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October 25, 2014

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Faux Mormon missionary robbery case headed to District Court for trial

Piece of star witness’ testimony doesn’t match 911 call

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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.

Robert Estall, from December 2011

Robert Estall, from December 2011

Abraham Austin

Abraham Austin

The two men accused of posing as Mormon missionaries and attacking a Las Vegas man and robbing him in his home will continue, despite a discrepancy in an account of the incident related by a reluctant star witness.

At the end of a preliminary hearing today, Las Vegas Township Judge Janiece Marshall found enough evidence existed to send the case to trial in Clark County District Court.

Robert Estall, 25, and Abraham Austin Jr., also known as Abraham Austins Jr., 28, are charged with first-degree kidnapping, robbery, battery and burglary in the alleged pistol-whipping and robbery of Terence Delucia on June 27. The two are accused of knocking on the Delucias’ door, ostensibly to talk religion, then muscling their way into the home and committing the robbery.

Terence Delucia’s testimony about who attacked him conflicted with what can be heard on a tape of his wife’s 911 call.

Terence Delucia testified he shouted, “This is happening again. We are being robbed!” to his wife once he realized he was under attack. The Delucias also were robbed in 2012.

“I told you we should have moved. We have to move,” Ida Delucia can be heard telling her husband on the 911 call, which was played in court.

Later, he can be heard on the 911 tape yelling that two black men attacked him. Ida Delucia relayed the description to the emergency dispatcher.

Austin is black, but Estall is not.

The preliminary hearing also revealed Terence 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, though, he said he’d never received calls from prosecutors asking him to appear and denied that he was forced to testify.

The case could hinge on Terence Delucia’s testimony, since he said his wife and daughter were hidden in other rooms of the house while the alleged attack and theft went down.

Ida Delucia did, however, testify she saw an armed Austin look into the bedroom twice and heard some arguing.

Ida Delucia said she couldn’t attest to her husband’s claims that $3,000 had been lifted from their cookie jar since he keeps track of their money. Ida Delucia said she hadn't seen money in the jar and only knew it was there because of what her husband told her.

Terence Delucia said he kept the money in the jar because of the 2012 robbery. He said he didn’t think he could keep money in his safe because in 2012 the robbers demanded to know where his safe was. He testified the attackers in June also demanded to know the safe’s location.

Terence Delucia said he lost $30,000 and two ounces of pot in the 2012 robbery.

In testimony Tuesday he admitted to using marijuana, but today he said he had stopped doing the drug. He also continued to deny selling marijuana.

His wife testified she’d seen her husband use marijuana but had never seen him sell it.

The couple’s home is in the area of Flamingo Road and Buffalo Drive. Terence Delucia testified the family planned to move to Montana to be closer to his wife’s family and because his landlord – a brother – said he wanted them out.

Austin and Estall’s arraignment is scheduled Sept. 24 in District Court. Both remain in Clark County Detention Center, where bail for each is $250,000.

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