FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Steven Nelson, 25, did not react the moment he was sentenced to death by a jury after he was convicted of the murder of Clint Dobson, 28.
But minutes later, after being led out of the courtroom and into a holding cell behind the courtroom, Nelson broke a sprinkler head, causing black, chemically treated water to spew into the holding cell and lead into the courtroom.
Nelson was heard screaming as bailiffs worked to get control of the situation and began evacuating people from the courtroom.
Firefighters arrived a short time later to stop the water and help clean up the mess.
Earlier in the day, both sides presented closing arguments in the punishment phase of the trial.
“This is what life is worth. A t-shirt and some fake jewelry, a couple of credit cards, a phone, a laptop computer, and a car. This is what Steven Nelson thinks a life is worth,” said prosecutor Page Simpson.
“Being the victim of a single mother does not make one a killer,” she later said.
Later, Defense attorney Steve Gordon pleaded with the jury to spare the convicted killer’s life. “Please grant this man a life sentence,” he said.
Jurors deliberated for 90 minutes before sentencing Nelson to death.
Family members addressed the court and Steven Nelson, during victim impact statements.
“Cosmic collision of good and evil, that’s what this was,” said Phillip Roseman, Clint Dobson’s father-in-law.
He said, “Our world was shattered. My daughter’s world was shattered, and we are going to rebuild it and I want to thank you again for giving us some comfort.”
Clint Dobson’s widow, Laura, took the stand and spoke directly Nelson saying, “I refuse to let you get the best of me.”
She said when prosecutors told her none of Nelson’s family members had shown up to court for support, she was mad at herself for feeling sorry for him.
“No one wants to support pure evil, so no one wants to support you,” she said.
She said she looks forward to the day she can be with her husband again, in heaven.
“Until that day, I vow to be his voice and carry on his legacy and be a living reminder that good always trumps evil,” she said.
Judy Elliot, Clint Dobson’s secretary, who was also attacked and left for dead that day, attended the trial but did not testify, nor did she participate in victim impact statements.
Here is the full statement from First Baptist Church of Arlington and Northpointe Baptist Church:
“On March 3, 2011, two churches and two families experienced a tragedy that has altered all of our lives. We will never forget the trauma and the shock of that fateful day.
On the one hand, we have all continued to live and progress through life. Both the Dobson and Elliott families have received outpourings of love and support. There is no question that healing has occurred and
that God’s grace has been sufficient. Our churches have been blessed by an incredible expression of concern as this community has reached out to us in tangible ways.
We have all waited for this day. We have prayed for the people who are charged with the responsibility for the wheels of justice in our society. We have asked God for the truth to be known and for justice to be
served. As the Bible teaches us, God has placed the civil authority in our midst so that innocent people can live in freedom without fear and so that guilty offenders can be appropriately punished.
We are convinced that we have seen that process demonstrated in the past 17 months. We are grateful for police officers, crime investigators and legal specialists who have performed a great service for our
community. This trial has been conducted with an incredible level of professionalism and integrity. A jury comprised of members from our community has reached a verdict based on evidence presented in a court
of law. We now can confidently say that justice has been served and we will support the decision of this court.
We also want our community to know that Clint Dobson did not die in vain. His life was given courageously in service to the Lord Jesus Christ. The crown of life will be his forever in eternity. The
testimony of his life continues to bear fruit in the lives of countless people who continue to benefit from his commitment to Christ.
We now can move forward to a greater level of healing since this part of the saga is behind us. We will never tire of proclaiming the life-giving message of hope that we know to be the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is the message for which Clint gave his life. It is the message that offers light in the face of the darkness that caused this tragedy in the first place.
Both families and both churches are resilient and resolute in our hope. Our God is sufficient for all of life’s circumstances and the good news of Jesus Christ will not be overwhelmed by evil. In fact, this good news is
the answer for the ills of humanity and we will be faithful to share it with everyone until our Lord returns and His creation is redeemed, restored and truly reflects His glory.”
-Dr. Dennis R. Wiles, Pastor, FBC Arlington
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