Suspect arrested in pastor's beating death

In this undated photo provided by Northpointe Baptist Church via the Arlington Police Department, the Rev. Clint Dobson, 28, a pastor at the Arlington, Texas, church is shown. (AP Photo/Northpointe Baptist Church via Arlington Police Department)

March 5, 2011 6:51:54 PM PST
A convicted felon was arrested Saturday and faces a capital murder charge in the slaying of a pastor at his Texas church in an apparent robbery, police said. Steven Lawayne Nelson, 24, was arrested at an apartment complex following 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 were being held as scheduled.

Dobson, 28, had led the satellite church of First Baptist Church of Arlington for about three years.

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