"The Carpet Was Still Wet in the Courtroom When He Sat Down For His First Lovely Meal On Death Row."

Categories: Crime

Tarrant County Sheriff's Office
Steven Lawayne Nelson, photographed in a Tarrant County jail, following a fistfight with deputies.
Tarrant County jailers are breathing a collective sigh of relief: Ladies and gentlemen, Steven Lawayne Nelson has left the building. Convicted and sentenced to death for suffocating a 28-year-old Arlington preacher and suspected in the killing of a fellow inmate, Nelson's new home is the Polunsky Unit in Polk County, just east of Huntsville.

"We're certainly not going to miss him," Tarrant County Sheriff's Office spokesman Terry Grisham told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

See also:
- Imaginary Monsters Chased Jonny Holden All His Life, Then a Real One Caught Him

It's easy to see why not. As I researched a feature story about the life and death of the mentally ill inmate whom investigators believe was strangled by Nelson, I requested Nelson's inmate file. 'Voluminous' is a word that comes to mind. The man's a hell-raiser. He scuffled with jailers on several occasions. He used a spray bottle to douse fellow inmates in a mixture of urine and feces. Nelson once tossed a mop bucket filled with urine in another inmate's eyes.

He flooded his cell a couple of times. He covered the walls of his cell with graffiti. For whatever reason, he handed jailers a plastic utensil that had been fashioned into a shiv. He smashed sprinkler heads and pranced through the day-room as it flooded. When he was finished, he got down on his stomach and pretended to perform a breast stroke.

To protest his transfer to a single-cell unit, he shattered his light fixture. He blackguarded and threatened, but he also killed. During his sentencing hearing, an inmate who was housed in a cell across from a mentally ill man named Jonathan Holden says he watched Nelson strangle the man through the cell bars with a blanket. Clippings of Holden's fingernails were sent to a forensics lab, which discovered Nelson's DNA.

And finally, as the jury handed him a death sentence, Nelson flooded his holding cell. The water and the pungent aroma of flame retardant seeped into the courtroom, along with Nelson's screams.

"The carpet was still wet in the courtroom when he sat down for his first lovely meal on death row," Grisham told the Star-Telegram (Kudos to reporter Deanna Boyd for the most money quote of the year).

Maybe Tarrant County shouldn't get too used to Nelson's absence, though. There's another death on his hands. I put in a call to prosecutor Bob Gill to see whether Nelson will be tried for Holden's death. I'll update when/if I hear back from him.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

I hope they don't wait too long before carrying out the death sentence on this vile POS. Good riddance.


We toss around the adjective evil against politicians, businesses, even countries that we merely dislike. We do it so often sometimes people think nothing is really evil. People like this guy remind us that real evil exists, is not from any particular religion or philosophy, and is a physical thing that interacts with our world like heat, light, or sound. I am sorry for the deputies that have to interact with him. He must make their skins crawl.


Although the first order of business in a case like this should be (and is) protectection of the public from further abuse by Nelson, the question in my mind is how does a human being get to be like Nelson...  Also, what can be done to prevent the future creation of a "character" like this?... Most folk are not interested in that question and are content to just kill him and be done with what they think is the current situation.  And this short sightedness will no doubt lead to the future creation and destruction of another Nelson in similiar situations...so much for "kill him now and ask questions late"r... 


This piece of trash needs to go directly to the gurney. 

ScottsMerkin topcommenter

These types of guys are the ones death row was meant for, a monster with no shot at rehabilitation and just a general menace to all he comes in contact with.  

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Jonny Holden's angel of a sister should be grateful for the verdict and the sentencing.  However, after having read about her kind and loving care of her brother, she probably forgives this crazy beast.


 People like him dont deserve to be on Death Row. There is ZERO question of his guilt. They should be taken out of the courtroom & shot in the head behind the courthouse. Or in this guys case, maybe put a plastic bag over his head & cinch it up until he is dead would be more appropriate.


ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @unclescrappy true, I guess I really meant to say the death penalty, and immediately in his case is fine with me.  

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault