OZARK, AR - A jury has found Kevin Jones not guilty of first-degree murder for the slaying of Arkansas Tech student Nona Dirksmeyer.
Jurors deliberated for about three hours yesterday and resumed work this morning. They came back early this afternoon with their verdict.
The 21-year-old Jones was accused of killing the 19-year-old Dirksmeyer on December 15, 2005. Prosecutors focused on a bloody handprint that belong to Jones and was found on a lamp believed to have been the murder weapon.
The defense focused on how police conducted their investigation and on a prosecution timeline of events. The defense sought to show that Jones could not have been present at the time of the murder.
Dirksmeyer was the reigning Miss Petit Jean Valley.
Prosecutors said Dirksmeyer died from blows to the head but that her throat also had been cut.
Jones, his mother and a friend discovered the body. The defense said Jones left the handprint at that time.
The trial was moved from Russellville to Ozark due to pre-trial news coverage.
Police investigated the case for months, and Jones was not charged until March 2006.