Gary Dunn murder trial jurors speak out

    3:40 AM, Feb 16, 2011   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Russellville, Arkansas. A town that knows little violent crime, but that would all change the morning of December 15, 2005.

    Arkansas Tech student Nona Dirksmeyer found naked and beaten to death in her own home.

    The investigation would take several wrong turns and lead to a saga her family fears will never end. Tonight -- for the first time on television -- jury members of suspect Gary Dunn's trial speak out.

    Three of the twelve jurors who held Dunn's life in their hands just three weeks ago. Their theories on what happened so different, but there final conclusion - exactly the same.
    A team of 12 strangers from all walks of life, tasked with finding justice for a 19-year-old girl murdered in her Russellville apartment.

    "We want to find her killer. We would do anything to find who really killed her," says jury foreman Steven Jacobs.

    The suspect Dunn has been in jail since his arrest in 2008 for the beating death of his neighbor, Dirksmeyer.
    But the first 10 days of the prosecution's case focused on clearing another man, Kevin Jones - Dirksmeyer's boyfriend, the first man tried and acquitted for her murder.

    "I got so sick of hearing Kevin Jones' name, when was Gary Dunn gonna come into the picture of this whole deal? So to me the prosecution failed when they opened their mouth," says juror Margie Gordon.

    Their key evidence is an empty condom wrapper found in Dirksmyer's kitchen which yielded a partial DNA profile that matched Dunn.

    "And there was another male's on it as well as Nona's. There was a possibility that there could have been another guy that partially matched Gary Dunn's DNA," says juror Mary Kesterson.
    New in this second trial -- Dunn's victim from a past crime, a jogger beaten in a park in 2002.

    Dunn was convicted and prosecutors hoped her testimony -- along with his ex-wife's -- would help show his violent tendencies.

    With so little evidence, the defense also focused on Kevin Jones.
    "They were trying to raise some doubt you know because maybe it wasn't Gary maybe it was Kevin even though a jury found him innocent. And it worked," says Jacobs.

    After three weeks of testimony, and a gag order, the jurors were ready to debate this case.

    "We went over everyone's testimony, looked at all the evidence, all the pictures and they were horrific pictures, horrible. And then we just discussed and talked and tried to work it all out and come to a decision," says Kesterson.

    "It got pretty frustrating towards the end because we all had been praying through the whole process and we were all torn apart about it all really and it was the most traumatic thing I had ever been through in my life," says Jacobs.

    They voted three times, and each time, no unanimous decision.
    After 14 hours, the final vote was eight to four to acquit so yet another mistrial was declared January 28, 2011. The first mistrial was declared as well in May 2010.

    "It wasn't the majority's job to go over there and beat the others into submission. That's not what it's about," says Jacobs.
    Instead, they say, it's about lives changed forever.

    Five years.
    Two men.
    Three trials.
    No conviction.
    And they doubt there ever will be.

    "You still got to go back to the same evidence you've already collected from day one which is nothing," says Gordon.

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