FORT WORTH (October 16, 2012)--The man convicted of killing a North Texas pastor in his church during a robbery broke a sprinkler head and caused courtroom flooding after he was sentenced to death.
A jury late Tuesday morning in Fort Worth sentenced found Steven Lawayne Nelson to death in the March 2011 slaying of the Rev. Clint Dobson, 28, a 2008 graduate of Baylor's Truett Theological Seminary.
Nelson had been taken out of the courtroom and put in a nearby holding area after the sentencing.
Proceedings were over but some people remained in the courtroom.
State District Judge Mike Thomas says Nelson somehow broke a sprinkler head in the holding cell.
Water slowly started seeping into the courtroom, so deputies ordered everyone out.
Jurors had deliberated a little more than an hour before deciding on the death penalty for Nelson.
He was convicted of killing the Rev. Clint Dobson and beating his secretary in Arlington's NorthPointe Baptist Church last year, then stealing the secretary's car.
During closing arguments prosecutors said Nelson wanted to steal a car that day and called him a predator, but defense attorneys said the church secretary told a doctor that two men assaulted her.
Nelson testified last week, and denied killing the minister.
He said two friends went inside and committed the crime while he waited outside.
But prosecutors say Nelson wouldn't have been the only one with the victims' credit cards unless he acted alone.
Nelson did admit that he entered the church and stepped around the bodies of the victims, who were still breathing, to steal a laptop computer.
Dobson, a Houston native, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Baylor University in 2004 and graduated from Baylor’s Truett Theological seminary four years later.
He joined the staff of the First Baptist Church Arlington in June of 2008 and went on to become the pastor of NorthPointe Baptist Church, which is a satellite of First Baptist Arlington.
Church members described Dobson as a dynamic pastor who always had a smile and hug for them as they walked into the sanctuary before each service.