UPDATE: 10:25 a.m.
Surrounded by sheriff's deputies and with his shackles concealed from jurors, Nelson denied killing the pastor and brutally beating the church secretary, saying he stayed outside the church while two friends went inside and killed the man.
"I didn't injure nobody or threaten nobody," Nelson said during questioning by defense attorneys Bill Ray and Steve Gordon.
"You witnessed something horrible, didn't you?" asked Gordon. "Do you feel remorse?"
"I feel bad," Nelson said. "I wouldn't want that to happen to my family or anybody."
Nelson is standing trial for capital murder in state District Judge Mike Thomas' court in the March 3, 2011 death of pastor Clint Dobson, 28. Dobson was beaten, bound and suffocated with a plastic bag over his head. Church secretary Judy Elliott was beaten severely and left for dead, but survived the attack.
Nelson maintained his story throughout grilling from prosecutor Bob Gill, but admitted he stepped around the bodies - still alive at the time, he said - to steal a laptop computer. He was later seen driving Elliott's stolen Mitsubishi Galant and using her stolen credit cards, and sold Dobson's laptop computer to a man at a tire store.
"You were so remorseful that your reaction was to grab a laptop?" asked Gill.
"They were still alive," Nelson said.
"They were obviously injured and your reaction was to steal from them?" retorted Gill.
"Yes, sir," Nelson said.
Court adjourned for the day about noon, shortly after Nelson's testimony, and will resume Monday. The defense could either put on additional witnesses at that point or rest their case. The jury is expected to begin deliberating on Monday.
Prosecutors Gill and Page Simpson are seeking the death penalty.
UPDATE: 10 a.m.
Accused killer Steven Lawayne Nelson sent incriminating text messages from his cellphone the day after the killing of an Arlington pastor.
"I did some s*** the other day, cuz," he texted to an unknown cell phone number, according to phone records. "I f***** up, cuz. Real bad.'"
The texts were read for jurors by prosecutor Page Simpson over the objection of defense attorney Bill Ray. And with that, the prosecution rested its case against Nelson, 25, charged with capital murder in the brutal suffocation death of pastor Clint Dobson, 28, of NorthPointe Baptist Church.
The evidentiary portion of the trial is expected to end today, with closing arguments likely to be held Monday before state District Judge Mike Thomas.
Arlington pastor Clint Dobson struggled violently with his attacker and was likely knocked unconscious by severe blows to the head, Tarrant County medical examiner Nizam Peerwani told jurors Friday in the capital murder trial of Steven Lawayne Nelson.
Peerwani testified that Dobson died, however, after a plastic bag was placed so tightly over his head that his last breaths sucked the bag into his mouth.
Nelson, 25, is standing trial on capital murder in the death of Dobson, 28. Dobson was beaten, bound and suffocated with a plastic bag during a robbery of NorthPointe Baptist Church in north Arlington. Church secretary Judy Elliott was severely beaten and left for dead but survived.
Prosecutors Bob Gill and Page Simpson are expected to wrap up their case today, with closing arguments likely to begin on Monday.
Defense attorneys Bill Ray and Steve Gordon have suggested during questioning that another man committed the killing, but prosecutors have presented evidence showing that he had an alibi for the hours during which the crimes occurred.
Testimony has been continuing all week before State District Judge Mike Thomas.