weather icon Clear

Ruling prompts North Las Vegas police to review man’s 2005 death

The Clark County coroner’s office no longer believes that Edwin Colon, the husband of a woman accused of fatally stabbing a former UNLV professor, died by suicide nearly 14 years ago.

The ruling has sparked a review of the case from North Las Vegas police, which puts Luis Colon one step closer to finding clarity on his brother’s death.

In 2005, Rita Colon’s husband of less than a year died from a stab wound to the neck, which the North Las Vegas Police Department and the coroner’s office at the time determined was self-inflicted.

Luis Colon, Edwin Colon’s brother, asked the coroner’s office to take another look at the case this year, and after a review, his brother’s manner of death has been changed from “suicide” to “undetermined.”

“Some new information came to us, and we did a comprehensive review of the investigation,” Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said Thursday afternoon. “We decided that we don’t believe it’s a suicide.”

Luis Colon has told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he believes the circumstances surrounding his brother’s death are eerily similar to how Leroy Pelton, a 76-year-old former UNLV professor, was killed in Henderson in November 2016, allegedly by 44-year-old Rita Colon.

As with Edwin Colon’s case, the coroner’s office determined that Pelton died from at least one stab wound to the neck. The man also had a stab wound to his liver and defensive knife wounds on both hands.

Investigators allege that Rita Colon’s motive was monetary. They said she tried to access Pelton’s $1.1 million retirement account after he was killed, according to an arrest warrant.

The Henderson Police Department announced in January that Rita Colon, believed to be a former student and girlfriend of Pelton’s, was a suspect in the man’s death. She was apprehended in Peru in December 2017, where she remains, awaiting extradition.

‘Three fresh sets of eyes’

According to North Las Vegas police documents released in April, officers were called to the Colon home, near Ann Road and Camino Al Norte, the night of Feb. 2, 2005.

The two-page police report indicates that Edwin Colon’s wife called 911 and asked neighbors for help before police arrived.

She told detectives that he had held a knife to his neck and that she had cut her hand while trying “to get it away from him.” She said Edwin Colon, 37, then “walked into the kitchen and stabbed himself,” the report said.

North Las Vegas police spokesman Eric Leavitt said Thursday that the department is aware of the coroner’s recent findings, and detectives will now review Edwin Colon’s death to determine if a new investigation is necessary.

A sergeant will review the 2005 case records, followed by a lieutenant, then a captain, Leavitt said. The files consist of about 30 pages of autopsy photos, diagrams of the scene and witness statements.

“You’re getting, in essence, three fresh sets of eyes to look at it individually now,” he said.

Detectives may interview Rita Colon when, or if, she is extradited to Henderson for the murder charge she faces in Pelton’s death. An investigation also could prompt detectives to re-interview family, friends and the neighbors from whom Rita Colon asked for help the night her husband died.

The review could prompt a homicide investigation or a death investigation — a category used by police in cases such as apparent suicides or overdoses, when the manner of death isn’t immediately clear, Leavitt said.

If murder charges were to be brought again Rita Colon in her husband’s death, Leavitt said, “that means someone grossly missed something” in 2005.

“It’s not that we don’t want to admit we’re wrong. It’s just that if it is wrong, we need to fix it,” he said.

A step closer

After speaking with the coroner’s office Thursday, Luis Colon said knowing his brother’s body couldn’t be exhumed was difficult.

Despite his family’s wishes to bury his brother in New York, Luis Colon said Rita Colon was able to have Edwin Colon’s body cremated in 2005 because she was his next of kin. He said he recalled that at the funeral, she said that the decision “was between husband and wife, and that he wished to be cremated.”

“We were already mourning and just trying to move on,” he said Thursday. “It was a fight that we weren’t going to win.”

But Luis Colon said he was optimistic that his family is now one step closer to finding answers.

“At least I know that it’s in the process,” he said. “I do feel good. Honestly I do.”

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Crime Videos
Second officer-involved shooting of 2019 for North Las Vegas Police Department
North Las Vegas Police hold a press conference about the second officer involved shooting of 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Road Rage Homicide Suspect Van
Las Vegas police have released video of the vehicle they believe was involved in a deadly road rage incident on August 5. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Las Vegas police look for armed robbers
Police are seeking two men involved in an armed robbery Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, on the 7500 block of North Cimarron Road, near Farm Road. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Las Vegas police searching for video related to road rage homicide
Lt. Ray Spencer of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Homicide Section is asking for clues from the public to solve a murder from Aug. 5. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Jury hears closing statements in killing of 17-year-old
Closing statements began today for Jaiden Caruso and Kody Harlan charged in the death of 17-year-old Matthew Minkler. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CCSD to vote on shooting settlement
The Clark County School Board will vote Thursday on a $100,000 settlement for the mother of Dalvin Brown, the Canyon Springs High School student who was shot and killed on school grounds at the beginning of last school year. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police find 2 dead in northwest valley home
Las Vegas homicide detectives are investigating after two people were found dead in a home Friday night in the far northwest valley.
Teen talks about alleged sexual assault at Las Vegas grocery store
A 17-year old says she was groped and then sexually assaulted by a loss-prevention specialist at an Albertsons store in east Las Vegas. The subject's voice has been distorted to protect her identity. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Court hearing For 17-year-old Who Was Found Dead Begins - Video
An image that captured blood pooled near the head of a 17-year-old’s lifeless body appeared on monitors inside a Las Vegas courtroom Wednesday, as prosecutors gave opening statements in the murder trial for two teens charged in Matthew Minkler’s death.
Purse Theft Occurs at Suncoast - Video
Purse theft occurred July 24 at Suncoast just after 930 pm.
Woman accused of trafficking an 11-year-old girl in Las Vegas - Video
A woman accused of trafficking an 11-year-old girl on the Strip agreed to plead guilty to a child abuse charge, her attorney said. Gigi Mitchell, 40, faces several counts of child abuse and one count of child sex trafficking. The 11-year-old girl told social worker Felicia Tucker that she was a “hustler” and entered nightclubs where she drank and flirted with men.
Federal officials fail to keep criminal undocumented immigrants from reoffending
ICE and the DOJ courts say they are trying to remove undocumented criminals. But statistics show the courts are doing less than a decade ago. (Art Kane/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gragson crash seen in surveillance video
Newly-released video reveals more details around Scott Gragson crash, including Gragson arguing with a guard over allowing cars to follow him to his home. Video from a resident’s security camera shows the vehicle crash on a median. And police bodycam footage shows Gragson talking to an officer after the crash. (Grand Jury Exhibits)
Ex-Metro detective accused of killing her former son-in-law appears in court
Pamela Bordeaux, a Las Vegas former detective, who is accused of shooting and killing her former son-in-law, appeared in court on Thursday, July 25, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Woman accused of stealing $1M from company makes court appearance
Donna Blizniak, the Las Vegas woman, who is accused of stealing more than $1 million over the course of five years from Nevada’s largest alcohol distributor, appeared in court on Thursday, July 25, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police address latest office-involved shooting
Metro police officials provided details on Monday, July 22, 2019, during a media briefing about an officer-involved shooting, which occurred on July 17 in east Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Steve Meriwether talks about his son, who was killed by a drunk driver
Retired Metro sergeant Steve Meriwether talks about his son, Garrett Meriwether, who was killed by a drunk driver. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Las Vegas Metro Police holds press conference about Oct. 1 report
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo held a press conference on Wednesday, July 10, regarding a new report about the police department's performance during Las Vegas shooting on Oct. 1, 2017. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Surveillance footage of persons of interest in deadly shooting
Las Vegas police have released surveillance footage of two persons of interest in a fatal shooting at Desert Shores Villas. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Bail for Cierre Wood set at $500,000 for murder charge
Bail was set at half a million dollars for Cierre Wood, the ex-pro football player who faces a charge of first-degree murder with his girlfriend Amy Taylor in the death of 5-year-old La’Rayah Patra Nicole Lamont Davis. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Man takes plea deal from murder to battery with deadly weapon
On Tuesday, July 9, Christopher J. Weygant II, originally charged with murder in the death of Bailey Beck, pleaded no contest to battery with a deadly weapon. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Man convicted of 1998 homicides at Las Vegas assisted living home
A judge found Gustavo Ramos-Martinez guilty of two counts of first-degree murder with use of a deadly weapon and one count of sexual assault with use of a deadly weapon.
Henderson youth accused in killing of 19-year-old girlfriend arraigned
18-year-old Noah Hadley, accused of shooting his girlfriend after a house party, appeared in Henderson Court Tuesday morning for arraignment.
Security guard charged with murder appears in court
Security guard Brian William Love appears in court at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 2, 2019, on a charge of open murder with a deadly weapon in the shooting death of homeless man Max Garcia. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Preliminary hearing held for woman charged with sex trafficking of 11-year-old girl
Witnesses took the stand during a preliminary hearing held Thursday for Gigi Mitchell, the woman accused of trafficking an 11-year-old on the Las Vegas Strip.
Wayne Newton testifies during burglary trial
Wayne Newton takes the stand during the trial of Weslie Martin, one of two men who allegedly broke into and burglarized the Newton family residence.
Woman suspected of pushing man off Las Vegas bus stays on house arrest - VIDEO
Cadesha Bishop, accused of pushing a 74-year-old man off a Las Vegas bus to his death, will remain on house arrest until her trial in April 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trial begins for man with wire left in his body after medical procedure
Opening statements began today in a trial where a man says a physician left a wire in his body during a heart procedure in 2005. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police warn of fuel thieves
Las Vegas police and fire officials are warning the public of the danger of fuel thieves using modified vehicles to transport and dispense gasoline. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Surveillance video captures details of man pushed off bus
RTC surveillance video captures multiple views and audio of Cadesha Bishop shoving 74-year-old Serge Fournier off a Las Vegas bus.
LVMPD Investigates 9th Officer Involved Shooting of 2019 -- Armed Robbery Suspects in Summerlin
LVMPD Captain Yasenia Yatomi gives preliminary details about an officer involved shooting that occurred in the 1200 block of N. Town Center Dr.(Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Las Vegas woman accused of pushing man off bus pleads not guilty
A woman caught on video shoving a 74-year-old man off of a Las Vegas bus pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder and other charges related to his death. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspect faces 15 counts in shooting at Las Vegas Strip mall - VIDEO
Hasean Quinn, the man who faces multiple counts including assault with a deadly weapon after a gunshot was fired inside the Fashion Show mall on the Las Vegas Strip on Memorial Day, appeared in court Wednesday afternoon. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A man whose wives were found dead 8 years apart under similar circumstances is denied bail - VIDEO
Alan Sylwester, the man suspected of killing his wife, was denied bail again Wednesday morning during his preliminary hearing in Henderson.
Chief deputy district attorney: “Justice was done” in child pornography case - VIDEO
Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney James Sweetin speaks with the media after the sentencing of Christopher Sena, the man who was found guilty in February of multiple counts of sexual assault with a minor, incest, use of a minor in the production of pornography, lewdness with a child younger than 14 and child abuse. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas man gets 54 life sentences for sexually assaulting children - VIDEO
Christopher Sena, who was found guilty in February of multiple counts of sexual assault with a minor, incest, use of a minor in the production of pornography, lewdness with a child younger than 14 and child abuse, was sentenced to over 337 years behind bars.
Las Vegas man convicted of killing, dismembering wife dies

William Sites died while serving up to 15 years on charges of second-degree murder and theft after he pleaded guilty to killing his wife and dismembering her body in 2005.