A Bellmead man pleaded guilty Friday morning and was sentenced to 52 years in prison for the August 2016 murder and beheading of his wife, who he killed in front of their young children before putting her head in a freezer.

Davie Dauzat, now 24, pleaded guilty to murder before retired Judge George Allen in Waco’s 54th State District Court. In August, Judge Matt Johnson rejected a proposed plea agreement that would have given Dauzat a 50-year sentence for killing his wife, Natasha Dauzat, 21, on Aug. 25, 2016.

The guilty plea was agreed upon by prosecutors and Dauzat’s defense team prior to Dauzat’s sentencing. Prosecutor Michael Jarrett told Allen on Friday that while Dauzat deserves to spend every day of the rest of his life in prison, the plea agreement was reached for the health of the children who witnessed their mother’s gruesome death.

Bellmead police were called to the couple’s home in the 4300 block of Concord Road after Dauzat’s brother called police a second time that morning to say he had continually received odd phone calls from Dauzat. Police were at the couple’s home earlier in the morning for a welfare check, but said there was no cause for concern initially.

When Dauzat’s brother called a second time, he said Dauzat told him he had killed his wife.

Dauzat told investigators he killed his wife with a knife while their 1-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter were home. Dauzat also told police he had used drugs before killing Natasha Dauzat, but it was not clear what drugs he took and when, other than smoking marijuana with his wife earlier that day, according to affidavits filed in the case.

“It is certainly a tragedy for everybody involved in the situation and I think it highlights the dangers that drugs play in our society,” Dauzat’s defense attorney, Joseph Marcee, of Georgetown, said after the sentencing. “I certainly think that factored into everything and I think it is a tragedy.

“My client took responsibility for his actions today and that is something he wanted to do.”

The autopsy report confirmed that Natasha Dauzat had died from at least 43 knife wounds and other “sharp-force injuries, including decapitation.”

During court proceedings, Marcee said he had no question about his client’s mental sanity at the time of the murder or his competency to stand trial.

Dauzat must spend at least 26 years in prison before he can seek parole.

In a victim-impact statement from the victim’s mother, Patricia Tagliarino, which Jarrett read, she said Dauzat deserved to die a slow, painful death like her daughter did.

She said she prays every day for him to die.

Tribune-Herald staff writer Tommy Witherspoon contributed to this report.

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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