New Trial Date Gary Dunn in 2005 AR Murder of Nona Dirksmeyer, May Face DP

Started by Michael, June 09, 2009, 07:17:52 PM

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June 09, 2009, 07:17:52 PM Last Edit: June 18, 2010, 01:43:28 PM by Heidi
Judge lets trial locale change in '05 killing

RUSSELLVILLE - A judge on Monday granted a defense motion to move the trial of a Dover man charged in the 2005 death of Arkansas Tech University student Nona Dirksmeyer from Pope County to Johnson County.

Gary Dunn's capital-murder trial, scheduled to begin Sept. 28, will be in Clarksville before Circuit Judge Bill Pearson. The prosecution did not object to moving the trial, which could last two weeks.

Pearson denied defense efforts to prevent the prosecution from seeking the death penalty if Dunn, 29, is convicted. Under Arkansas law, a person convicted of capital murder can be sentenced to death or to life in prison without parole.

Defense attorneys Jeff Rosenzweig and William O. James Jr. also sought to suppress any evidence the prosecution has obtained from Dunn's wife, Jennifer Dunn. The defense cited marital privilege, but special prosecuting attorney Jack McQuary said there were legal exceptions to such privilege.

Pearson said he would wait until the issue comes up at trial to decide that issue. "If marital privilege is invoked, we'd go into recess [away from jurors] and see what that [evidence] is," Pearson said. "I can't rule on it until I know what it is."

In April, the prosecution filed a court document saying Dunn killed Dirksmeyer, 19, on Dec. 15, 2005, in hopes of avoiding arrest in her rape or attempted rape.

Dunn is the second person charged in Dirksmeyer's death. A jury acquitted her boyfriend, Kevin Jones, in July 2007, and a special prosecutor later said Jones was, in fact, innocent. Jones' mother, Janice Jones, sat near the back of the courtroom during the pretrial hearing Monday.

Dirksmeyer's nude body was found in a pool of blood on the living-room floor of her Russellville apartment. Authorities said she was choked, beaten, and stabbed and slashed with a knife on her face, shoulders and throat.

Police found a condom wrapper, but no condom, in her apartment after her death. Jones' defense attorneys continued working to exonerate him after his acquittal and said DNA on the wrapper eventu- ally led them to Dunn.

The judge said Monday that he will rule in 10 days on a defense motion to suppress statements Dunn made to law enforcement authorities as far back as Dec. 29, 2005 - four days after Dirksmeyer's death.

Bill Glover, senior special agent for the Arkansas State Police, testified that Dunn voluntarily agreed to a videotaped interview and took a polygraph, or lie-detector, test that day at the Russellville Police Department.

Neither attorneys nor witnesses divulged the results of that test.

Deputy Todd Steffy of the Dover Marshal's Office testified that he first met Dunn on Sept. 11, 2007 after Dunn's stepfather reported a burglary. The two did not discuss the Dirksmeyer case then, Steffy said. But the next day, Steffy said he asked Dunn if he would give him fingerprints and a DNA sample. Steffy said Dunn agreed.

Steffy said one of Jones' attorneys, Michael Robbins, asked him to look over the case and help out.

James sought to discredit Steffy during the hearing by getting Steffy to acknowledge Robbins eventually paid him some money for his expenses, though Steffy never said how much.

On Aug. 14, 2008, just over a week before police arrested Dunn in Dirksmeyer's death, Dunn gave another interview, this time to Steffy, Arkansas State Police criminal investigator Stacie Rhoads and another law-enforcement officer. Steffy said he also talked with Dunn alone on the day of the arrest for another interview.

The judge said he expects to call another hearing before the trial.
I´m not sure if there´s a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.

heidi salazar

Updates in Beauty Queen Murder Trial

Gary Dunn is facing the death penalty for the murder of Nona Dirksmeyer, a former contestant for Miss Arkansas who was found dead in her Russellville apartment in December of 2005.

A condom wrapper was found at the scene. Now prosecutors contend there is DNA on that wrapper that matches both Dunn and Dirksmeyer.

The prosecution has a witness which will testify that the male DNA on that wrapper has only a 1 in 100 million chance of being anyone but Gary Dunn.

Dr. Lawrence Mueller testified at a hearing Monday for the defense saying that logic is wrong. He said if they look at the DNA in that manner, then they would have to conclude that there is also DNA on the wrapper possibly belonging to 2 other individuals.

The judge ruled all the testimony will be allowed.

This will be the second trial for the Nona Dirksmeyer case. Her boyfriend Kevin Jones was originally charged with the crime. He was found not guilty in the summer of 2007. It was his defense team which paid for this additional testing that is now linking Gary Dunn to the crime.

Dunn lived in the same apartment complex as Dirksmeyer and served time in prison for assaulting a female jogger.

heidi salazar

Dollars for defending Dunn

State taxpayers will pay up to $110 per hour for private attorneys to defend a Dover man accused of killing Nona Dirksmeyer, an Arkansas Tech University student who was a reigning beauty queen at the time of her death.
The state's Public Defender Commission pays between $90-$110 to private attorneys in death penalty cases like the one set for April 12, when Gary W. Dunn, 30, will face a jury for the 2005 slaying of Dirksmeyer, a Dover native, who was found beaten, stabbed and naked in her apartment by Kevin Jones, her on-again, off-again boyfriend who was the first man tried for her death. Jones was acquitted in 2007, approximately one year before Dunn was arrested and charged. Prosecutors have said they now believe Jones was innocent.
Attorney Jeff Dunham, who serves as the 5th Judicial District's public defense coordinator, said private attorneys are appointed to cases and negotiate with the commission regarding payment after submitting billing statements to the court.
A billing statement filed at the Johnson County Courthouse by Little Rock attorney Bill O. James, who along with fellow Little Rock attorney Jeff Rosenzweig represents Dunn, requests payment for 391.75 hours of pre-trial work between September 2008 and November 2009, which would cost the commission more than $39,000 at a rate of $100 per hour, although time billed for travel is paid at a half rate but attorneys are eligible to receive compensation for mileage.
James has collected more than $250,000 from commission since 2007, according to information provided by the agency. Rosenzweig has not filed a billing statement, but indicated Friday he plans to at the trial's conclusion.
According to Jacque Alexander, the commission's defense services administrator, the Public Defender Commission last paid Rosenzweig in July 2009. Alexander said Rosenzweig has worked 15 cases and collected approximately $60,000 from the commission since 2001, adding an enthusiastic review of Rosenzweig's work.
"He works tirelessly in public defense," Alexander said. "This is his life's work."
Rosenzweig said Friday he has not billed the commission for seven murder suspects he is currently representing in ongoing proceedings. In addition to Dunn, Rosenzweig has two clients still awaiting trial.
Alexander suggested gaps in billing may stem from Rosenzweig's pro bono work, an endeavor he said he has undertaken in the past but was not necessarily the cause for the intermittent payments.
"If I thought someone had gotten a raw deal and I thought I could do something about it, then I felt I was the proper person to do so," Rosenzweig said of his pro bono work.
Didi Sallings, the commission's director, declined comment, citing a gag order in Dunn's case.
After Dunn's arraignment in 2008, Dunham said it would be "almost impossible" for him to handle a death-penalty case in addition to his regular case load, calling the hiring of Rosenzweig and Jones the "intelligent thing to do." Dunn was originally set to go to trial in April 2009.
A special report by the state's Division of Legislative Audit found almost four percent of the commission's total attorney hours were billed by private attorneys for a total of $886,353 for hourly rates and $34,067 for mileage and other expenses in 2009. The commission retained more than 210 full-time and part-time employees and 85 staffers on June 30, 2009, according to the report.
The report also found professional development, employee turnover and large attorney case loads "were not significant factors in the commission's need to retain private attorneys," a finding the commission refuted, writing in its response that case loads in the state's 28 judicial districts are "higher than the recommended national standards."
The report stated private attorneys had not billed the commission for work in the 5th Judicial District -- comprised of Pope, Johnson and Franklin counties -- at the time of the audit.
Dirksmeyer, a 2004 graduate of Dover High School, was the reigning Miss Petit Jean Valley at the time of her death.
Jones, also of Dover, was acquitted by a Franklin County jury July 19, 2007.
Jack McQuary, a special prosecutor appointed to the case following Jones' acquittal, released information at the time of Dunn's arrest that indicated DNA found on a condom wrapper near Dirksmeyer's body was matched to both Dunn and Dirksmeyer.
Jurors will hear testimony from an analyst who estimate a one in 120 million chance DNA on the condom wrapper belongs to someone other than Dunn.
Investigators have also confirmed Dunn, who was previously convicted of second-degree battery after he attacked a woman with a large stick at Bona Dea Trails, lived in the same apartment complex as Dirksmeyer at the time of her death. He was paroled in 2004.

heidi salazar

Suspect in Arkansas beauty queen slaying set for trial

CLARKSVILLE, Ark.--A man accused in the fatal beating of an Arkansas beauty queen is scheduled to go on trial this week with prosecutors seeking death penalty.

Gary William Dunn, 30, is the second man charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Nona Dirksmeyer, who was found dead in her Russellville apartment Dec. 15, 2005. A jury acquitted her boyfriend, Kevin Jones, in 2007.

Jury selection begins Monday in Clarksville. The trial is expected to last up to two weeks.

Dirksmeyer was a sophomore studying music at Arkansas Tech University when she was found fatally beaten with a floor lamp and her throat cut, authorities said. Dunn lived in the same apartment complex as Dirksmeyer, who was the reigning Miss Petit Jean Valley.

In Jones' trial, prosecutors argued that he became enraged over Dirksmeyer's relationships with other students. Prosecutors said a bloody palm print on a light bulb in the floor lamp tied Jones to the killing, but a defense expert said Jones left it after discovering her body.

Jones' attorneys collected their own DNA samples from everyone who could have had contact with Dirksmeyer, including Dunn, who was on parole for a 2003 attack on a woman in Russellville.

According to a police affidavit, DNA found on a condom wrapper linked Dunn to the crime, though defense attorneys dispute the match.

"Dunn has provided differing accounts of his actions on the day that Nona was murdered," the arrest affidavit said. "Dunn also puts himself at the apartment complex during the time Nona was murdered. Information initially provided by Dunn as to his whereabouts have been determined to be untrue."

heidi salazar

State v. Dunn mid-day update: Focus on expert testimony

Jury hears more from Jones

Story date: April 23, 2010
Veterinary services bill, bottle of cleaner odd items out amid continuing talk of boyfriend

By Mary Kincy
CLARKSVILLE -- Computer components seized from a clinic showed Gary Dunn's mother spent more than $80 for veterinary services the day before Nona Dirksmeyer died in 2005, a state Crime Laboratory expert testified here at the Johnson County Courthouse.
Attorneys have repeatedly drawn jurors' attention to the beauty queen's love of animals during the nine days of proceedings in the capital murder trial of Dunn, facing the death penalty amid allegations he killed Dirksmeyer during a sexually-motivated attack. An unopened bag of cat food found on the floor of Dirksmeyer's kitchen after her death has also drawn attention.
"It seemed out of place, like something had occurred there," Mark Frost, the Russellville police detective who conducted the investigation into the murder that led to the arrest, trial and 2007 acquittal of Dirksmeyer's boyfriend, Kevin Jones, in the crime, testified earlier this week about the bag and the area surrounding it.
The office visit that preceded the bill recovered from the computer -- and its presumed link to Dirksmeyer -- were not explored Thursday, as Dunn again faded into the background amid defense allegations Jones was the real killer.
With the exception of DNA matched to Dunn discovered on a condom wrapper found just feet from Dirksmeyer's body, prosecutors have yet to present solid information linking Dunn to the death.
Stacie Rhoads -- a state police investigator who led the inquiry into Dirksmeyer's homicide leading to Dunn's arrest -- has yet to testify, but is expected to talk about an orange bottle of carpet cleaner left uncapped in Dirksmeyer's kitchen the day of the murder. It was not mentioned during Jones' trial, leading to speculation it may be part of the case against Dunn.
Carol Dipert, Dirksmeyer's mother, testified Thursday she took the cleaner from a previous apartment at which her daughter lived in Russellville to the South Inglewood Avenue residence, but saw no evidence Dirksmeyer, whose apartment photos show was in a state of disarray, ever used it when she visited the home two days prior to the murder.
The condom wrapper was not on the counter at the time, Dipert testified.
The cleaner, however, was still at the Dipert home on Skyline Drive in 2008, when Rhoads recovered it from items Dirksmeyer's family took from her apartment after the death.
Carol Dipert's husband, Duane Dipert, testified Thursday as well, but his testimony focused largely on Jones' demeanor in the days following the homicide. He grew suspicious of Jones after the then-19-year-old twice volunteered the information that he could account for his whereabouts the day of the murder, Duane Dipert said.
At one point, Duane Dipert testified, he told Dirksmeyer's uncle, John Michael Rome, "Gosh, wouldn't it be funny if it was the boyfriend after all this?"
Prosecutors sought to explain Jones' statements by suggesting he proffered them after he realized he was suspected in the murder.
The Diperts found keys -- later traced to Jones -- in their home days after Dirksmeyer's death, both testified. Prior testimony focused on Jones' search of Dirksmeyer's apartment after he and others went to the residence to retrieve clothes for her funeral.
Jones previously said he did not drive his vehicle for about three months after he found his girlfriend's body.
The information was revealed as attorneys for Dunn continued to hammer away at their theory Jones committed the murder and deliberately staged the crime scene. But they added a new element late Wednesday and early Thursday when they began to suggest for the first time Jones' friend, Ryan Whiteside, and mother, Janice Jones, might have cooperated in covering up his guilt.
Whiteside -- a pizza delivery driver who Jones asked to check on Dirksmeyer the night of her death -- testified he went to the front door of Dirksmeyer's apartment to let Jones' mother, Janice Jones, in after he and Jones gained entry through a back door and found Dirksmeyer's body on the living room floor atop a blood-soaked patch of carpet. The Joneses were on their way to a holiday party when they stopped by Dirksmeyer's residence after Whiteside was unable to get her to answer the door.
Defense attorney Bill James seized on Whiteside's previous statement he waved Janice Jones into the apartment after he called for help.
A 911 recording played to the jury for the third time gave voice to what sounded like a woman sobbing in the background just seconds after the call began.
"You didn't sit out there and explain to her what was going on, did you?" James asked.
Whiteside said he did not recall the exact progression of events that day.
"All I was thinking about at the time was how do we get help here," he testified.
But James suggested the sequence indicated jurors were hearing less than the full story.
"So if she's crying on the phone, she doesn't even know what's going on yet, does she?" James asked.
Janice Jones -- who was not present in the courtroom for Whiteside's testimony -- said Whiteside let her in after she rang the doorbell, though, and claimed she entered the apartment, walked down the hallway into the living room and saw Dirksmeyer's body before Whiteside placed the call and handed her the phone.
She also testified about the party she and her son were to attend that night at a restaurant in Dardanelle, saying plans had been in the works for the outing for two days prior to the murder. At Jones' trial, it was alleged he made plans to attend the party only that day -- Dec. 15, 2005 -- in hopes of further shoring up his alibi, in addition to providing a witness for his planned discovery of Dirksmeyer's body.
James asked Janice Jones if she asked permission for her son to attend the party prior to the day of the event. But Jones said that wasn't something she would have been likely to seek.
"There was nothing that would cause me to feel that it would not be OK," she testified.
Whiteside also indicated he knew about the party in the days preceding the murder -- a statement James suggested was part of Whiteside's desire to "help (his) friend."
Janice Jones was similarly motivated, James implied.
"If your son killed Nona and you had to choose between dead Nona and your son, who would you choose?" he asked.
Janice Jones called the question unanswerable, but the victim's mother, Carol Dipert, was able to offer a definitive "no" to a similarly pointed question James asked her later in the afternoon.
"You want an ending to this, don't you?" he asked, gesticulating from behind a dark-stained podium. "But you certainly wouldn't want a man who was innocent to be convicted, would you?"
Across the room, Dunn sat, silent.
Testimony resumes at 8:30 a.m. today, with the trial, originally scheduled for two weeks, expected to continue into a third Monday.


May 06, 2010, 08:02:37 AM Last Edit: May 06, 2010, 11:18:48 AM by Heidi
Beauty Queen Murder Mistrial; No Justice Yet for Nona Dirksmeyer

Are y'all making progress?"

That question from Judge William Pearson, and the unequivocal "No, sir" response from the jury foreman, put an end to deliberations in the three-week capital murder trial of Gary Dunn, accused of murdering one-time Miss Arkansas contestant Nona Dirksmeyer.

The judge declared a mistrial on Saturday morning, the third day of deliberations, after the jury deadlocked.

Now the question is: will the State of Arkansas seek a retrial? Remember, Nona's boyfriend Kevin Jones was first accused of the brutal 2005 killing inside her Russellville, Arkansas apartment. He was found innocent in 2007 which led to a special prosecutor's appointment and a second investigation of the case. That's after traces of Dunn's DNA were found on the condom wrapper sitting on Nona's kitchen counter. But at the just-ended trial, the DNA evidence was disputed by a defense expert and there was little direct evidence tying Dunn to the crime.

Of course, jurors were not allowed to hear about Dunn's previous arrest record for other crimes so the State built its case largely on circumstantial evidence, suggesting that as Nona's neighbor, Dunn could easily have targeted her.

But a strong defense team of Bill James and Jeffrey Rosenzweig kept pointing back at Kevin Jones and raising for jurors the possibility that he, not Dunn, might in fact have been responsible for the crime.

In the end, jurors were said to be divided eight to four -- with only the four voting guilty. And the final bill for the State in this second prosecution could be well over $200,000. So that could be a factor in a decision about a third trial.

But in any event, if it does happen, a new trial for Gary Dunn is at least several months away. Until then, he'll remain in custody in Johnson County, Arkansas.
I´m not sure if there´s a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.

heidi salazar

Dunn Trial Is Scheduled For Jan. 10 At Clarksville

A second trial for Gary Dunn, charged with the murder of Nona Dirksmeyer of Russellville in 2005, will be held beginning Jan.10, 2011, announced special Prosecuting Attorney Jack McQuary. Dunn was previously tried in April on capital murder charges and a mistrial was declared by Johnson County Circuit Judge Bill Pearson.

If found guilty of capital murder, Dunn can be sentenced to life in prison without parole or to death. In the April trial, the state was seeking the death penalty.

At this point, the trial is scheduled to be held in Clarksville but can be moved if Dunn's attorneys request a change in venue. A possible location if a change of venue is granted is Charleston (Franklin County).

The January trial will be the third trial in the murder of Dirksmeyer. In 2007, an Ozark (Franklin County) jury found Kevin Jones not guilty of the charge.


Retrial set for man charged in Dirksmeyer death

Associated Press

January 10, 2011 10:14 AM ET

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. (AP) - The third trial in the 2005 death of Arkansas beauty queen Nona Dirksmeyer begins this week in Clarksville.

A jury deadlocked last spring in the capital murder trial for Gary Dunn, who lived in the same apartment complex in Russellville as Dirksmeyer. Dunn was arrested a year after the original suspect - Dirksmeyer's boyfriend, Kevin Jones - was acquitted in her death.

Dunn's attorneys are expected to again argue that their client is innocent and that Jones is the actual killer. Prosecutors have dismissed that theory, saying Dunn is linked to the crime scene by DNA found on a condom wrapper in Dirksmeyer's apartment.

Jury selection was set to begin at 9 a.m. Monday, but Circuit Judge Bill Pearson delayed it until Tuesday because of wintry weather.







Mistrial Declared in Gary Dunn Murder Trial

January 28, 2011
The second capital murder trial of Gary Dunn, accused of killing an Arkansas Tech University student in 2005, has been declared a mistrial.

The Johnson County jury told Circuit Judge Bill Pearson they were unable to agree on a verdict around 8 p.m. Friday. Dunn was on trial for the Dec. 15, 2005 death of Nona Dirksmeyer, 19.

He will be tried again at a later date, according to prosecutors. Dunn will be held in the Pope County Jail until then. A gag order has been issued in the case.

Jurors began deliberating the case Thursday afternoon before breaking for the evening. After 11 hours of deliberation Friday, Judge Pearson called the jury back around 6 p.m. He asked if they wanted to continue or resume on Monday. At the time the jury was split 9 to 3. The group decided to continue deliberations.

Before Dunn's second trial began, the prosecution decided it would not seek the death penalty.  Dunn's first capital murder trial in May 2010 for Dirksmeyer's death ended in mistrial when the jury couldn't reach a verdict.  The original suspect, Dirksmeyer's boyfriend Kevin Jones, was acquitted of her murder in 2007.

It's the second mistrial for Dunn after his first ended in a hung jury last April.


Jones found Dirksmeyer choked, beaten, and stabbed to death.  Police said it was not a random act.  Dirksmeyer lived off-campus in Russellville.  Police said the victim was beaten to death with a floor lamp.  Autopsy results indicated Dirksmeyer, a music major, died of multiple blunt force injuries.

Dirksmeyer was buried in late December.  On the day of her funeral, police also said they'd cleared all but one of the suspects.  No names were mentioned.  One month after the murder, the investigation was turned over to the Pope County prosecutor.

Three months had passed since Dirksmeyer's murder when police made an arrest.  The suspect was Jones, her boyfriend. Jones turned himself in to face a first-degree murder charge.  He was eventually released on a $250,000 bond. He was later acquitted in 2007. A special prosecutor was named to the case.  In August 2008, a new arrest was made.


After Jones was acquitted in for Dirksmeyer's murder in 2007, Gary Dunn was developed as a new suspect.  Dunn was Dirksmeyer's neighbor at the Inglewood apartments in Russellville.  A judge ruled the DNA evidence found on a condom wrapper at the scene was admissible.

Authorities said Dunn put himself at the apartment complex at the time of the murder.

Dunn requested a mental evaluation.  His lawyers said the mental exam would help determine whether their client was competent to be tried.  Also noted, the prosecutors would have access to what Dunn said to examiners.  Having the exam would also enable defense lawyers to better defend Dunn if there is a penalty phase to determine whether he should be executed or given life in prison.

Dunn pleaded not guilty.  His bond was set at $1,000,000.


During Dunn's second trial in January 2011, Dirksmeyer's mother took the stand, testifying about her daughter's sexual history and mental state.  She thought Dirksmeyer had committed suicide because of her history of depression and self-mutilation.

Also taking the stand was a jogger who was attacked by Dunn in 2002.  Kelly Jo McCormick, who resembles Dirksmeyer, said Dunn hit her in the head with a tree branch while she was on a jogging trail in Russellville.  McCormick said Dunn screamed, "I'm going to kill you."  McCormick got away from Dunn after receiving several injuries to her face.  Dr. Charles Kokes, the state medical examiner, said Dirksmeyer's body had the same type of blows.  Dunn was convicted of second-degree battery for the beating.

Dirksmeyer's stepfather and uncle also testified.  The defense questioned them about Dirksmeyer's boyfriend, Jones, and his behavior after the murder.

Dunn didn't take the stand in his own defense.

The defense spent at least one hour giving closing arguments, pointing the finger at Jones.  The defense used Jones' phone records and inconsistent timeline as evidence.  The defense also said no expert witness was able to testify beyond a shadow of a doubt that the DNA on the condom wrapper is in fact Dunn's, or that it had anything to do with the murder.  Blood and DNA experts say the DNA allegedly linking Dunn to the crime scene is partial and inconclusive.

The prosecution concluded its case saying it didn't need to prove why Dunn killed Dirksmeyer, only that he did.  Dunn has multiple explanations for his whereabouts during the time of Dirksmeyer's murder.  The prosecution, however, said DNA on a condom wrapper found at the scene ties Dunn to the crime.


Dunn said in court papers that another man murdered Dirksmeyer and used a television show to devise his method.  Dunn asked the judge if the jury could watch the show "Forensic Files" because it has "striking similarities" to how Jones acted around the time Dirksmeyer was killed.


Prosecutors acknowledged in opening statements that Russellville Police made mistakes when they investigated the case in 2005.

Prosecutors argued a condom wrapper found near the body had DNA matching Dunn's.  A genetics expert said the chance the DNA on the condom wrapper doesn't match Dunn's is 120 million to one.  Dunn's attorney argued the expert's theory was outdated.

The prosecution also argued there was "substantial evidence" showing Dirksmeyer was the victim of a sexual assault or an attempted assault, even though no semen was found on her body.  Defense attorneys said there was no evidence Dirksmeyer was sexually assaulted.

The defense said Jones is the real killer, saying he contaminated evidence using techniques he learned while watching crime shows.  Jones testified during the trial and said he climbed on top of his girlfriend to try and keep her body warm after finding it.

Dunn's estranged wife testified during the trial and said she saw him leaving Dirksmeyer's apartment two weeks before her death.  Dunn told police he didn't know Dirksmeyer.  His estranged wife also said Dunn asked her to lie about his alibi.  She also said her husband sexually abused her before they separated.

Prosecutors called Jones' best friend and mother to the stand.  Police say Jones was with the friend and mother when he found his girlfriend stabbed and beaten to death.  Dirksmeyer's mother and stepfather were also called to the stand.

Investigators said Dirksmeyer's killer appears to be left-handed.  State Police Investigator Bill Glover says Dunn is left-handed, after watching him sign a statement using his left hand.  A doctor said the cuts and stab marks on Dirksmeyer's neck and shoulder were likely inflicted by someone who was right-handed.

In the end, a jury didn't convict Dunn.  The foreman told Circuit Judge Bill Pearson they hadn't made any progress.  Judge Pearson asked the foreman which way the jury was leaning.  The foreman said, "Six, four, and two."

The judge declared a dead-locked jury.


Prosecutors called it a crime of passion and Dirksmeyer's boyfriend was named a suspect.

In the arrest affidavit, investigators compared statements Jones made to them and those from his cell phone records.  Jones told investigators he last saw Dirksmeyer at 12:30 a.m. when he left her apartment.  That was also the day she was murdered.  Jones called her at 1:30 a.m. when he went to bed.  The affidavit states he told officers he got a text message from Dirksmeyer around 9 a.m.  Jones said he didn't leave his house until 11:45 a.m., when he went to his parents' gas station.  In the probable cause statement, it says the person Jones told police he spoke with didn't actually see Jones until 1 p.m.  In the interview, Jones said he tried calling Dirksmeyer around 11 or 12 in the afternoon, but the phone rang and went straight to voicemail.  Phone records obtained by investigators show Jones didn't call at those times.  He didn't make a call until around 2 p.m.  After that time, authorities say he made several calls and sent a text message around 4:30 p.m. reading "U alive."

A forensic pathologist testified, saying a time of death couldn't be pinpointed because there is no science to establish it.  He did, however, say Dirksmeyer was tortured with the knife, punched in the face, and then hit with a floor lamp.

In the prosecution's closing statements, they said Jones answered a text message from Dirksmeyer, his girlfriend, and then went to her apartment and killed her.  The defense said Jones was too busy doing chores at his house to be at Dirksmeyer's apartment 25 minutes away.

The only thing linking Jones to the scene was a bloody palm print.  It's unknown whether the print was left during the murder or when Jones discovered the body.  A forensic scientist said it was made when Jones found the body because the print was somewhat wet, as described in a police report.

The prosecution played a 95 minute tape of Jones' first interview with police.  Jones was visibly shaken during the interview.  He usually cried when investigators left the room.

The defense grilled lead investigator Mark Frost, claiming the mass of police at the scene tampered with possible evidence.  Frost also admitted to taking a knife as evidence one day after the murder.  Frost also called the scene "staged."  Frost said a condom wrapper found at the scene was only tested for fingerprints, never for DNA.

The defense also said a male's fingernail was found in the carpet near Dirksmeyer's body, but wasn't tested.

Jurors also heard from state crime lab employees who tested evidence from the scene, including cell phones, clothes, and blood samples.

One of Dirksmeyer's neighbors testified saying she saw a male, who wasn't Jones, arguing and beating on her apartment door about one month before her death.

Jones was tried and acquitted of first-degree murder on July 19, 2007.  Jones started crying when the judge read the verdict.  Dirksmeyer's stepfather yelled, "You got away with it, Kevin!"  Prosecutors said they respected the jury's decision.,0,4993419,full.story


Judge sets Aug. 1 start of 3rd trial for Dunn in slaying of Ark. Tech student Nona Dirksmeyer

March 10, 2011
RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. -- A Pope County circuit judge has set an Aug. 1 date for the third trial of Gary Dunn on a charge of capital murder.

The Courier reported that Circuit Judge Bill Pearson set the trial date Wednesday.

The 31-year-old Dunn is accused in the beating death of 19-year-old Arkansas Tech student Nona Dirksmeyer on Dec. 15, 2005. Two previous trials of Dunn ended in mistrials after juries deadlocked on a verdict.

In both previous trials, defense lawyers claimed Dirksmeyer's boyfriend, Kevin Jones -- who was initially accused in the slaying, but acquitted in a 2007 trial -- could have carried out the murder.

Dirksmeyer was the reigning Miss Petit Jean Valley when she was found dead in her Russellville apartment.

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