What Happened to the Beauty Queen?Dateline NBC
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- 11 Mar 2021
In this Dateline classic, Nona Dirksmeyer, a young beauty queen, was planning a future with a boyfriend she adored. Then, she was brutally killed. The crime shakes her hometown and exposes someone with a secret past. Will the evidence add up to murder? Keith Morrison reports. Originally aired on NBC on February 22, 2013.
They were high school sweethearts. We both expected to spend the rest of our lives together. But when she was murdered, sympathy turned to suspicion his palm print was on the murder weapon. No question it was his. But the mystery was just beginning because the DNA was. Some other mail now as a town chooses upsides and families fight for justice. Startling new developments in a shocking murder when you've got something that was this bad. Somebody's got to pay. Somebody has to pay.
She was a lovely young woman at the heart of our story. A beauty queen, in fact.
So your first impression is probably locked in, it's very unlikely to change and certainly that's how it was in Russellville, Arkansas, a town where a first impression hardened like a patch of cement about her and also, for better or worse, about the young man accused of killing her, the boyfriend who found the body, the boyfriend who found the body.
First impressions die hard, including first impressions of murder. And years later, in this small southern town, we had to ask, can we ever change? Of course, that question is quite obvious now to Kevin Jones. But years ago, he didn't give a fig whom he impressed or didn't. All he knew was this. He was going places. He was from a good family, live near a wonderful city called Russellville and was well liked and was adored by one girl in particular.
His high school sweetheart known that Dirk Spier.
So she was kind of like a soulmate, I suppose. Yeah, she was closer to her than anybody else. He was going to marry her someday. She was, after all, about the prettiest girl in town. Local beauty pageant judges were wowed by her looks and poise that already crowned her as such.
But here's another truth. Her boyfriend came to realize beauty really isn't everything. No, no. I was a sometimes troubled girl given to bouts of emotional turmoil. Her mother, Carol, was grateful to Kevin for making her daughter happy.
Kevin was really interested in helping Nona get through some of these hard times she was having, and he seemed to be a really caring person.
He even brought Nona into his own family.
His mom, Janice, dad Hyrum treated her as one of their own.
She was not a girlfriend or whatever she was. She she was a family.
When it was time for Kevin to go off to college, he and knownas stayed in touch and in love through a wireless world of late night cell chats and texts and emoticons.
When he didn't respond promptly, wagger finger at him and she would send me text messages, said, you know, are you still alive? Sarcastically trying to get my attention.
Which is why he was so taken aback that day. A little more than a week before Christmas in 2005, it was December 15th. Nona uncharacteristically hadn't reached out to him or answered him since morning. At one point, he turned her old taunt back on her, texting you alive. Even then, she didn't respond. This was not like no, not four and a half years.
We had made a pattern and that's what we did every day. And if that patterns broken, it just kind of raised a red flag in my head. Why is she not responding? We worried. I was concerned.
Who knows why things work out the way they do on that particular night? Kevin was supposed to drive his mom, Janice, to a Christmas party. She remembers being in the car with him. And I said, well, you know, there's lots of reasons why she might not be answering your phone. You know, maybe her plans changed. But by now, Kevin could think of nothing else. He called his buddy Ryan, who delivered pizza near Nola's apartment, asked him to check on her, and Ryan called back with something eerie, knowing his car was in the lock.
Her house lights were on, but she wasn't answering the door. And I said, OK, well, I'm going to come over there. They pulled up the northern front door. Ryan is still there.
Kevin joined him run. And I knocked and knocked and rang the doorbell and nobody came. And we started to get a little frantic.
So the two men ran around the condo to notice back door. Kevin says he rushed up to the sliding glass door without taking a moment to look inside. So when I was grabbing the handle, Brian touched me and he said, Do you not see her? And I looked at him and he said, Dude, there she is. And she was laying on in her front room knowing it wasn't moving.
Kevin threw open the unlocked door and rushed inside. Ryan at one point led my mom in the front door. They called 911 one. Pretty soon after that night, I straddled her midsection. My knees were on the ground above her midsection.
He tried CPR, but she wasn't breathing and her eyes usually so luminous. There was no light. There was nothing at all.
And I talked to her and just pray that everything was going to be OK.
And until the EMTs got there soon, the department was overwhelmed by paramedics, police. It wasn't long before an officer took Kevin aside. Janice listened as her son's voice suddenly rose above the chaos. Then I heard him cry out for the how. Yeah, that's what it was. And then he asked them if she was dead and they affirmed, yes, she was the one who was gone.
Nothing Kevin could do about it. As he tried to absorb the enormity of what had happened. He heard the policeman actually. Could he come downtown, please? They had a few questions about what happened to Nelva. Did Kevin know what happened? Police seem to think so. What started as a few questions turned into an hours long interrogation.
Oh. When Dateline continues. In pictures now, the dark spire forever radiates promise and beauty, but there is something ugly that lives on to her death and the way she was so brutally taken, known as Mother Carol, knew it was bad the moment she arrived that night to see police at his apartment.
I tell him I wanted to see my baby. I said, you can't solve the crime scene tape and everything.
The police told Carol it was horribly obvious no one had been murdered, but they were on the case. They told her, in fact, they were already trying to break down, knownas last moments on earth.
When did you last spoke at one o'clock. There's no closure comes from the house phone questioning the man who may have known her best even at 5:00 recently. And Kevin Jones seemed eager to help the police figure out who killed his girlfriend. He readily agreed to go to the station that night to answer a few routine questions. What was going on? And she didn't answer. Well, maybe your phone is dead.
That is Kevin Koreen from what looked like disbelief to grief. The anger back again, a couple of questions and a few questions turned into many, did you have a key to the apartment and were pointed out that you heard no problems? I wouldn't I would never I would kill myself before.
I thought they would leave me alone in the room. They would ask me questions.
Oh, you know what? Maybe. After a while, the police told Kevin Chattier, you could go home. They had other people to talk to, young men known had been seeing while Kevin was away at college. But it wasn't long before the detectives determined the alibis for those other men checked out. And six days later, as he prepared to say goodbye to known at the funeral home, police asked him to come back to the police station. After about 20 minutes with the questions, they asked me if I take a polygraph test, would you say?
I said, sure, I would attach this up here.
So they strapped him up and ran through the innocuous questions.
And then did you cause of death and.
And then they went out to analyze it, came back and said what?
The man who gave it to me told me that he had not seen anybody fail the test, worsen his twenty eight or some odd years of giving lie detector test, given there's no doubt in my mind that you killed the murder of the beauty queen was very big news in Russellville.
And given the nature of the crime and the victims so young and pretty and vulnerable, the pressure to solve it from the public in the press was quite intense. So imagine how it was for the lead detective, Mark Frost, given that this was his very first homicide case, though, as he talked to Kevin Frost, sounded like a veteran who'd seen it all and was disgusted.
You did this until you did until you did wrong that you killed.
I'm telling you point blank. No, I'm telling you right here at this point, it wasn't really a questioning. It was a it was more of them yelling at me, telling me they knew that I did it.
And yet the police didn't arrest Kevin that night. Here's what they did. Instead, they told knownas mother that the young man she thought would be her son in law one day was, in fact, her daughter's killer.
The first thing that I was told was that he was a sociopath with a narcissistic personality disorder known that had been stabbed repeatedly around the neck and chest and bashed on the head.
The medical examiner said that was what killed the police told Carol that this had to have been a very personal attack, not something a stranger would have done, but Kevin could have. So now Carol had two shocks to absorb, I knew it, I knew in my heart it was someone that she knew she would never let anyone in the apartment that she didn't know. So now Kevin's horrifying discovery was subjected to a dark and troubling spin. Detective Mark Frost said that to him, the crime scene up there looked staged.
And a week later, there was a press conference at which the police told the Russellville public, don't worry, we know who committed this crime.
We didn't mention the suspect's name just then, but it wasn't long before everybody in Russellville knew perfectly well that it was Kevin Jones. This is what appeared in the Russellville Courier three months after known as murder, known as killer remains free. And Russellville Police Department has requested formal charges against one suspect. Ihram Jones is Kevin's father. They tried, convicted and sentenced Kevin within 90 days of the attack. If he was a stranger. Walking in a coffee shop in Roseville and he read that, what would you say?
It bothered Kevin's mother, Janice, something awful when bumper stickers Justice for Nona started cropping up.
After all, she loved Mona to the assumption that I formed and I think many people formed was that justice for No-Name meant convict, convict Kevin. Topping our news, police make an arrest in the murder of a 19 year old Arkansas beauty queen on March 31st, 2006. Not long after that courier article, police finally did announce the arrest of Kevin Jones for the murder of Nola Dirks Meyer. Whether or not Kevin was convicted in the court of public opinion was now apparently irrelevant.
He was about to stand trial, quite possibly be convicted where it really mattered, a court of law.
Coming up, a palm print in blood on the lamp used to kill Nona. Guess who's? No question it was his. No question it was his. But on another key piece of evidence, the DNA was some other mail when Dateline continues. A small southern city, a local beauty queen murdered her boyfriend accused of a crime. It was hard to be in Russellville in 2007 and not be steeped in the story of Nola Dirks, Maya and Kevin Jones.
This case probably had more statewide publicity than any criminal case in many, many years, perhaps ever in Arkansas.
Yet, of course, Kevin had a right to a fair trial, an impartial jury. His lawyers argued that would be impossible in a place like Russellville. So the venue was changed to the nearby city of Ozark.
The media spotlight is on a small northwest Arkansas town of Ozark as jury selection begins in a plea to the prosecutor.
The trial's location mattered little, but did matter was the evidence. And he believed there was enough of that to put Kevin Jones away for years. Jeff Phillips was the deputy prosecutor. We believed, and I believe that the morning of her death, Kevin Jones came in unexpectedly when the trial opened in 2007.
The prosecutor told the jury the reason for this crime was as old as the Bible itself. Jealous rage. Kevin Jones had walked into his lover's apartment that day in December of 2005 and found within it a cheating heart while they're discovered either a text message from another person and or a used condom wrapper on a counter.
And things escalated from there, escalated out of control.
And the prosecutor said, with Jones repeatedly stabbing Nona, then crushing her skull with a lamp base, left his palm print on the lips bulb. No question it was his. No question it was his. The defense didn't even make an issue that it was. He is. But it's what Kevin did next, said the prosecutor, that showed how calculating he could be.
Kevin left on his apartment, he said, with her dead on the floor, then waited through the afternoon until hours later when he could come back with his mother and friend to find known his body.
In my opinion, an intentional attempt to be to have someone else find her but him trying to make himself look innocent.
If that wasn't telling enough, the prosecutor said, surely this was. The police interview in which Kevin Jones hit his chair over and over. The prosecutor told the jury it was Kevin's capacity for violence in full view, sitting and listening to this, Kevin's father worried how easy it might be for jurors to convict his son. It was just a nightmare. Yet Kevin's parents never wavered in their belief that their son was just as innocent as he told the police.
He was even bet the family farm on it.
We put it up as collateral and used the money to buy their son the best defense they could, and he needed it. Kevin's lawyers knew their client had become the local poster boy for evil.
When you've got something that was this this serious, that is this bad, this this girl was brutally murdered. Somebody's got to pay. Somebody has to pay.
Somebody, but not Kevin, said attorney Michael Robbins, they sent the readout of that polygraph to an independent expert who reported that the question seemed designed to make sure Kevin failed and the rest of the state's evidence that the defense didn't wash either.
That bloody palm print on the light bulb of the lamp, the murder weapon. Attorney Bill Bristow agreed it was Kevin's print. And no wonder it was Kevin was frantically trying to save his girlfriend's life. So, of course, he could have touched the light bulb.
It is a totally innocent situation.
The blood got on the light bulb at the time the body was discovered when he's trying to revive or something.
Yes, the light bulb. The EMT said the lamp was within a foot of the body.
More disturbing, the evidence not collected by the police said the defense first time homicide detective Mark Frost and the other officers in the department mucked up the case royally. The only area that was fingerprinted was the area around the body that there was blood near the front door. There was blood on the Venetian blinds, empty condom wrapper, a short distance from the body. The police go upstairs to see if that's been flushed. Do not fingerprint the flush handle at the commode.
Don't DNA that, not DNA, anything up there. In fact, the defense did its own DNA testing on that condom wrapper. By the prosecution's account, it was a key piece of evidence, the thing that likely set Kevin off on his murderous rage. But think about it, said lead attorney Carrie Johnson. If Kevin actually saw the condom wrapper, he would have picked it up, would have left his own DNA on it. But we sent the prophylactic wrapper off to the lab and they found the DNA.
The DNA was some other male, someone else's DNA, not Kevin.
And probably said the defense, that condom was used by the killer, but who neither defense nor prosecution had an answer for that. The DNA didn't match anybody in the database. And Kevin's lawyers did have this, an alibi for their client. Kevin's grandmother told the court he couldn't kill Mona because he was with her miles away in the town of Dover around the time the states had known no died.
She is a genuine down to earth, very levelheaded person. She was an incredible witness on the stand.
But there was one compelling piece of evidence in the prosecution's case, said the defense, and they just wanted jurors to see more of it.
That police video of Kevin surfing, why the defense jurors watched all of it.
They were betting it would convince jurors they should change. What may have been that first impression. I decide Kevin wasn't the killer the prosecutors have painted, but a grief stricken young man who was innocent. So what to believe in the courthouse, the jury wrestled with its verdict 50 miles down the road in Russellville. The town cried for justice. Is that murder conviction? So Piers said matches that and he said, well, it matches Gary Dunn, who was Gary Dunn and what, if anything, did he have to do with Nowness murder when Dateline continues?
Gavin Jones sat in the courtroom, watched the fight for his life, swirl around him and felt in that uncomfortable chair the withering stares of the jury, they can all look at you.
And if you do one thing wrong that they deem is wrong, that might sway them the opposite way. One facial expression, one click of a pen and one bite off of your fingernail. You never know how people are going to take things that you do.
You had every reason to worry. Later, the jurors would recall how the images of this crime haunted them blood all over him in the pictures, the palm print in her blood. But to the jurors, the evidence or the lack of it looked bad for police to break the glass door.
For example, where the perpetrator went out, was not fingerprinted and sat around the kitchen floor, would have been excellent for footprints. He obviously walked across there. No no prints were taken.
They said that kind of sloppiness made them wonder what else did the police miss? What other suspects?
The police claimed that they had checked the alibis of all these potential suspects as well as they gathered evidence.
But what really stuck with him was Kevin sitting in the police interrogation room, looking to them genuinely distraught.
I felt bad inside that I was watching him in this little cubicle of a room.
On balance, they agreed the evidence pointed more to innocence than guilt. After eight hours, they had their verdict not guilty. Kevin was free, enormously relieved, of course, but also furious at Detective Mark Frost and the Russellville police.
It frustrates me that angers me that the police didn't care enough to do their jobs the right way. And it frustrates me that they didn't find the person who did this.
But knownas mother, Carol believed her daughter's old boyfriend had quite possibly just gotten away with murder.
If you think somebody else did it, why aren't you out there trying to find out now who could begrudge a grieving mother's bitter challenge? Certainly not the Jones family on the day Kevin was acquitted. They stood on the steps of the courthouse and vowed they would do what it took to find knownas killer Kevin's father, Hyrum, financially wiped out by the cost of all this.
Asked his son's legal team for one more favor.
I said, this is what I've got. Don't know how much. And they don't know how I can pay you, but I need this.
The lawyers agreed to help. They asked an investigator to keep working on the case. His name is Todd Steffy. He is a part time policeman in Kevin's hometown of Dover, just outside of Russellville. Part time detective. Full time preacher. What an odd combination.
Oh, I used to say it's the ultimate good guy and right away Stephy knew there was a key piece of evidence that demanded a closer look at that condom wrapper found in his apartment. It helped somebody DNA, but whose staff wondered if police cleared those male friends and neighbors have known it too quickly in the early days of the investigation.
Do they have a valid alibi? Because either I'm missing something or, you know, and so I begin to feel like that some of those people may be needed to have their DNA compared.
So Kevin's legal team rolled up its sleeves and slacks and went diving through trash belonging to those young men. And they got some DNA samples, but none match the DNA on the condom wrapper. Stephy, the policeman preacher, needed a lead that you could say he needed a miracle. And wouldn't you know, he got it came in the most mundane way two months after Kevin's acquittal and more than a year after knownas death, stuffies police chief told him to question a suspect in a recent burglary, a man by the name of Gary Dunn.
Stevie's eyes widened at that, my chief looked at me and I said, do you know who he is? And he said, yes, he was one of the neighbors, too, to know the Turks.
Lawyer Gary Dunn, a neighbor of knownas.
He was among that handful of men have been questioned and cleared by police.
Stephy knew that Dunn certainly would have had the opportunity to kill his bedroom window, looked directly across a small parking lot at knownas bedroom window. Now, Steffy had to get that man's DNA.
How did you do that? I asked him for it and he said yes. Basically, I just asked him if he would be willing to give me his fingerprints and a DNA sample. If I can rule them out, then we're done.
But there was a problem to get that sample tested stuff. He needed the cash strapped Jones family to pay for it. At first, Kevin's mother hesitated.
The test would cost about 600 dollars, but the investigator insisted. What did she say?
Eventually, she just kind of said something like, oh, shucks, it's just money.
So she paid for it. And what a good investment it turned out to be because weeks later, Staffy got a call from one of Kevin's lawyers.
The DNA tests were back. And wouldn't you know, I said it matches done it.
He said, well, it matches Gary, done the results strongly, suggested the DNA on that condom wrapper was left by knownas neighbor Gary Dunn. Now, Stephy needed to check out Dunn's alibi for the day no one was killed. Dunn had told police he was out shopping with his mother around the time of the murder, December 15th. That was his alibi. So Steph went looking for copies of receipts from those stores to back up the alibi.
This was one of the places we had to check out and his alibi and the store had boxes and boxes of records of receipts. It was the old fashioned sign, the slip kind of receipt.
He's not getting boxes going back years. Staffy routed through piles of forgotten paper.
How many boxes you go through? I have no idea. I don't remember hours and hours. I think I have tried to forget that.
And just when Stephy thought it was all wasted effort, he pulled down a scrap to find it.
I found it. I found it there.
It was a receipt that showed Gary and his mom were out shopping. All right. On December 13th, not the fifteenth, when they said they were when Nona was murdered. Wasn't the same day at all.
No. In fact, none of the receipts from the stores were done that his mother said they were shopping, gave him an alibi for the time Nona was killed by police. And the prosecutor didn't mention that Kevin's trial. But now a new prosecutor was on the case and he found the DNA results on faulty alibi compelling. And one year after Kevin's acquittal, Gary Dunn was charged with murder. Many people in Russellville struggled to know what to think. Their first impression was a Kevin Jones murdered, known as Dirk Smart, that they believe this latest arrestee was the real killer of the state of Arkansas.
Prove it. Coming up.
Gary Dunn was the one on trial. So why did it seem as if Kevin Jones was as well for saying you get hit with is your son is on trial again, even though he's not on trial again when Dateline continues? Kevin Jones's parents had won and lost, they had won freedom for their son Kevin, but had lost a young woman they considered a daughter, they wanted justice so badly. I know that they spent their last dime to find her killer.
And they believe their sacrifice finally paid off when police arrested her neighbor, Gary Dunn, for her murder.
I believe he committed this crime, but that's my belief based upon what I saw when these child. Dunn's trial opened in April 2010, Hiram Jones listened as the state which had already tried his son now argued that Dunn was a sexually violent man who'd been stalking the young beauty queen whose bedroom window he could see across the parking lot.
His own wife testified he was violent in bed with her and that weeks before knownas death, she caught him hanging around knownas front door in the middle of the night.
So said the prosecutor, the jury could be sure Dunn killed Nona after entering her apartment with the intent of forcing a sexual encounter and the condom wrapper proved it.
This condom wrapper that was found that had the DNA on it, that did not have Kevin's DNA on it, that had his DNA on it.
So DNA evidence, a disturbing background, an alibi that turned out to be no alibi at all.
It was hard to see how Dunn's public defenders, Bill James and Jeff Rosensweig, could argue against their client's lies of DNA. But that's exactly what they did. And with gusto. What you're saying is the state was simply wrong. The state was simply wrong. What's more, they told jurors they could prove it. For starters, they said the state wasn't being honest about the DNA on that condom.
Remember, it was only a mixed partial match to Garrett Dunn, they said, which meant any thousands, millions, billions of people are also not excluded.
Let me ask you then, is what you're saying. Gary Dunn didn't touch that condom wrapper? That's what we're saying.
Never get anywhere near that.
Well, he was across the parking lot in his apartment minding his own business when no one was murdered.
It's true, the defense that Dunn was not out shopping as he first claimed to police it simply got his days mixed up was, after all, two weeks after the crime, when detectives asked for a detailed alibi, had some receipts, they found receipts.
They gave it to the police department, SEPTA. It wasn't for that day. Well, he cooperated in full.
He gave them what they asked him to do.
The defense told jurors it wasn't Gary Dunn's alibi. They should question anyway. If anything, the lawyer said they should take a look at someone else for knownas murder. Her old boyfriend. And at that moment, Hiram Jones realized with dread just where this trial was heading. First thing you get hit with is, is your son is on trial again, even though he's not on trial, he is to the part of the defense that they use.
All right. He was Dunn's attorneys tried to persuade the jury that Kevin Jones, the first suspect in the case, had one shaky story after another, the 911 call where Kevin's mother is crying.
The defense said Janice Jones and Kevin's friend gave police conflicting details of how they came upon Nola's body and what they were doing to save her. It is a lie. They are lying. They're all three lying there, all boys lying. Kevin's lying. His absolutely. They lied about it. Absolutely. In fact, the defense attorneys tried to claim you couldn't keep up with the Joneses in all their lies. Even Kevin's grandmother, who said she was with Kevin in another town the morning of Notis death, couldn't be trusted.
Kevin's grandmother knows that Kevin murdered.
I mean, I don't know if they know what they know, but I know they're covering for him.
But the lawyer said Kevin Jones couldn't explain one thing away. That bloody palm print in his apartment, it was his and not Gary Dung's. Did it work? Yes, it did. After three days of deliberations, the jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked. The judge declared a mistrial, but the prosecutor wasn't giving up. He promptly refiled murder charges. And Gary Dunn's second trial began in 2011. Now, Gary Dunn being tried a second time after his first trial ended in a hung jury.
At this time, the judge allowed the prosecutor to reveal a very dark fact about Gary Dunn. He was a convicted felon before Nona was murdered. Jurors heard from a woman named Kelly Jo Fitzharris, who happened to have the grave misfortune of jogging past Gary Dunn on the wrong day in the wrong place in 2002. She'd been on a trail popular with runners, but it was isolated.
He saw a man sitting on a bench as she ran up the trail. Kelly Jo heard footsteps behind her, turned around, and the man had a huge stick, hit her over the head with it, knocked her down, hit her repeatedly.
And as he beat her, she realized the only way for her to escape was to wriggle free. And so she ran up the trail as fast as you possibly could, calling for help, pretending there was someone nearby. The police came a little later. They found Gary Dunn hiding in the water. They arrested him.
He spent 18 months in jail, then newly out on parole. He moved into knownas apartment complex, set up house directly across the parking lot. Months before knownas death, Dunn's lawyers admitted it was a blow to their defense. So we had to deal with it and make it, you know, not make it any worse, do no harm, or was it already done this time? Jurors knew the man sitting in the defendant's chair wasn't just a man prone to violence.
He was a convicted criminal. So what a town's first impression that Kevin Jones murdered the beauty queen finally be undone. Coming up, the verdict.
He didn't have no alibi, you know, and then that looked really bad. It looks really bad.
Will there be justice for Nona and her family?
I knew that they were waiting to see if there would be closure when Dateline continues.
This was the third time the state of Arkansas tried someone for the murder of Nola Dirks Meyer and the second time Gary Dunne stood accused. But when they started to deliberate, his jurors were thinking about second or third. They were thinking the first Kevin Jones, the first suspect in this case.
Were you any of you suspicious that maybe it was actually Kevin who did this? I believe the whole jury thought in the beginning that it was in high probability that it was Kevin because the defense had a really good job of getting us to believe it could be.
Kevin, once again, Dunn's defense had retried Kevin Jones for the murder of Nola Dirks Meyer. But the jurors eventually came to a sort of peace with that.
This is Gary's trial and we need to look at the evidence that's against her for him. And once they did, they were trouble on the witness stand. That jogger described just how brutally Don attacked her just as Mona had been attacked.
That was really a big factor in my thinking about whether he was guilty and guilty or innocent and tied in everything else, because that's what happened to all those things it showed.
Dunn was a brutal man who was also a convicted felon with no love, died. He even lied about where he'd been that day.
He don't have no alibi, you know, and then that looked really bad. It looked really bad. He also talked about the DNA on the condom wrapper found in his apartment.
Some believe the DNA probably did belong to Gary Dunn, but that made them wonder, do this guy was supposedly so careful to not leave no other DNA or no other fingerprints in this whole crime scene, then you think he would have been smart enough to take the condom wrapper with them?
So there was DNA evidence against Dunn. Interesting, if perhaps not proof, circumstantial evidence, which was compelling. They took a poll, guilty or not. Several polls, actually. And then on the last go round, they knew they were finished.
They went back to the courtroom and looked at, known as family coming up.
And being in front of her parents was the hardest thing for me. I was very sad. It made me very sad because I knew that they were waiting to see if there would be closure and we couldn't do it. We couldn't give them closure.
Once again, the case of Arkansas versus Gary Dunn ended in a hung jury. The more powerful reason for that, that first impression among many in Russellville that it was Kevin Jones who killed Nola Dirks Myer.
In the aftermath of the trial, Kevin headed back to court not for anything he did, but for the damage he said was done to him by police.
And they just looked at me and said, he's the one that did it.
Kevin Jones always believed the police zeroed in on him as the suspect in knownas death and never seriously considered anyone else.
You did this and until you did until you did wrong, that you killed Kevin Sude, Mark Frost, the detective who built the case against him and others, too, for withholding evidence. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit because the statute of limitations had passed through his lawyer. Frost denied making mistakes and withholding evidence. And neither the Russellville Police Department or the prosecutor would comment on the investigation. Meanwhile, Kevin is gone. He married and started helping other people.
Correct, poisonous first impressions. For reasons you may understand, he became a criminal defense attorney and get this decided to practice law in, of all places, Russellville, the last time we spoke, Kevin told us he's made peace with the one person whose opinion really does matter to him, Nona's mother. She no longer believes Kevin killed her daughter. In fact, she says she loves Kevin. As for the others who are more cynical, he tries not to dwell on what they think or whisper about him and the girl he once loved.
Donna Dark, Maya, the songbird, the beauty queen, and the girl for whom justice is denied.
In twenty eighteen, Gary Dunn found himself in handcuffs again after two incidents that occurred on the same night, both unrelated to known addicts.
Myra Dunn pleaded no contest to attempted kidnapping and indecent exposure. He was sentenced to 15 years. Barring new evidence, the state does not plan to file charges against him for a third time in the Nola Dirks fire killing.
That's all for now. I'm Lester Holt. Thanks for joining us.