HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Kevin Duck, convicted Friday morning in the 2011 murder of girlfriend Dawna Natzke, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The 33-year-old was found guilty of the Hot Springs Village police dispatcher’s killing on the fourth day of his trial after just more than four hours of deliberation by the jury.

After sentencing, Duck was taken out of the courtroom and back to jail. Reporter Mitch McCoy asked Duck if he had any last words. “I think ya’ll made a mistake,” Duck responded.

During the sentencing hearing phase, Duck’s brother testified that Kevin became very violent when he was seven-years-old, even faking his own suicide by firing a gunshot in his room.

Dawna’s best friend told us it was nerve-racking waiting for a verdict.

“I was just thinking that the longer it took that maybe there was something that they, ya know, it just didn’t make me feel confident,” said Patty Hathaway.

Dawna’s son told the court the defense made up lies about his mother in the trial. “I pray for Kevin. There is a God that still truly loves him,” he added.

That testimony triggered emotions in the courtroom, including half of the jury.

Original story:
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – A jury in Garland County has found Kevin Duck guilty in the Dec. 2011 murder of his girlfriend Dawna Natzke, of Hot Springs Village.

The trial for Duck, 33, of Jessieville, began on Tuesday. The case was sent to the jury on Thursday afternoon but then a recess was called.

The jury continued deliberations Friday morning at the Garland County Courthouse before emerging with their decision shortly after 9:30.

During testimony on Wednesday, Arkansas Medical Examiner Charles Kokes told jurors Natzke died from a combination of blunt force trauma over her body and drowning. Her body was found on the morning of Dec. 31, 2011, partially submerged in a shallow pond off Main Haul Road on Weyerhaeuser property near Jessieville.

Natzke had been reported missing on Dec. 23 and her car was found burned in the Ouachita National Forest on Dec. 24.

Duck has been serving a state prison term on a six-year probation revocation from a Hot Spring County conviction for aggravated assault.