MADISONVILLE, Tenn. — Two unrelated murders of Baptist
pastors in Tennessee and Texas have left friends, families members and church
members in shock and disbelief.
In Tennessee, Darrell Franklin, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in
Madisonville, was killed between 2-2:30 p.m. on March 2 at his business, Fay
Innovative Waste Solutions, in Athens.
According to news reports, he allegedly
was shot and killed by Darrell Hester, an employee of the company who then
killed himself. Police are calling the incident a murder/suicide, according to
news accounts. Franklin was bivocational.
“I can’t hardly believe it,” Steven McDonald, pastor of Big Creek Baptist
Church in Madisonville and moderator of the Sweetwater Baptist Association,
told Tennessee’s Baptist and Reflector newsjournal. “It is almost surreal.”
McDonald described Franklin as an outstanding person who would help anyone.
Franklin’s church was affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention and the
Southern Baptist Convention.
“He had a heart for his congregation and for seeing people come to the Lord,”
McDonald said. “He was a soul-winner.”
Lon Shoopman, pastor of First Baptist Church in Madisonville, knew Franklin. “He
was a gentle, caring man and an effective pastor,” Shoopman said.
In Texas, Clint Dobson, pastor of Arlington’s NorthPointe Baptist Church, was
killed and his ministry assistant, Judy Elliott, critically injured March 3.
NorthPointe is a satellite campus of First Baptist Church in Arlington. Robbery
could have been a motive: Some items, including a vehicle, were missing, the
Associated Press reported.
“We are shocked,” Dennis Wiles, executive pastor for First Baptist Church of
Arlington, told The Dallas Morning News. “Clint was a vibrant, young man that I
respected as a colleague and admired as a friend.”
Police said Elliott’s car, a cream-colored, four-door 2007 Mitsubishi Galant had
been recovered but did not indicate where it had been found. Police say a man
has been arrested and faces a capital murder.
Arlington police said March 5 that Steven Lawayne Nelson,
24, had been arrested and faces a charge of capital murder, which carries the
A vigil was held at the church March 4 to remember Dobson.
“It’s a place of worship,” Kenneth Lemuel, who lives near the church, told the
Morning News. “You would never expect something like that to happen here.”
FBC Arlington is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Southern Baptist Convention.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press,
with reporting by Lonnie Wilkey, editor of the Baptist and Reflector.)
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