LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- It's a case that rocked Russellville and threw it into the national spotlight. An Arkansas tech student murdered in her own apartment. Her boyfriend under suspicion and charged, tried by a jury and eventually acquitted.
In a THV exclusive, Kevin Jones (photo gallery) shows me where he lives, what he's doing and allows a glimpse of his personal life. Plus, why he's filed a $10 million lawsuit against police. (PDF)
An afternoon stroll. A quiet moment. Simple things, Kevin Jones doesn't take for granted.
"This is what's important with our life, spending time with loved ones and cherishing moments," says Jones.
And this moment is one many have never seen. Most remember Kevin Jones walking in and out of a courtroom.
"There was a 10,000 pound rock on my back," he recalls.
Accused of murder.
"There are a million things going through your head, none of it good," says Jones.
Charged in the 2005 killing of his then-girlfriend Nona Dirksmeyer.
Jones says, "Who wants to be in jail for the rest of their life, that'd be terrible, for something you didn't do."
But this is Kevin Jones today. He's newly married, living in Little Rock and enrolled in law school.
Jones says, "Everything I went through I decided that one day I wanted to be able to help someone."
For Jones, life is still full of stress, but this he welcomes. His focus is criminal defense. Studying up to 5 hours a day at the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law for a career that will take him back into the courtroom.
Jones says, "There is some anxiety walking back into or being in a courtroom talking about legal issues because before this the only legal issues I ever faced was am I going to go to jail or not."
As for being recognized on campus, Jones says not so much here unlike the U of A at Fort Smith where he met his wife, Katie.
"I was kind of nervous," says Katie.
She's from Oklahoma.
Katie recalls, "There were like oh that guy, Kevin Jones is in our class you know who he is right? And I was like no, what are you talking about? Oh, with Miss Arkansas and all that? I was like what are you talking about and they said he killed Miss Arkansas."
But the two got to know each other both majoring in Psychology. And after two years of dating they married last July.
"He's just a normal regular great guy," says Katie.
And for the first time, he's speaking out about a $10 million dollar civil lawsuit.
Jones says, "I stayed mad about a lot of things for a long time, but the best way to deal with something like this, is just as odd as it sounds, get even."
The key players, Russellville's former police chief James Bacon, Detective and lead investigator Mark Frost and Gary Dunn, the second man tried for Dirksmeyer's murder, but released after two mistrials. The suit alleges, withholding evidence, conspiracy and allowing pride and ego to implicate Jones.
Now his lawyer, Chuck Gibson is giving Today's THV exclusive access to investigative notes they recently obtained that Gibson says proves Jones was railroaded.
"Kevin would have never been charged, says Gibson. Mr. Frost hid the notes and I know that he had them. I don't believe the prosecutor ever had them because the defense attorneys didn't have them."
And it's all based on the timeline in the notes. On December 22, Russellville Police announced to the media they had a suspect. Back then, Police Chief Bacon said, "Through these interviews we have conclusively cleared all but one of these people."
But according to a report Dunn didn't come to police to give his alibi until the 29. He told them he went shopping with his mother on December 15, the day of the murder. But the investigator's notes showed their purchases cleared the bank on the 13th and 14th.
"Those notes prove that the state, through the police, knew that Gary Dunn lied about his alibi," says Gibson.
"They just continued to go after me with no evidence whatsoever," says Jones.
The ordeal Jones says has taken a toll on his family emotionally and financially to the tune of at least half a million dollars.
"My parents sold their house that was paid for, they sold all their land, my grandma had to sell a good portion of her farm," says Jones.
As for making amends with Dirksmeyer's parents, "Carol and Duane have both reconciled with me. Duane said put it in the past and I said the same to him," says Jones.
So now he's just doing his best to move forward.
"I have friends like everybody else. I have family like everybody else and I'm trying now just to go about my life and not be secretive. But we are just normal everyday people, if there is a definition for normal."
As for the lawsuit, Former Russellville Police Chief James Bacon and Detective Mark Frost have filed a motion to dismiss arguing Jones received a fair trial. They also argue that even if Jones' constitutional rights were violated, they should be immune from a civil lawsuit because they're government officials.
Today's THV did make calls to both of them. Both declined an interview. Bacon told our Liz Massey that it's not that he doesn't want to comment, he's been advised by his lawyer not to since it's pending.
Frost's attorney meanwhile emailed a statement "My client has no comment about this frivolous and absurd lawsuit."
As for Gary Dunn, Jones' lawyer says he doesn't know where he is and hasn't been served yet.