Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.




Steven Lawayne NELSON





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: March 3, 2011
Date of arrest: 2 days after
Date of birth: February 18, 1987
Victim profile: Clint Dobson, 28 (pastor of NorthPointe Baptist Church)
Method of murder: Suffocation with a plastic bag
Location: Arlington, Tarrant County, Texas, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on October 16, 2012

photo gallery


Offender Information

Name: Nelson, Steven Lawayne
TDCJ Number: 999576
Date of Birth: 02/18/1987
Date Received: 10/16/2012
Age (when Received): 25
Education Level (Highest Grade Completed): 11
Date of Offense: 03/03/2011
Age (at the time of Offense): 24
County: Tarrant
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Hair Color: Black
Height: 5'07"
Weight: 164
Eye Color: Brown
Native County: Pontatoz
Native State: Oklahoma

Prior Occupation

Prior Prison Record
#1440381 - State jail offense for Theft, discharged upon expiration of sentence on November 5, 2007.
#1550504 - State jail offense for Burglary of a Building, discharged upon expiration of sentence on April 16, 2010.

Summary of Incident

Subject and two codefendants entered the church to rob the victims of their personal items. The pastor had been bound and suffocated with a plastic bag, additionally with blunt force trauma to his head, face, back, shoulder, arms and hands. The female victim had massive head trauma but was alive.

Anthony Gregory Springs and Clifford Jefferson

Race and Gender of Victim
White male Employee

Texas Department of Criminal Justice


Man convicted of killing Texas pastor to get death penalty

Associated Press

October 16, 2012

A convicted felon was sentenced to death Tuesday for killing a pastor and severely beating the pastor's secretary in their North Texas church.

A jury in Fort Worth deliberated for little more than an hour before deciding the sentence for Steven Lawayne Nelson. The 25-year-old Nelson was convicted of killing the Rev. Clint Dobson at the NorthPointe Baptist Church in nearby Arlington.

Jurors had the option of sentencing Nelson to death or life in prison without parole.

Nelson was convicted last week of suffocating Dobson in March 2011. He also beat the church secretary, Judy Elliott, so severely that she suffered a broken jaw and memory problems. He then he stole her car and other items. It took the jury little more than an hour to convict him.

During closing arguments, prosecutor Page Simpson called Nelson a "predator" who forced Dobson and Elliott to tie each other up. Blood from both victims was found on a pair of Nelson's shoes, and studs from his belt were found at the church, according to testimony.

Nelson denied killing the minister, blaming two friends for the crime. He said he stayed outside and only came into the church to steal a laptop.

He said under cross-examination at trial that he saw the 28-year-old Dobson and his secretary already sprawled on the church floor. He admitted stepping around them to get the laptop, but said they were still alive when he was there.

Prosecutors presented evidence during sentencing that Nelson's criminal career began when he was a teenager and that he had assaulted jailers while in custody. Several jail guards said Nelson broke a jail phone after an upsetting conversation and that it took three guards to restrain him.

Nelson has been charged with assaulting another jailer in October 2011. He is also a suspect in the death of another inmate.


Pastor's killer goes berserk after death sentence

October 16, 2012

Convicted killer Steven Lawayne Nelson was sentenced to death Tuesday for the brutal suffocation death of an Arlington pastor during a robbery inside the church.

But the end of the two-week trial did not mean the end to havoc wreaked by Nelson: Just minutes after being led quietly from the courtroom by sheriff's deputies, Nelson broke a water sprinkler head in his holding cell, flooding the cell and sending black water infused with fire retardant into Criminal District Court #4.

He could be heard screaming and howling from his cell as court personnel scurried to pick up boxes of evidence before they got wet. The smell permeated the courtroom and deputies quickly evacuated bystanders. Firefighters soon arrived to stop the flow of the water from the sprinkler.

The jury in state District Judge Mike Thomas' court deliberated for about 90 minutes before handing the maximum sentence to Nelson, 25, of Arlington.

Nelson was convicted of capital murder last week in the death of Clint Dobson, 28, pastor of NorthPointe Baptist Church in north Arlington. Dobson was beaten, bound and suffocated with a plastic bag during a robbery of the church on March 3, 2011.

Church secretary Judy Elliott was also beaten and left for dead but survived.

Earlier in the day, before the jury began its deliberations, prosecutors Bob Gill and Page Simpson urged jurors to give Nelson the death penalty.

"It's like he wanted to violate the conscience of this community," Gill said during closing arguments Tuesday morning. "If you think he was hell on wheels in the Tarrant County Jail while awaiting trial, think what he'll be like in prison ... with nothing left to lose."

Defense attorneys Bill Ray and Steve Gordon urged jurors to hand down a life sentence, arguing that Nelson was abandoned psychologically as a child and didn't get the help he needed.

"We ask that you spare his life," Gordon said.

Dobson's widow, Laura Dobson, joined Elliott and other friends and family in the courtroom for the jury's decision. Elliott and her father and Dobson's parents addressed Nelson directly by giving victim impact statements after the verdict was announced.

"No one wants to remember you," she told Nelson, "but they will always remember Clint ... I vow to be his voice and carry on his legacy, that good will always trump evil."

Laura Dobson's father, cardiologist Phillip Rozeman from Shreveport, La., told Nelson that the killing of Clint Dobson was "a cosmic collision of good and evil," but he vowed that they would rebuild their lives.

"We know that Clint is in Heaven asking God all the questions he always wanted to ask," he said.

Clint Dobson's parents, Rod and Sharon Dobson, also spoke to Nelson about their son and the good deeds he did for the world.

Sharon Dobson read the epitaph now on her son's grave.

"He was generous of heart, constant of faith and joyful of spirit," she said. "I wish you could have known him."

Nelson's mother and other family members testified on his behalf Monday but did not return to court for the sentencing.


Man who killed Arlington minister says he has multiple personalities

By Dianna Hunt -

October 11, 2012

FORT WORTH -- Convicted killer Steven Lawayne Nelson told a deputy sheriff this week that he has multiple personalities that sometimes emerge and cause trouble.

Tarrant County Deputy John Casey testified Wednesday that Nelson, 25, appeared to change and became uneasy after surreptitiously pulling a so-called "stun cuff" from his leg while he sat in a courthouse holding cell after being convicted of capital murder on Monday.

"He appeared to be more agitated, and he said his other personality had kicked in," Casey testified Wednesday. "He asked to see" a mental health specialist.

Nelson said the personality was known as "Tanker," and he said he needed medication, Casey said.

The deputy's testimony at the end of Wednesday's court session corresponds with previous testimony about Nelson's mental stability. An ex-girlfriend testified that Nelson told her he was schizophrenic; other witnesses said he used names such as Rico and Romeo at different times.

Under questioning from defense attorney Steve Gordon, Casey said that Nelson had been receiving medication to help him get through the trial.

Nelson was convicted Monday in the March 3, 2011, death of Clint Dobson, 28, pastor of NorthPointe Baptist Church in north Arlington. Dobson was beaten, bound and suffocated with a plastic bag during a robbery. Church secretary Judy Elliott was beaten and left for dead but survived.

Ties to inmate's death

The testimony about Nelson's mental health followed hours of testimony Wednesday linking Nelson to the death of mentally ill inmate Johnathan Holden, 30, who was in a Tarrant County jail cell block with Nelson earlier this year.

Another inmate testified that he watched across a commons area as Nelson killed Holden.

The Star-Telegram is not identifying the inmate at the request of state District Judge Mike Thomas, who said the inmate feared retaliation.

The inmate said Nelson was in the commons area for his one hour of recreation each day when he began poking at Holden with a broom handle. He then lured Holden to the front of the cell door and convinced him to place a blanket around his neck to attract guards with a fake suicide attempt.

Instead, Nelson grabbed the blanket and pulled Holden against the bars until he stopped kicking.

Nelson then did a "Chuck Berry" celebration dance using a broomstick as an air guitar, the inmate said.

"I watched the whole thing, from beginning to end," the inmate told jurors. "He was murdered."
"Who murdered him?" asked prosecutor Bob Gill.

"Rico Nelson," the inmate said.

The inmate said he is serving a two-year prison term for family violence, and that he and Holden should not have been in the cell block with Nelson and other accused killers.

Forensics experts testified that Nelson's DNA was found under Holden's fingernails and that the knots tied in the blanket were done from outside the cell door.

Holden's aunt, Sharon Bristow, had been scheduled to testify on Wednesday but said later she was told she wouldn't take the stand because prosecutors didn't want additional media attention.

She said she was disappointed that jurors won't learn that her nephew had family members who loved him and tried to help him. Holden's sister, Jennifer Ciravolo, had been waiting in a private area to hear Bristow testify.

"To the jurors, he's still just an inmate who was there, and to their knowledge, he had nobody who cared," she said. "For us, there's been no closure. We haven't been allowed to grieve. We haven't been allowed to say our good-byes."

Jailhouse troublemaker

According to testimony, Nelson has been a constant troublemaker in jail since he was booked in on March 10, 2011, repeatedly breaking light bulbs, flooding the cells and threatening guards.

He has been indicted on a charge that he assaulted a guard, but he has not been charged in Holden's death.

Prosecutors are seeking a death sentence for Nelson. If the jury declines that penalty, Nelson will automatically be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

To sentence him to death, jurors must believe that there is a probability that Nelson would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society.

Staff writer Mitch Mitchell contributed to this report.


Jurors are told about killer's earlier crimes

By Dianna Hunt -

October 10, 2012

FORT WORTH -- Razor blades and other contraband were found in the cell of convicted killer Steven Lawayne Nelson as recently as Monday, a Tarrant County jail official testified Tuesday in Nelson's capital murder trial.

Three razor blades were found inside letters, Capt. Donnie Denton told jurors.

"A lot of damage could be done with one of these razor blades," he said.

Nelson could have attacked guards or other inmates, or could have hurt himself, Denton said.

Jailers also found several toothbrushes and pens, both of which can be used to make homemade shanks similar to one made out of a plastic spoon that was seized from Nelson earlier, he said.

Nelson was convicted Monday of capital murder in the death of Clint Dobson, 28, during a robbery on March 3, 2011. Dobson, pastor of NorthPointe Baptist Church in north Arlington, was beaten, bound and suffocated with a plastic bag. Church secretary Judy Elliott was beaten severely and left for dead but survived.

The jury in state District Judge Mike Thomas' court is now hearing evidence in the punishment phase. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Nelson. If jurors decide not to condemn him to lethal injection, Nelson will automatically be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Witnesses on Tuesday outlined a long list of crimes committed by Nelson, including several at an early age.

Ronnie Meeks, with the Office of Juvenile Affairs in Oklahoma, told jurors that efforts to rehabilitate Nelson while he was in juvenile detention there were unsuccessful.

Once, Nelson stole Meeks' truck while he was being transported from one facility to another, Meeks said.

"That's the thing I remember about Steven," he said. "I don't remember ever seeing any remorse about anything."

Prosecutors Bob Gill and Page Simpson also presented evidence of prior Texas convictions and problems Nelson has caused in jail.

Defense attorneys Bill Ray and Steve Gordon have suggested during questioning that Nelson showed signs of emotional problems from a young age, including setting fire to his mother's bed when he was 3, but he didn't get the help he needed.

Testimony is expected to continue today, and the trial is expected to continue into next week.


Self-described 'monster' convicted of suffocating Arlington pastor

By Dianna Hunt -

October 8, 2012

FORT WORTH - A self-described "monster" was convicted Monday of capital murder for beating an Arlington pastor and suffocating him with a plastic bag during a robbery.

A jury in state District Judge Mike Thomas' court deliberated a little over an hour before finding Steven Lawayne Nelson, 25, guilty of killing Clint Dobson, 28, in his office at NorthPointe Baptist Church in Arlington while stealing items from Dobson and church secretary Judy Elliott.

Elliott was badly beaten but survived.

Dobson’s widow, Laura, sat quietly with relatives and members of the church as the verdict was read.

Nelson, too, sat quietly. He was surrounded by sheriff’s deputies and was allowed to remain seated so jurors would not see the shackles he has worn in court each day for more than week.

The punishment phase of the trial began Monday afternoon. Jurors must now decide whether to sentence Nelson to death or to life in prison without parole.

Prosecutors detailed Nelson’s many criminal offenses, including the trouble he has created in the Tarrant County Jail while awaiting trial.

Several jailers testifed that Nelson broke light bulbs, flooded his cell, threatened jailers and flew into a rage during a visit from an unknown outsider. He was found with a shank — a knifelike device — fashioned from a plastic spoon, and a bag of narcotics was found in his cell, jailers testified.

Also, Nelson has been charged with assaulting a jailer and is a suspect in the hanging death of a mentally ill jail inmate. Jurors have yet to hear about those cases.

Mary Kelleher, a psychologist and juvenile services supervisor, testified that Nelson’s criminal history in Texas dates to 2000 when he was 13.

She said she asked Nelson why he kept getting into trouble for burglary, car theft, trespassing, aggravated assault and running away.

“He said he was bored,” Kelleher said.

Defense attorney Ray took issue with Kelleher’s conclusion that Nelson had strong family support, and brought out during questioning that Nelson committed his first crime at age 3, when he set his mother’s bed on fire.

Nelson got in trouble with juvenile authorities in Oklahoma at age 6, and was eventually committed to more than 100 days in Oklahoma juvenile detention, Ray said during questioing.

In 2001, at the age of 14, Nelson was committed to the Texas Youth Commission, Kelleher testified. Nelson’s father was in prison during most of Nelson’s young life and was a negative influence on his son, she said.

Under questioning from prosecutors, however, Kelleher testified that her study of Nelson’s home life concluded that his mother had tried to control her son. Neither of his two siblings had problems, she said.

“I think the mother did the best she could,” Keller said. “She was very frustrated. I don’t think she knew what else to do with him.”

Testimony is expected to take several days.


Church slaying suspect testifies that 2 friends committed crime

By Dianna Hunt -

October 6, 2012

FORT WORTH -- Steven Lawayne Nelson took the witness stand in his capital murder trial Friday and blamed two friends for the brutal beating and suffocation death of a young Arlington pastor and the bludgeoning of his secretary.

Flanked by Tarrant County sheriff's deputies and with his shackles concealed from jurors, Nelson testified that he waited outside NorthPointe Baptist Church while two friends went inside on March 3, 2011.

Nelson said he and friends A.G. and Twist had taken Ecstasy and smoked marijuana and had gone looking for someone to rob.

A.G. and Twist went inside the church, he said.

"I didn't injure nobody or threaten nobody," Nelson said during questioning by his attorney Steve Gordon.

"You witnessed something horrible, didn't you?" Gordon asked. "Do you feel remorse?"

"I feel bad," Nelson said. "I wouldn't want that to happen to my family or anybody."

Nelson, 25, is charged with capital murder in the slaying of Pastor Clint Dobson, 28. Church secretary Judy Elliott was beaten and left for dead but survived. Dobson's laptop computer and Elliott's credit cards and Mitsubishi Galant were stolen.

Nelson maintained his account under sharp questioning by prosecutor Bob Gill but admitted he stepped around the bodies -- they were still alive, he said -- to steal a laptop.

Nelson was seen driving the Galant and used the credit cards, and he sold Dobson's laptop to a man at a tire store that day, witnesses have testified.

"You were so remorseful that your reaction was to grab a laptop?" Gill asked.

"They were still alive," Nelson said.

"They were obviously injured and your reaction was to steal from them?" Gill retorted.

"Yes, sir," Nelson said.

Gill also questioned Nelson about his prior convictions, including an aggravated assault case in Dallas County.

Nelson was on probation in that case at the time of the church killing and robbery and had completed treatment for anger management just a few days earlier.

At Gill's request, Nelson showed jurors the dollar signs tattooed on his eyelids.

Nelson took the witness stand after prosecutors introduced the last bit of evidence in their case: records of text messages sent from Nelson's cellphone the day after the killing.

"I did some s--- the other day, cuz," he texted to an unknown number. "I f----- up, cuz. Real bad."

The texts were read by prosecutor Page Simpson over the objection of defense attorney Bill Ray.Then the prosecution rested.

Examiner's testimony

Earlier Friday, Tarrant County Medical Examiner Nizam Peerwani testified that Dobson put up a fight before he was likely knocked unconscious by blows on the head. Dobson had 21 injuries, Peerwani said.

The injuries "paint a picture of a violent altercation," Peerwani testified. "He was cognizant and aware he was being attacked."

The blows, however, were not fatal, Peerwani said. A plastic bag killed Dobson after it was placed so tightly over his head that the young minister's last breath sucked plastic into his mouth.

As to the possible presence of other assailants, Peerwani said, "Certainly one [person] could easily have done that."

Prosecutors presented evidence this week that Anthony Springs, known as A.G., had an alibi for the time of the killing, which likely occurred between 11 a.m. and noon.

Springs was initially arrested but told police he met up with Nelson later that day.

Witnesses and cellphone records corroborated his account. Springs has been charged in an unrelated robbery.

Forensics experts testified that blood from Dobson and Elliott was found on Nelson's black-and-green counterfeit Air Jordan tennis shoes and that a bloody footprint on an envelope in the church restroom appeared to match the pattern on the bottom of the shoes.

The defense did not rest on Friday and could present more testimony Monday. When the defense rests, closing arguments will begin. State District Judge Mike Thomas indicated that jurors could expect to begin deliberations Monday.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Nelson.


Nelson said he killed a pastor, witness testifies

By Dianna Hunt -

October 5, 2012

FORT WORTH -- Steven Lawayne Nelson told a new acquaintance that he killed a pastor and believed he also killed a woman during a robbery at an Arlington church, the acquaintance testified Thursday in Nelson's capital murder trial.

"He said that he hit a lick," Brittany Bursey, 23, told jurors. "Somebody was strangled and somebody got beat half to death.

"He said, 'I think I killed her, too.'"

Bursey said Nelson "shrugged off" her questions about the stolen white car he was driving and changed the subject.

"What was his demeanor?" prosecutor Page Simpson asked.

"Nonchalant," Bursey said. "He didn't really show any emotion or any care about anything."

Nelson, 25, of Arlington, is on trial in the March 3, 2011, slaying of Pastor Clint Dobson, 28, who was bound, beaten and suffocated with a plastic bag in his office at NorthPointe Baptist Church in Arlington. Church secretary Judy Elliott was beaten and left for dead but survived.

Elliott's white Mitsubishi Galant and credit cards were among items stolen.

Because Dobson's death occurred during a robbery, Nelson was indicted on a capital murder charge. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Defense attorneys Bill Ray and Steve Gordon have tried to suggest during questioning that another young man, Anthony "A.G." Springs, was involved in the crime. Simpson and co-prosecutor Bob Gill have submitted evidence that Springs had an alibi for the time the crime occurred.

First meeting

Bursey testified that she first met Nelson the afternoon of March 3, 2011, the day of the killing, when he showed up at her house with her nephew and Springs. She said Nelson was introduced to her as "Romeo" and was driving a white Mitsubishi Galant.

Bursey said Springs told her that the car was stolen and that Nelson had credit cards and was offering "free gas."

Bursey said that she questioned Nelson about the car and that he admitted the killing.

Also Thursday, witnesses tied Nelson to the crime scene with DNA and other evidence.

Forensics experts testified that blood from Dobson and Elliott was found on a pair of black and green Air Jordan shoes in Nelson's apartment, about a mile from the church, and that a bloody footprint on an envelope in the church restroom appeared to match the pattern on the bottom of the shoes.

Dobson was bound with a computer power cord and masking tape, and Elliott was bound with masking tape during the assault, but investigators could not lift fingerprints from those items.

Testimony is expected to end today and closing arguments to begin Monday before state District Judge Mike Thomas.


A day after pastor's slaying, defendant partied with cross-dresser

By Dianna Hunt -

October 5, 2012

FORT WORTH -- Just one day after an Arlington church pastor was killed and his secretary badly beaten, their accused killer partied at a Dallas nightclub in new clothes, a witness testified Wednesday.

Tracey Nixon, a male cross-dresser who took the stand wearing women's clothes and bright pink lipstick, said he picked up Steven Lawayne Nelson in Arlington and they spent about three hours at the nightclub before going to Nixon's home in Forney for the night.

Nixon said he and Nelson had an "on-again, off-again" relationship.

Nixon said Nelson was wearing a bright green Oscar the Grouch T-shirt, new white Nike Air Jordan shoes and flashy silver jewelry -- items that other witnesses have said he purchased at The Parks at Arlington mall with a stolen Discover card just hours after the killing on March 3, 2011, at NorthPointe Baptist Church in north Arlington.

Nelson is on trial on a capital murder charge, accused of killing church pastor Clint Dobson, 28, by beating him, tying him up and placing a plastic bag over his head until he suffocated. He is also accused of bludgeoning church secretary Judy Elliott, leaving her for dead and then stealing her credit cards and car.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Defense attorney Bill Ray on Wednesday asked state District Judge Mike Thomas to block Nixon's testimony, saying it could prejudice the jury against his client. He also asked that sometimes-racy text messages exchanged between the two on cellphones be kept from jurors.
"What we've got is a relationship that is not within the mainstream of society," Ray argued.

Prosecutor Page Simpson told the judge that Nixon's cellphone records and testimony were crucial to creating a timeline of Nelson's whereabouts after the killing. Thomas eventually allowed the testimony but excluded some of the text messages.

Evidence at the scene

Other witnesses on Wednesday gave evidence linking Nelson to the crime scene.

Nelson's fingerprints were found inside Dobson's office, on a wrist rest for a laptop computer that was stolen from the office, and on receipts for the items purchased with Elliott's stolen credit cards, Robin Kasson, a fingerprint expert with the Arlington Police Department, told jurors.

Homicide Detective Caleb Blank testified that white objects found at the crime scene matched white metal studs in a belt that Nelson was wearing when he was arrested on March 5, 2011. Blank said a bloody shoe print found on a piece of paper in the church bathroom appeared to match a different pair of Air Jordan shoes later seized from Nelson's home.

Under questioning from Ray, however, Blank told jurors that another man -- who originally was thought to have been an accomplice to the murder -- was found to have Dobson's cellphone and the keys to Elliott's stolen Mitsubishi Galant.

That man was arrested but later cleared by police, Blank said. The man told police he met up with Nelson later on the day of the killing and went with him to the mall, and witnesses verified his whereabouts.


Felon arrested in death of Arlington pastor from Clear Lake

Associated Press

March 5, 2011

ARLINGTON — A convicted felon was arrested on Saturday and faces a capital murder charge in the slaying of a pastor at an Arlington church in an apparent robbery, police said.

Steven Lawayne Nelson, 24, was arrested at an apartment complex after a brief standoff with Arlington police, department spokeswoman Tiara Ellis Richard said. Nelson apparently had been staying in an apartment a few blocks away from the NorthPointe Baptist Church, where the Rev. Clint Dobson was found dead and his assistant was severely beaten Thursday.

It was not immediately known if Nelson, who remains jailed, had retained a lawyer.

Richard said investigators had found the assistant's car stolen from the church parking lot after the attack. She said the car was not located at the apartment complex but would not say where authorities found it, saying the release of that information could jeopardize the case.

Police continue to investigate and have not ruled out the possibility of other suspects, Richard said.

Nelson was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in October in Dallas and was sentenced to eight years of probation, according to public records. Then in November he was sent to a state facility that houses defendants who violate their parole, community or mandatory supervision conditions - and was released less than two weeks ago, according to Texas Department of Criminal Justice records.

Since 2005, Nelson has served some jail time for convictions of property theft, burglary and unauthorized use of a vehicle in the Dallas and Fort Worth area, records show.

Meanwhile, a makeshift memorial of flowers was growing outside the doors of NorthPointe, where Sunday services are to held as scheduled.

Dobson, 28, who grew up in Clear Lake, had led the satellite church of First Baptist Church of Arlington for about three years.



home last updates contact