Fort Worth, Texas — A Texas man who described himself as a monster was convicted of murder on Monday for killing a local Baptist pastor.
Steven Lawayne Nelson, 25, had been charged with suffocating Pastor Clint Dobson, 28, of North Point Baptist Church of Arlington in May 2011. Church secretary Judy Elliott was also attacked and left for dead, but unlike Dobson, survived the ordeal. She suffered a broken jaw and now suffers with memory loss. Prosecutors believe that the incident was part of a robbery attempt at the church.
While Nelson testified on the stand that he only swiped a laptop as two of his friends killed Nelson — who then gave him the credit cards and car keys of Dobson and Elliott — the jury believed otherwise.
“Why on earth would two people commit a murder and give this defendant everything?” prosecutor Page Simpson asked at trial.
Jurors also viewed evidence such as texts messages that Nelson had sent to others, including one that read, “I don’t mean to brag. I’m a monster.” Another message stated that he had done something seriously wrong and may need to lay low for awhile.
Nelson’s homosexual boyfriend, who is a crossdresser, testified on the stand that the two went a nightclub in Dallas the night after the killing.
In just over an hour after going into sequestration, the jury returned with a guilty verdict.
Jurors must now decide whether to penalize Nelson with life in prison or the death penalty. He is also suspected of numerous crimes while behind bars, including assault and involvement in the hanging death of a fellow inmate.
During the trial, in trying to evade the death penalty for their client, Nelson’s attorneys asserted that the man has had behavioral issues from his childhood, as he reportedly set his mother’s bed on fire at age three and tried to burn down the house at six. He was also incarcerated in a juvenile prison for a time at age fourteen for burglary, criminal trespassing and driving without a license.
However, prosecutors described Nelson as a purposeful “predator” and alleged that he killed for the money. Evidence provided at trial denotes that Nelson sold Dobson’s laptop after lifting it from the church and used his credit card to purchase, among other items, an Oscar the Grouch t-shirt.
The court is listening to further testimony throughout the week as they consider the appropriate punishment.
Dobson’s wife, now a widow, has been present for the proceedings.
Photo: Fox News 4