April 17, 2015
The state’s top criminal appeals court has upheld the conviction of Steven LaWayne Nelson, sent to death row for the beating and suffocation of a young pastor during a robbery at a North Texas church four years ago.
Attorneys for the 28-year-old Nelson contended there were 15 errors at his 2012 trial in Fort Worth for the slaying of Clint Dobson, pastor at North Pointe Baptist Church in Arlington, and near fatal beating of Judy Elliott, the church secretary.
The appeals court Wednesday rejected arguments that evidence wasn’t sufficient to convict him of capital murder and sentence him to death, that the jury selection and jury instructions were improper and that text message evidence improperly was allowed. The court also rejected constitutional claims raised against the Texas death penalty.