1 P.M. UPDATE:
A jury has found a central Arkansas restaurant owner guilty of capital murder in the 2015 fatal shooting of his pregnant mistress.
Chicken King co-owner Quenton King, 38, automatically received a life sentence.
On Thursday morning, lawyers made their closing statements before the jury began deliberating shortly before 10:30 a.m. It took jurors about two-and-a-half hours to reach a verdict.
Prosecutors said King killed 36-year-old Megan Price in June 2015 after the woman, whom he had been in an on-and-off relationship with for about 14 years, posted on Facebook that she was pregnant with his child.
A second capital murder charge was dismissed by Circuit Judge Herb Wright on Wednesday. The judge ruled that the prosecution had not proven the unborn baby was alive when Price was shot.
The defense had argued that no DNA evidence linked King to the scene of the crime: Price's North Little Rock home.
On Thursday afternoon, defense attorney Ron Davis said he will appeal the verdict.
King co-owns Chicken King restaurants in North Little Rock and Little Rock with his wife of more than 15 years.
Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.
— Jillian Kremer
The capital murder trial of Chicken King co-owner Quenton King, accused of killing his pregnant mistress, is now in the hands of a Pulaski County jury.
Twelve jurors — seven women and five men — began deliberating around 10:25 a.m. Thursday.
Earlier in the morning, the defense rested its case, with no witnesses taking the stand. King, 38, did not testify. On Monday and Tuesday, prosecutors brought 17 witnesses to the stand.
During closing arguments, which lasted nearly an hour, prosecutors explained that part of the reason King killed his mistress, 36-year-old Megan Price, was because she was pregnant.
Price had been eight months pregnant at the time of her killing, according to testimony earlier in the week.
A Facebook post naming King as the father of her unborn baby was the “final straw” that provided a motive to kill Price, prosecutor John Johnson told the court.
The state also recounted testimony about the normal patterns of King’s visits to Price’s North Little Rock residence.
Price would normally have enough notice to prepare for his arrival, and a key would be placed outside, prosecutors said. All signs pointed to King’s appearance there that Friday night, the state argued.
At least three people had known of plans for King to stay over with Price, and Price’s daughters had been taken elsewhere for the weekend in anticipation of his visit, according to testimony.
King’s defense team, meanwhile, attempted to place doubt in the case, telling the jury that no direct evidence linked his client to the shooting death of Price.
Defense attorney Ron Davis said the story outlined by the state is “compelling.”
“Yet, it is just a story,” Davis told the court.
The attorney said the prosecution’s case had discrepancies, including a lack of direct DNA evidence placing King at the scene during her killing and flaws in the testimony of witness 43-year-old David Kincade, a friend of King’s who said the accused murderer had outlined the circumstances of Price’s death.
Additionally, Davis said the timing of the Facebook post’s removal was not clear, making it unknown if King obtained Price’s cellphone and deleted it.
“We all want to cry about a terrible thing,” Davis said, urging jurors to carefully examine reasonable doubt in the case.
— Brandon Riddle