Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dirksmeyer Developments UPDATED

The trial of Kevin Jones has been moved out of Pope County. You've heard that already. Here is a link to the Channel 7 story.

Of course, the "good" part concerns a Russellville Courier reporter who has been posting on a crime discussion board under an assumed name. That is a small ethical problem since such conversations are, by nature, advocating certain positions and theories. Too bad. The Courier is a fine paper. Perhaps this should be a "lesson learned." Here is a link to the discussion group.

UPDATE - The Russellville Courier account of the hearing has gone online. Warning: this report will not stay up long, so be sure to cut and paste.

Jonesboro attorney Bill Bristow, a Harvard graduate and one of the best trial lawyers in Arkansas, is on the Jones defense team. He is formidable. Bristow was the lead attorney for Steve Clark when he faced theft by deception charges and is generally credited with keeping Clark out of prison.

Highlights of the extensive story are below. Curiously, the story does not tell readers about the newspaper reporter called as a witness. One presumes that it is not Ms. Ginocchio.

Arguments heard in State v. Jones case

Cell phone, fingerprint evidence discussed
By Janie Ginocchio

Retired Pope County Circuit Judge John Patterson heard arguments on three defense motions Wednesday in prepartion for the trial of Kevin Jones, a Dover man charged in connection with the death of Nona Dirksmeyer.

Dirksmeyer was found slain in her apartment on Dec. 15, 2005. Jones’ trial is scheduled to begin July 9. Patterson was the presiding judge in the case until he retired Jan. 31. He was reassigned to the case after Circuit Judge James Kennedy recused.

After hearing testimony from seven witnesses regarding the defense’s motion for a change of venue, Patterson ordered the trial be moved to Ozark in Franklin County [see related story], then took up the other two motions.

Shades of O. J. and mishandled evidence.

During the hearing, both the defense and prosecution were shocked to realize a month before Jones was charged in Dirksmeyer’s death, the Russellville Police Department released to Dirksmeyer’s stepfather what the defense called a significant piece of evidence — her cell phone and SIM card, which was found at the crime scene.

Significant? You decide.

“The cell phone was handled and manipulated by the perpetrator,” defense attorney Kenneth Johnson from Monticello said at the hearing. He told the court the phone was found at the crime scene without the battery, and the battery has not been recovered. He also noted during the Arkansas State Crime Lab’s examination of the SIM card, authorities discovered several text messages to Dirksmeyer sent days before her death, but all of her responses had been deleted.

“There was a message on Dec. 9 [2005] sent by an individual who says, ‘I wonder why you’re leading me on,’” Johnson said. He said the same person sent 5 to 10 messages to Dirksmeyer in the days preceding her death.

Prosecutors and police will have their hands full. Stay tuned.

Actually, the stories will still be available in the "Archives" link even when new stories are updated. You should have received my e-mail, but there are actually two stories of the hearings. The other was written by the editor and does speak of Ginnochio, marginally, attempting a favorable light and not the embarassment it was. I sent you links for both stories.
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