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Man suspected of killing priest in Henderson back in Las Vegas

Posted at 4:16 PM, Mar 11, 2019

UPDATE JAN. 28: Derrick DeCoste, who is suspected of killing a former priest living in Henderson in March, is back in Las Vegas.

DeCoste was arrested in Michigan in June. He has now been extradited to Nevada and was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on Jan. 27.

He is expected to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Feb. 13. He was appointed a public defender by the court on Jan. 29.

UPDATE JUNE 3: Henderson Police Detectives have identified 25-year-old Derrick Decoste as a suspect in the murder of John Capparelli.

A warrant of arrest has been issued for Decoste for the charges of Murder with a Deadly Weapon and Robbery with a Deadly Weapon.

Decoste is currently in custody in Oakland County, Michigan jail for unrelated charges, pending extradition for Henderson charges.

UPDATE: Three neighbors have confirmed to 13 Action News that the 70-year-old victim found dead was John Capparelli, a retired math teacher, and a former priest.

"Yeah that's my neighbor right across the street from me," said Dan Norlander. "I've seen him many many times, and that's definitely him."

A picture of Capparelli was showed to Norlander who said he often saw him walking his dog.

The picture was from a 2013 news article detailing how Capparelli was barred from teaching in New Jersey public schools based on claims of sexual misconduct from more than 30 years ago.

According to that published report, Capparelli agreed to have his teaching certifications revoked as a result of allegations he groped teenage boys in the 70s and 80s when he was a priest.

One of the men, Rich Fitter, was set to testify before the State Board of Examiners in that case and settled with the church spoke to 13 Action News Monday evening on the phone.

"He is a serial predator, " said Fitter. " And he is a sociopath. And he is a criminal."

Capparelli was never convicted of a crime in a court of law. Fitter said the settlements helped him avoid a criminal trial.

" I can't say that I feel sorry for him," he said. " I can't say that I feel any sort of loss. I'm just kind of numb. I don't want to sound cold, but the world is a safer place without him."

The Henderson Police Department is investigating a suspicious death from over the weekend inside the Anthem community on March 9.

Henderson detectives were called to a home in the 1400 block of Bonner Springs Drive, near Eastern Avenue and Reunion Drive, at about 9:30 a.m. for a welfare check at a residence.

RELATED: Las Vegas breaking news for March 11

Authorities said a 70-year-old man was found deceased inside the home and the Clark County coroner identified him as John Capparelli, a Henderson resident.

The coroner also said the man died from a gunshot wound to the neck with his death ruled a homicide.

Henderson police reported a suspect was not immediately identified in the situation with the victim's death involving suspicious circumstances.

Monday, the HPD was following up on leads pertaining to the case.

This was the third homicide in 2019 investigated by Henderson police.