Pastor's widow testifies at Arlington murder trial



Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas


Posted on October 2, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 2 at 7:09 PM

FORT WORTH — The young widow of slain Northpointe Baptist Church pastor Clint Dobson took the witness stand Tuesday at the capital murder trial of alleged killer Steven Nelson.

Laura Dobson faltered as prosecutors began to take her back to March 3, 2011, the day her husband was found bound, beaten and suffocated.

Mrs. Dobson described racing to the Arlington church, where she learned of her husband's death. She said she collapsed on the pavement after hearing the news.

Defense attorneys questioned the presence of a particular coffee cup at the murder scene, and raised the possibility that an unknown person might have been there. Laura Dobson testified that her husband drank a lot of coffee.

She spent only a few minutes on the stand, but it was enough to move many in the courtroom to tears.

The judge briefly recessed the trial following the widow's emotional testimony.

Earlier, another witness testified that he bought Dobson's stolen laptop computer from his alleged kille in the parking lot of a tire store. He said he realized it was Dobson's property the next day, and turned it in to police.

Jurors saw surveillance video of the transaction.

Late Tuesday afternoon, a clerk at The Parks Mall took the stand to testify about Nelson's alleged shopping spree in the hours following the pastor's death. Prosecutors said the suspect purchased expensive sneakers and flashy jewelry while driving the stolen car of church secretary Judy Elliott, who was beaten and left for dead.

On Tuesday morning, defense attorney Bill Ray challenged a crime scene technician about the location of a trash can and a coffee cup and asked whether she tested drain pipes for blood. The defense attorney is trying to plant doubt about the possibility of an unknown person being in the office.

Prosecutors said Nelson attacked his victims because he was a predator. They are also presenting evidence that Nelson went on a shopping spree within hours of the murder, buying expensive sneakers and jewelry.

Nelson was shackled in court on Tuesday. He is considered a threat for violence and is accused of hitting a jailer and suspected in the death of a fellow jail inmate.

On Monday, Nelson pleaded not guilty to killing 28-year-old pastor Clint Dobson in March of last year.

Dobson was found in the office of Northpointe Baptist Church. His hands and ankles were bound and a plastic trash can liner covered his face. He had bloody wounds to the back of his head.

Jurors were shown large images of crime scene photos Monday. The violence clearly shook members of Dobson's church family in attendance at the trial in Fort Worth.

Church secretary Judy Elliott was beaten and left for dead at the scene. Her husband, John Elliott, testified Monday he found the crime scene, but did not recognize his wife because her injuries were so severe. He said his wife has no memory of the attack.

If convicted, Nelson could be sentenced to death.

Prosecutor were expected to continue building their case when the trial resumes on Wednesday.