The jury in the Gary Dunn murder trial could not come to a unanimous decision on whether they think he is guilty or innocent. At noon Saturday May 1, Johnson County Judge Bill Pearson declared a mistrial.
During closing arguments, the defense made it sound more like murder victim, Nona Dirksmeyer's boyfriend Kevin Jones was back on trial. They reminded the jury it was Jones' bloody palm print on the lamp found near Dirksmeyers body.
Prosecutors countered expert testimony that the person who beat and stabbed Dirksmeyer is right handed, saying that it doesn't clear Dunn who is left handed. They stated he could have held her down with his dominant hand.
The condom wrapper found in Dirksmeyer's Russellville apartment has been an important part of the investigation, but the State Crime Lab testified they didn't find any DNA evidence linked either man to more than a dozen items.
After two-days of deliberation the defense asked for a mistrial, but it wasn't granted. Judge Pearson instructed jurors saying it's in the defendants and states best interest to continue and come to a conclusion.
On day three of deliberation, Judge Pearson declared a mistrial because jurors couldn't reach a unanimous decision. Judge Pearson explained a new trial will be scheduled and the gag order is still in place for all parties involved in the case.
Until then, 30-year-old Gary Dunn will remain behind bars. He can not post bail because of the capital murder charge.
Dunn lived upstairs from Dirksmeyer who was found dead in her apartment in 2005. In 2007, her boyfriend Kevin Jones was tried for her murder, but acquitted.
It was the night on December 15th, 2005, Inglewood apartments in Russellville where it all began. Where Arkansas Tech student Nona Dirksmeyer lived and where she died.
December 2005, Chief James Bacon with the Russellville Police Department said, "At the scene paramedics discovered the nude body of Nona Dirksmeyer." Police say she died of blunt force trauma to the head. Those who knew her couldn't believe it. "She was very friendly in class and everything, she was just sweet, talked to everybody," classmate Ashley Neal told us, December 2005.
Three months later Dirksmeyer's boyfriend, Kevin Jones was arrested for her murder.
March 2006, Dirksmeyers parents said, "He was the last person we suspected of doing something like this."
Dirksmeyer's parents, Carol and Duane Dipert were at the trial. On July 19th, 2007 a not guilty verdict was read in a packed court house.
"I want to thank the jury," Jones says after being acquitted.
Defense lawyer Bill Bristow knows why his client was cleared, "The defense found evidence that was not found by the Arkansas crime lab that detected male DNA on a condom wrapper near the body. We also found some (DNA) four inches from her head, a finger nail with male DNA not belonging to Kevin."
A year after Jones' acquittal, a break in the case, Gary Dunn, 28, is arrested and charged with capital murder in the death of former beauty queen Nona Dirksmeyer.