Man’s Conviction for Murder of Arlington Pastor Upheld by Appeals Court

In October of 2012, Steven Lawayne Nelson was found guilty of killing Rev. Clint Dobson at North Pointe Baptist Church in Arlington in March of 2011. Nelson testified at trial in his own defense, and denied killing Dobson, saying that he was outside the church when two friends went inside and committed the murder. A church secretary was also badly beaten in the incident.

Judy Elliot, the brutally beaten secretary, had her 2007 Mitsubishi Galant stolen in the incident; a computer was also stolen from the church. Security camera footage captured the stolen vehicle on the afternoon of the crime. A witness told jurors in the case that he purchased Clint Dobson’s stolen computer unknowingly when he met Nelson at a tire shop in Arlington. Nelson was captured on video a short time later that same afternoon making a purchase at a convenience store, thought to be made using money from the sale of the computer. Nelson was ultimately found guilty of capital murder, and sentenced to death.

Yesterday it was announced that Nelson’s appeal of his conviction and death sentence had been denied by Texas’ top criminal appeals court. The court upheld Nelson’s conviction, rejecting the arguments brought forth by Nelson’s attorneys that the evidence to convict him was insufficient, that evidence involving text messages was improperly allowed, and that there were problems with both jury selection and instruction.

In all, Nelson’s attorneys argued there were 15 errors made at the 2012 trial in Fort Worth. The appeals court rejected all arguments, upholding Nelson’s conviction and death sentence. Nelson will continue to set on death row.

A conviction for a crime does not mean an individuals has exhausted all of his/her options. If you have been convicted of a crime you did not commit, or feel that errors were made in the criminal justice process, it may be possible to appeal your conviction. However, in choosing a Michigan criminal appeals attorney, it is critical to choose someone with extensive experience in the appeals process and a proven track record. Your freedom is in jeopardy, so make this choice carefully and with much consideration.

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