Gary Dunn Murder Trial: State Crime Lab scientist last witness called for Thursday in Nona Dirksmeyer case

    10:40 PM, Apr 22, 2010   |    comments
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    Ryan Whiteside, a friend of Kevin Jones, broke into tears earlier Thursday as defense attorneys played the 911 call from when the beauty queen's body was found in her Russellville apartment.

    Whiteside testified Thursday that he thought Dirksmeyer had hurt herself in a freak accident by tripping over a lamp cord and hitting her head on a table. Instead, police say, she was brutally beaten to death with the base of the floor lamp.

    Dirksmeyer neighbor, 30-year-old Gary Dunn, is on trial for her 2005 murder.

    Defense attorney Bill James pointed out inconsistencies between Whiteside's testimony and statements he gave to police. He suggested Whiteside wasn't telling the truth in order to protect his friend, Kevin Jones, who was acquitted of Dirksmeyer's murder in 2007.

    After Whiteside's testimony, Jones' mother Janice takes the stand. She tells the jury how she and her son, Kevin, found Nona's body in 2005. During her testimony she started crying, and the judge called for a lunch recess.

    After the recess, Janice took the stand once more and finished her testimony.

    Wednesday afternoon, Nona Dirksmeyer's stepfather, Duane Dipert, is taking the stand. He testifies that on the day Nona was killed, the police weren't able to tell him much, so he and Nona's mother Carol were getting all of their information from Jones.

    Dipert testifies that he asked Jones if Nona had been raped, and Jones replied "No," although the police investigation hadn't yet determined if she had been or not.

    Dipert also testified that when they heard Nona was dead, he feared suicide. He says at the time Nona died, she was on anti-depressants, and had a history of cutting herself. He says the fact she had an abusive childhood lead to her depression.

    At the time of Nona's death, Duane and Carol had only been married for a year.

    At 4:15 p.m., Duane Dipert finishes his testimony, and now Nona's mother Carol is on the stand. She testified in cross-examination, she said that Jones' and Nona's relationship had problems, but when pushed by the defense, she stopped short of calling it dysfunctional.

    The last witness called Thursday was an Arkansas State Crime Lab scientist. He testified about retrieving information from Nona's cell phone. His testimony focused on whether or not you can tell when a message was sent to a phone even if the battery had been taken out of the phone.

    The scientist testified Kevin sent a text to Nona's phone around 4 p.m. the day she died asking "Are you alive?". Jones told police at the time he sent the text because he hadn't heard from Nona in four hours, and he was worried about her.

    In all, the testimony Thursday was mainly focused on Kevin Jones' involvement in Nona's death. Testimony from all witnesses was about the man on trial, Gary Dunn, or his alleged involvement in Nona's death.

    Kevin Jones took the stand Wednesday, describing how he found Nona in her apartment, and apologized for contaminating the crime scene by straddling her and performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation

    In 2008, Today's THV talked with Kevin Jones and his mother Janice. Check out the story as well as the extended interviews with both.

    (Source: Today's THV and The Associated Press)

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