PINE BLUFF, Ark — Kenneth Williams was sentenced to life without parole for fatally shooting Dominique ‘Nicki’ Hurd, 19, a University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff cheerleader in 1998.
Her college coach and friend, Karen Blunt, smiled while talking about the bond she and Hurd shared.
“Dominique was very, very smart … intelligent and full of life,” said Blunt. “Her soul was beautiful.”
The two met in the summer of 1997, while recruiting Hurd to become a UAPB cheerleader.
“It was an instant connection that she and I had,” said Blunt.
Hurd moved in with Blunt and her husband a few weeks before college started.
“She was so excited,” said Blunt. “She wanted to get an early start on everything.”
Hurd loved cheerleading.
“She designed [some of our] uniforms,” said Blunt. “She always wanted a white, clean uniform.”
The 19-year-old was studying to be a doctor.
“She was a premie when she was born and when she was here, she would attend the doctor with me because at the time, I was trying to get pregnant,” said Blunt.
Fast forward to December 1998 … the day before Hurd’s murder.
“We laughed and we ate and she baked me my favorite sugar cookies,” said Blunt. “She did so well.”
Blunt was at church the next day when her husband pulled her outside and told her Hurd had been shot.
“I don’t even know how to absorb that. Nicki’s been shot,” said Blunt.
According to court documents, Kenneth Williams, 19, kidnapped Hurd and a friend at gunpoint, drove them to several ATM’s to get money and then shot both of them before speeding away in a stolen car.
“I immediately … I went into shock,” said Blunt
The friend survived, however Dominique died at the hospital.
“I went in the room and there she was,” said Blunt. “All I can remember today was the grass in her hair.”
Blunt said she hasn’t found the strength to forgive Williams.
“It doesn’t even matter to me. What matters to me is Nicki and her life being told,” said Blunt. “For people to know she was once breathing.”
Blunt said she nor Hurd’s family plan on attending Williams scheduled execution Thursday.
While serving time for Hurd’s murder, Williams escaped from the Cummins Unit in Oct. 1999. He walked about two miles down the road from the state prison and broke into a home, where he killed Cecil Boren, shooting him six times.
Williams then took off to Missouri where he killed a man in a traffic accident.
In 2000, Williams was sentenced to death.