Arlington pastor's accused killer takes the stand

Posted Friday, Oct. 05, 2012  Print Reprints

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UPDATE: 10:25 a.m.

Accused killer Steven Lawayne Nelson has taken the witness stand to testify in his own defense in the brutal suffocation death of Arlington pastor Clint Dobson.

Surrounded by sheriff's deputies and with his shackles concealed from jurors, Nelson began his testimony speaking clearly and directly to his attorneys, Bill Ray and Steve Gordon.

Nelson was warned outside the presence of the jury that he could also be asked about being accused of hanging of a jail inmate and other incidents.

-Dianna Hunt

UPDATE: 10 a.m.

Accused killer Steven Lawayne Nelson sent incriminating text messages from his cellphone the day after the killing of an Arlington pastor.

"I did some s*** the other day, cuz," he texted to an unknown cell phone number, according to phone records. "I f***** up, cuz. Real bad.'"

The texts were read for jurors by prosecutor Page Simpson over the objection of defense attorney Bill Ray. And with that, the prosecution rested its case against Nelson, 25, charged with capital murder in the brutal suffocation death of pastor Clint Dobson, 28, of NorthPointe Baptist Church.

The evidentiary portion of the trial is expected to end today, with closing arguments likely to be held Monday before state District Judge Mike Thomas.

-Dianna Hunt

Arlington pastor Clint Dobson struggled violently with his attacker and was likely knocked unconscious by severe blows to the head, Tarrant County medical examiner Nizam Peerwani told jurors Friday in the capital murder trial of Steven Lawayne Nelson.

Peerwani testified that Dobson died, however, after a plastic bag was placed so tightly over his head that his last breaths sucked the bag into his mouth.

Nelson, 25, is standing trial on capital murder in the death of Dobson, 28. Dobson was beaten, bound and suffocated with a plastic bag during a robbery of NorthPointe Baptist Church in north Arlington. Church secretary Judy Elliott was severely beaten and left for dead but survived.

Prosecutors Bob Gill and Page Simpson are expected to wrap up their case today, with closing arguments likely to begin on Monday.

Defense attorneys Bill Ray and Steve Gordon have suggested during questioning that another man committed the killing, but prosecutors have presented evidence showing that he had an alibi for the hours during which the crimes occurred.

Testimony has been continuing all week before State District Judge Mike Thomas.

-Dianna Hunt