No Verdict for Accused Beauty Queen Killer

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. -- Jurors deciding the fate of a man accused of killing a 19-year-old beauty queen failed to reach a verdict Saturday and the judge declared a mistrial.
Jurors deliberated eight hours Friday and another two and a quarter hours Saturday before telling the judge that they were deadlocked.

Gary Dunn was charged with capital murder for the Dec. 15, 2005, beating and slashing death of Nona Dirksmeyer of Russellville. Dunn was the second person tried for the killing. Dirksmeyer's boyfriend, Kevin Jones, was acquitted of capital murder in 2007.

The key piece of physical evidence in Dunn's trial was a condom wrapper that prosecutors said contained DNA evidence from Dunn, but defense lawyers noted that DNA from other people was found on the wrapper also.

Dunn's family members testified that Dunn was with relatives when Dirksmeyer was killed, and Dunn had told police he'd never been in Dirksmeyer's apartment. Dirksmeyer and Dunn lived in the same apartment complex, and Dunn's estranged wife testified she once caught Dunn leaving Dirksmeyer's apartment at 2 a.m.

Defense lawyers focused their efforts on blaming Jones, despite his acquittal.

Jurors didn't detail their deadlock. Circuit Judge Bill Pearson ordered reporters to not question them, and he kept a gag order in place that prohibits police, lawyers and witnesses -- including relatives and friends of Dunn and Dirksmeyer -- from talking about the case.