|Updated: 1/13/2011 5:45 pm
||Published: 1/12/2011 10:33 pm
Prosecutors are now calling witnesses in the third murder trial of Nona Dirksmeyer. It's the second time for Gary Dunn, 30, to stand trial for killing the Arkansas Tech student back in 2005.
In opening statements today prosecutors spent half an hour telling a jury of eight women and four men that DNA evidence found in Nona Dirksmeyer's Russellville apartment indicates Gary Dunn was there when she was murdered.
Prosecutors say they even plan to call a female witness Dunn was convicted of attacking in 2002 in a park.
Dunn's last trial eight months ago ended in a hung jury mistrial. Now Clarksville gets his second trial too.
Just across the square from the courthouse, there are lunch customers with opinions on Dunn’s guilt or innocence.
"I think he’s innocent," one customer told us. "Knowing people from Pope County and hearing what our friends in Pope County had to say, he didn’t do it.”
Hannah McClain went to Arkansas Tech at the time of the murder and says she kept up with the case until recently and did not know the retrial began Thursday.
“When they had a 60 minutes thing on it I watched that because it was really interesting," McClain says. "Especially at Tech it was a big deal. I remember, I know it's been a while since she went there, but I know people especially after it happened, everyone talked about it, it was kind of a big deal in Russellville for sure."
In the opening statement from the defense jurors heard that the DNA evidence against Dunn is bogus and that he didn't kill Dirksmeyer, her boyfriend Kevin Jones did.
Jones was acquitted by a jury in Ozark in 2007 and can't be retried. Prosecutors now say Jones is completely innocent and that this trial is about Gary Dunn.
The courtroom is the same, a lot of the evidence is the same but one thing that has changed for this second trial. The death penalty is now off the table. The trial is expected to last two weeks.
The prosecution says they anticipate calling Jones to the stand on Friday.
Just before opening statements a female juror was dismissed from the jury after she told the judge she suddenly remembered a friend had sat on the last Gary Dunn trial and believed he was guilty. The juror maintained she had not made up her mind, but the judge dismissed her anyway.