Police: Arlington Pastor Suffocated, 2 Charged With Murder

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Monday afternoon Arlington police held a press conference with more details about the murder of an Arlington pastor and the person charged with the crime.

Steven Lawayne Nelson, 24, who was arrested Saturday at an Arlington townhome complex, has been charged with capital murder. Anthony Gregory Springs, 19, was arrested and charged Monday with capital murder.

The townhomes, in the 2400 block of Brown Boulevard, are just a few blocks from NorthPointe Baptist Church where Rev. Clint Dobson and ministry assistant Judy Elliott were both attacked last week.

During the press conference officials with the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office released information that Dobson, 28, had been suffocated with a plastic bag.

According to officials 69-year-old Elliott, who remains hospitalized after being severely beaten, has not yet been able to speak with investigators. “Hopefully we’ll be able to speak with the surviving victim, so that we can get an idea of how entry was gained and we can confirm what may have occurred,” Arlington Deputy Police Chief Jaimie Ayala said optimistically.

During the press conference police also confirmed that a second “person of interest” was in custody. Late Monday afternoon police revealed that person to be Springs..

anthony gregory springs Police: Arlington Pastor Suffocated, 2 Charged With Murder

Anthony Gregory Springs, 19, was charged with the murder of an Arlington pastor in March, 2011. (Photo credit Arlington Police Dept.)

Springs, 19, was taken into custody for outstanding traffic tickets on Saturday and subsequently led authorities to Elliott’s car, which had been missing since the victim’s were attacked on March 3.

“We are well on our way to building a case that can be, and will be, fully prosecuted in court,” said Arlington Police Chief Theron Bowman.

According to police, credit cards from both Dobson and Elliott were used to purchase gas and retail items, some of which from The Parks Mall in Arlington.

“We had information that the victims’ credit card was being used at a local retailer,” said Arlington Deputy Chief Barry Hines. “Officers quickly began following up on those tips and ultimately was able to lead to the arrests of both of those persons.”

Investigators say there is store surveillance video showing both men using the victims’ stolen credit cards.

Police say cooperation from the public and the leads they provided played a big role in the investigation. “Had it not been for the help of the public, our Citizens on Patrol groups, out Crime Watch groups and the Arlington Clergy Police Alliance Program, this case could not have been solved,” said Deputy Chief Hines.

Investigators say they have received many leads, including information from two women who were with Nelson and Springs after Dobson’s murder.

In a four-page affidavit, police state “while watching television, a news story about the incident played before the group. Both Nelson and Springs began laughing and making inappropriate comments about Dobson’s death. Both females know Nelson and Springs to commit aggravated robberies together and they were recently trying to rob people within the past couple of days.”

The affidavit also says Nelson confessed to Springs that he had robbed the church and further admitted he had killed Dobson.

Police have said robbery appears to have been a motive in the case.

Nearly a dozen members of NorthPointe and First Baptist Church of Arlington attended the press conference. The church members were visibly shaken after learning for the first time that “someone they love very much had been suffocated”.

Steven Lawayne Nelson has a long criminal history. In 2007 he was convicted and served time on theft charges. Then in 2009 he was sentenced to two years in prison for theft and burglary.

Most recently, in October of 2010, Nelson was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Dallas. He was sentenced to eight years probation for that charge.

Nelson and Springs are each being held in the Arlington City Jail on bail totaling more than $1 million.

  • Coretta

    That is really sad.

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  • Joy S

    Why was a violent repeat offender like Nelson out on the street? The judge who gave him probation instead of jail should be behind bars with him now.
    This person was obviously not rehibilitated, was still a violent criminal and should not have been on the street to perpetrate this horrible, senseless crime. So sad…

    • cestall

      There are literally thousands of similar cases. Believe it or not, Dallas county is a hundred times worse. If the people knew what kind of criminals were out on the streets now, Craig Watkins would be run out on a rail.

      • joe b

        Leta run your mama out of town, she probaly accused all those people in Dallas that wrer innocent. Why don’t we get the old DA and put him in jail. Besides judges give out time, not the DA dumb ass.

  • Kathy

    What is wrong with this picture? You can rob and steal and go to jail but you assault someone and injure them and you get probation. How sad is that?

  • Gary

    Let them be executed the same way they killed.

  • Paul

    Hang them high and Hang them long – let the crows eat on them.

    Put a stop to repeat offenders.

  • Cindi

    “An Eye for an Eye” … he should be punished with the same act … suffocation by a plastic bag! With his convictions, he should not have been on the streets. And this, my friends, is how our system works.

  • mark

    The good news if any is this happened in Texas and we still enforce the death penalty is still applied!

  • Chong

    These sorry losers should have been locked up long ago. There is a special place in hell for you two demons.. hope we can get you there quickly.

  • Creolegirl27

    My prayers go to the wife and family of the pastor and the husband and family of the lady thal was also attacked. We live in such a violent world, people are filled with so much hate and rage, just look at some of the comments. As a nation maybe, it is time to take a good look at ourselves, and see what we are truly becoming.

  • casino7

    This is so very sad and uncalled for! Why some people are sick in the head is beyond me. They should all be shipped out on a tiny island somewhere far from civilization and left there for eternity.

  • Ricard T. Griffin

    And the people in Stop Six objected to a black trying to kill a cop was shot?

  • Michael

    I wonder if that letal injection harness will match his new jewlery

  • Tobok

    this is when you want the death penalty to come into place. they do not need to be on the streets.


    People become animals when they smoke embalming fluid….. GET A ROPE!!!!

  • mojo

    RIP in Pastor and get well soon Judy. You and your families are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • June

    Personally, I think that if the punishment for criminals were the same as they were many years ago (i.e., theft = have their hand cut off, murder = death penalty) that we would have less crime. It certainly made a difference back then!

    Also, I think that people who are found guilty of a murder by evidence/DNA, that the longest that they should be allowed to be on death row is 90-days. It is rediculous how much money is spent to keep these criminals alive!

    • Deena

      There is a reason they don’t give out those punishments anymore. Maybe because they were “rediculous”? I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be punished for their crimes, but calm down. This is the 21st century, we’re civilized human beings.

  • black texas

    AS a black man, I am extremely ashamed of these low lives. They have no regards to the human life. May they both burn n hell

    • myndee

      I was raised to not see skin color, so I do not care if they are black, white, brown, or a lovely shade of mauve. These idiots took a man’s life in a horrendous fashion so they could go on a shopping spree. How about people like this getting a job like the rest of us? I don’t care what color their skin is, their gender, their religious preference…none of that matters. If there is clear proof that they are the killers, then they need to be sent to God oer His decree so he can dispose of them.

  • debbie

    REgardless of color, these men do not deserve to keep the life they were given. So terribly heartbreaking. Also, is the wierd eyebrow pattern some stupid gang symbol ?

  • darrell

    this crime should have never happened. nelson recently had two convictions for aggravated assault with a weapon. he received defered adjudication for the first and probation for the second. those judges and prosecutors are just as guilty of murder as nelson is. this man had allready proven himself to be a career criminal. he should have never been on the streets.

  • A.salinas

    They did it Texas one will get the death penalty the other will get a life sentence too bad we dont string them up anymore

    • Clearwire

      Who is them? Criminals? Black people? Who are you referencing? String them up anymore? Is this about crime or race?

  • Elizabeth Howard

    Send him to prison and put him in cell with the skinheads. I bet he will turn from crime then.

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  • darrell

    @ Joe B
    im willing to bet that if you dig into the cases you will find that a plea bargain approved by the DA resulted in those sentences. and we are not talking about something that happened 10 20 30 years ago, we are talking about something that happened less that 5 months ago. pull your head out, take a breath, think beyond the end of your racism.

  • Hemroidious

    Hey man, this ain’t no thang for these guys. Three hots and a cot. Little R&R for a few years. they be back doin their thang, know what I’m sayin?

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