A man convicted of capital murder in the strangulation death of a pastor in a north Texas church was sentenced to death on Tuesday.
A jury in state District Judge Mike Thomas' court deliberated for about 90 minutes before deciding on the sentence for Steven Lawayne Nelson, 25, of Arlington, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Nelson faced either the death penalty or life in prison without parole for killing the Rev. Clint Dobson at his Baptist church in Arlington in March 2011. Dobson was beaten, strangled with a computer extension cord and suffocated with a plastic bag. A church secretary was also brutally beaten and left for dead but survived.
Prosecutors said Nelson, a convicted felon, killed the pastor because he wanted to steal a car that he had seen in the church parking lot.
Nelson was convicted of capital murder last week by the same jury in Fort Worth that decided on his death sentence.
At trial, prosecutors showed text messages that Nelson sent the day after the killing. In one, he wrote: "I don't mean to brag. I'm a monster," according to The Associated Press.
Nelson's family members testified that he had a troubled childhood in which he suffered from attention deficit disorder and dysfunctional relationships, according to AP.
Defense attorneys asked jurors to spare Nelson's life, saying he didn't get the proper help he needed when he was growing up.
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