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Woman held in Peru sought in 2nd Las Vegas-area murder case

August 31, 2019

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A woman in custody in Peru awaiting extradition to the Las Vegas area in the fatal stabbing of a university professor in 2016 is facing a second murder charge in the death of her husband in 2005, authorities said.

North Las Vegas police Officer Eric Leavitt said Friday a murder warrant was issued Tuesday for Rita Colon, 44, in the death of Edwin Colon at age 37.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the Clark County coroner originally ruled Edwin Colon’s death a suicide from a stab wound to the neck.

Records show that Rita Colon also is sought on a murder charge in the death of Leroy Pelton, a 77-year-old former University of Nevada, Las Vegas professor whose body was found in his Henderson home in December 2016.

Pelton died from multiple stab wounds to the neck, according to Rita Colon’s arrest warrant in that case.

In North Las Vegas, police noted signs of a struggle in the kitchen where Edwin Colon died in February 2005, with broken glass, a bloody handprint on the floor next to the body and blood spots on the wall, according to a police report obtained by the Review-Journal.

A kitchen knife with blood on it was on a countertop, the report said.

A detective in 2019 suggested blood spatter came from “Rita pulling the bloody knife out of Edwin’s neck by force.” She had a cut on her hand and told police she found her husband in the kitchen holding the knife to his neck before he stabbed himself.

“Rita did not remember if she pulled the knife from the neck or not,” a detective wrote in 2005.

Edwin and Rita Colon had been married for less than a year, and Rita Colon told police they had a fight the night he died because he wanted to tell a friend they had “problems.”

In 2016, an ex-boyfriend told Henderson police investigating Pelton’s death that he thought Rita Colon killed her husband, but it was unclear if North Las Vegas police were told about his claims, the Review-Journal reported.

Two North Las Vegas detectives began gathering evidence for a murder charge in Edwin Colon’s death in July, after a medical examiner reviewed the case in May and changed his manner of death to “undetermined.”

The coroner’s office review came at the request of the dead man’s brother, Luis Colon, and after the Review-Journal published details about Pelton’s death.

Rita Colon has yet to return to Nevada from Peru, where she was apprehended in December 2017 on a warrant in Pelton’s death.

As a condition of her extradition, prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson told the Review-Journal.

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