Police arrested a 24-year-old man with a long criminal history on Saturday for suspected involvement in the murder of young Texas pastor Clint Dobson.
Steven Lawayne Nelson, who has a criminal record dating back at least a decade, was arrested at a townhouse where his mother lives. The townhouse is only a few blocks from NorthPointe Baptist Church, where Dobson was killed on Thursday.
Authorities have withheld information on how exactly Dobson was killed, but Arlington police say they believe the assailant was motivated by robbery.
“We know they’ve (Arlington police) been working around the clock,” said Dr. Phillip Rozeman, Dobson’s father-in-law, according to Texas’s Star-Telegram. “We’re thankful for their diligence and want them to know that we appreciate how they handled this case.”
Nelson is being held at the Arlington Jail on charges of capital murder. In October, he was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and was handed eight years of probation, according to public records. He has also served time in jail for property theft and burglary, among other crimes.
Dobson, 28, was found dead inside NorthPointe Baptist Church earlier this week. His ministry assistant, Judy Elliott, survived the beating and is recovering in the hospital. There is no official statement on her condition as of Saturday.
NorthPointe Baptist Church is a satellite ministry of First Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas. Dobson had been serving as lead pastor of NorthPointe for about three years. He is a distant relative of James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family.
“We’re all sad,” said the Rev. Dennis Wiles, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Arlington. “We’re sad that anyone would resort to this kind of violence for any kind of reason.”
Police are still investigating and have not ruled out the possibility of others involved in the murder.
Dobson is survived by his wife, Laura, his parents, and his sister Sarah Dobson Mitchell.