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story.lead_photo.caption Gary William Dunn, 39 - Photo by Pope County sheriff's office

Bail has been set at $100,000 for a 39-year-old man who was twice tried but never convicted in the 2005 beating death of beauty queen Nona Dirksmeyer after his arrest Tuesday on suspicion of attempted kidnapping.

"The case will be given to the prosectors office and other charges could be brought forward then," Russellville Police Department Capt. David Ewing said.

Officers with the Dardanelle Police Department stopped Dunn after local law enforcement sent out a description of a suspect vehicle, but Russelville Police ultimately took him into custody.

"We were aware of his previous history with the murder trials when we came to pick him up," Ewing said. "He was taken into custody without incident."

Ewing said Dunn made a statement to investigators, but he said he couldn't elaborate further because the case remains under investigation.

Sam Strasner, a spokesman for Arkansas Tech University, said the school's Department of Public Safety will continue to closely monitor the campus 24 hours a day through patrols, security cameras and additional means in order to provide for the continued safety of Arkansas Tech students, faculty, staff and guests.


A man who was twice tried but never convicted in the 2005 beating death of beauty queen Nona Dirksmeyer has been arrested in an attempted kidnapping case.

The Russellville Police Department said in a statement that officers arrested Gary Dunn, 39, in Dardanelle on Tuesday after he was developed as a suspect.

Officers said they responded about 7:40 p.m. to the parking lot of the First Baptist Church in the 200 block of South Denver Avenue to investigate a possible kidnapping attempt. When police arrived, the suspect had already left. The victim and witness provided a description of both the suspect and his vehicle, which were broadcast to surrounding agencies.

The victim, a 40-year-old woman, told officers a man approached her in the parking lot and attempted to force her into her vehicle. The victim said that she was able to break free, and the man then left the area by vehicle.

Police said officers were already investigating another incident that occurred on the campus of Arkansas Tech University a short time earlier. In that case, a female reported being approached by a man who asked her to step out of her vehicle. The female called 911, and the man left.

The suspect and the vehicle description were similar in both cases, police said.

Shortly after 9:30 p.m., authorities in Dardanelle stopped a vehicle matching the description of the one the suspect was seen in. The driver was identified as Dunn. He was booked into the Pope County jail, where he remained late Wednesday morning pending a bond hearing.

Officials with the Russellville Police Department confirmed that Dunn is the same person who was tried twice in the 2005 death of Dirksmeyer. Both trials ended with the jury unable to reach a consensus.

Dirksmeyer, a former beauty queen, was found beaten to death in her Russellville apartment in 2005.

Dunn was the second person to face charges in the death. Dirksmeyer's boyfriend, Kevin Jones, was acquitted of the crime in 2007.

Defense attorneys during Dunn's trials questioned DNA evidence said to link Dunn to the scene and argued throughout the trial that Jones was more likely the real killer.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, argued Dunn raped or tried to rape Dirksmeyer, his neighbor, before beating her to death.


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Archived Comments

  • AuntPetunia
    December 5, 2018 at 11:13 a.m.

    So glad those girls got away! Hope the DA throws the book at him and the jury "amplifies" the punishment to include Nona's death. If juries can nullify, then they should be able to amplify.

  • ZeebronZ
    December 5, 2018 at 11:45 a.m.

    Man, I hope they can make this one stick.

  • PopMom
    December 5, 2018 at 11:45 a.m.

    This dangerous predator needs to be put away for a long, long time.

  • MissK
    December 5, 2018 at 11:55 a.m.

    Please don't let him get away with this. He was dangerous in 2005 and got off for murdering and he is just as dangerous in 2018.

  • jiminyc56
    December 5, 2018 at 11:56 a.m.

    Once a loser always a loser.

  • MaxCady
    December 5, 2018 at 11:56 a.m.

    The circumstantial evidence in the Dirksmeyer case against him was overwhelming. He should have been in the penitentiary. That's what happens when you get 12 people who weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty to make those type decisions.

  • obbie
    December 5, 2018 at 12:08 p.m.

    Crime really doesn't pay. At last, at last.

  • Murphy01
    December 5, 2018 at 1:01 p.m.

    This piece of trash needs to be put down.

  • joedog
    December 5, 2018 at 1:04 p.m.

    Max is right. When people don’t accept jury service as a civic obligation, because they are too busy, those with nothing to do will be deciding whether the Dunn goes free to continue attacking women.

  • John2001
    December 5, 2018 at 3:35 p.m.

    Also, have there been other victims between all these years