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Fort Worth man convicted in killing of Bedford clerk

FORT WORTH -- A 39-year-old Fort Worth man was convicted this morning of capital murder in the 2007 robbery-slaying of a Bedford store clerk.

A Tarrant County jury deliberated about two and a half hours over two days before convicting Jeff Dodson of the fatal shooting of Gaurab Rajbanshi, 28, as he worked at the D&S Food Mart on Pipeline Road.

Prosecutors Sean Colston and Tiffany Burks plan to begin calling witnesses immediately today in the sentencing phase in an attempt to pursuade jurors to sentence Dodson to death.

The trial is expected to continue Monday in state District Judge Sharen Wilson’s court when defense attorneys Jack Strickland and David Richards will try to pursuade jurors to spare Dodson’s life.

Dodson is the last of three defendants to face punishment in the death of Rajbanshi, of Nepal. Dodson’s brother, Theodis Dodson, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison in March. A cousin, Frederick Hughes, who drove the getaway car, was acquitted by a jury in July.

Hughes testified against Jeff Dodson, who along with his brother, Theodis, were accused of stomping the clerk while attempting to open the store cash register.

Jeff Dodson told an accomplice later that the handgun trigger slipped while he pointed the gun at the clerk. A customer found the fatally wounded Rajbanshi several minutes later. Jeff Dodson was later identified from a store surveillance camera.

The robbers were unable to get the cash register open and left the store after the incident.

The sentencing phase continues today in Criminal District Court No. 1.