall, 25, and Abraham Austin Jr. (also known as Abraham Austins Jr.), 28. The two are charged with first-degree kidnapping, robbery, battery and burglary in the alleged pistol-whipping and robbery of Terence Delucia on June 27, 2013. The defendants are accused of knocking on Delucia's door, ostensibly to talk religion, then muscling their way into the home and committing the robbery.

Austin was arrested Aug. 23 and Estall turned himself in Aug. 28.

A preliminary hearing in September revealed Delucia was a reluctant witness and prosecutors had to issue a warrant to get him to testify just days before the family was scheduled to move out of state. On the stand during a preliminary hearing, though, Delucia said he’d never received calls from prosecutors asking him to appear and denied he was forced to testify.

Some of Delucia’s testimony conflicted with initial police reports of the alleged attack.

Delucia can be heard on a 911 tape yelling that two black men attacked him as his wife relayed the information to the emergency dispatcher. Austin is black, but Estall is not.

The June 27 robbery wasn’t the first time Delucia reported being attacked at his home at gunpoint. A 2012 incident left him short $30,000 and 2 ounces of pot. The most recent one cost him $3,000 and a little under an ounce of the drug, among other damages, he said.

Barker also set a Jan. 22 hearing to address potential competency issues for Austin, since his attorney expressed concerns that Austin wasn’t fully understanding the court process.

During today's proceedings, Estall also rejected a plea deal that would have given him the right to argue for probation. He told Barker that he declined the nonbinding offer because it wouldn’t guarantee probation.

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