FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Several family members of convicted killer Steven Nelson took the stand Monday in his defense as part of the final day of testimony in the punishment phase of his capital murder trial.
Nelson was convicted last week of killing Arlington Pastor Clint Dobson in March of last year.
Defense attorneys are now trying to spare their client from death row. They have suggested to jurors that many of Nelson’s problems grew because his mother, Kathy James, gave up on helping him.
She testified Nelson’s father was absent from his life and was an alcoholic who abused her.
When Nelson was a toddler, he set her bed on fire with a lighter that Nelson’s father left at their home, she testified.
Defense attorneys showed pictures of Nelson as a young child, around the age he began to have disciplinary problems in school. He was later diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and prescribed Ritalin, which Kathy James said made her son’s problems worse.
James described the her son often felt when his father would break plans with him.
”My son would sit outside for 8 hours a day because he’d called his daddy to come pick him up and he wouldn’t show up,” James said.
But prosecutors argued Nelson had a stable family life and had good relationships with his stepfather and grandfather.
Tim James, Nelson’s older brother also testified they spent a lot of time at the Boys and Girls Club and had a normal life.
“My mom was a pretty good mom,” he said.
Closing arguments in the punishment phase are expected Tuesday. A jury will decide if Nelson will get the death penalty or life in prison without parole.
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