FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Jason Ross Dunigan, 39, of Farmington, has been arrested and is facing capital murder charges in connection with the death of his wife, Amber Dunigan.
Dunigan was booked into Washington County Jail on February 19 and released on a $250,000 bond.
Prosecutors submitted an information sheet to the Fourth Judicial District Court on February 17, outlining the felony information of the case. The filing specifically alleges that “the defendant shot his wife in the head” and that he did so “with the premeditated and deliberated purpose of causing the death of another person.”
The document was signed by Matthew Durrett, prosecuting attorney for the district.
The following day, the court issued an arrest warrant for one count of Capital Murder, a class Y felony.
According to court documents, on May 28, 2021, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call in reference to a dead woman found inside a car on State Highway 16 west of Fayetteville. Arkansas State Police Trooper Jeff Richardson reported to the scene and upon arrival, he made contact with the suspect, who later identified the woman as his wife.
The suspect stated that “he had met the victim at that spot earlier in the evening,” according to a report. He added that he met her there because he was having mechanical issues with his car.
Dunigan told investigators that after meeting, he left his wife there and drove back to their home in Farmington. He later “became concerned” when she didn’t arrive home, and he said that he made multiple calls but was unable to contact her.
Dunigan then reportedly called his parents and drove with them back out to where his wife’s body was found. He told investigators that he found her dead in her car there.
Investigators processed the scene and discovered that the victim had suffered a gunshot wound to the head. They also found “cash and other valuables” inside the vehicle, leading them to believe that the killing was not part of a robbery
Investigators also found a small piece of neon green fabric by the woman’s head wound and the material “appeared to be very similar to the fabric used on the suspect’s work shirts.” According to a police report, this led investigators to believe that “one of the suspect’s work shirts had been used to muffle the sound of a gunshot.”
The fabric was seized for analysis and sent to the FBI Laboratory along with one of the suspect’s work shirts so that the two could be compared.
Dunigan was interviewed the next morning by a pair of agents. He reported that he had left work the night before and went looking for property to purchase in western Washington County from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. He said that was when his car trouble began and he decided to head home.
He then called his roommate and asked her to call his wife, stating that his phone was about to die. He asked the roommate to tell his wife that he was having car trouble, since he was on his wife’s route home.
He then said that the victim arrived at his location around 8:00 p.m., approximately 20 minutes after he arrived there and parked. He said that he spoke briefly with her near her driver’s side window, then restarted his vehicle and drove home.
In a subsequent interview later that morning, Dunigan could not describe where he had been looking for property or what property he intended to look at.
Investigators also interviewed the suspect and victim’s roommate, who lived at the residence and took care of the Durnigan’s children. She confirmed that the suspect called and asked her to call the victim. She said that later, the suspect arrived home and ate dinner.
When the victim did not show up at the residence, the roommate stated that she and the suspect both began calling but couldn’t reach her. She said at that point, the suspect called his father and left to try to find the victim.
Investigators later also interviewed another witness who had spoken with the suspect and reported that Dunigan was complaining that the victim’s place of business would not release the victim’s life insurance to him. He also told her that he was “the number one suspect,” but that it would come out later that the victim had actually been killed by a hunter in the area.
During the course of the investigation, it was revealed that Amber Dunigan possessed a life insurance policy worth $300,000 with the suspect and her son listed as beneficiaries.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for Dunigan’s residence. They found several firearms there, along with a “Night Owl” surveillance system. The hard drive for that system was seized and analyzed.
Complete footage of the residence from the days before and after the victim was found dead was discovered on the drive, with the exception of the portion of time between 6:22 p.m. and 8:26 p.m. on the evening of the victim’s death.
Investigators also obtained a search warrant for the vehicle the suspect was driving that night and removed the car’s “Infotainment Center” to analyze it. This showed that the vehicle was parked near the Lake Wedington boat ramp at 7:00 p.m., which is just east of where the victim was found.
The data showed that, at 7:07 p.m., the vehicle moved to the spot where the victim was found and remained there until 7:57 p.m. According to investigators, this information contradicted both the suspect’s statement of what time he was looking for property, as well as the amount of time he spent waiting for the victim.
The infotainment system showed that he then traveled on Bethel Blacktop, toward Highway 62. His speed during the trip to his home exceeded 70 MPH for long intervals, and he reached a top speed of 88 MPH.
The data showed multiple functions within the vehicle during the time from before the victim arrived until when the suspect arrived at his home at 8:25 p.m., one minute before the surveillance footage resumed.
Several weeks later, investigators conducted a follow-up interview with the suspect’s roommate. She disclosed that she and the suspect “were in a sexual relationship,” and that it “had been going on for some time.” She added that the victim was aware of it.
She also said that when the suspect returned home that evening, he handed her his phone, asked her to plug it in, and “then immediately went and washed his hands.”
On September 17, 2021, FBI Special Agent Bailey received a report from the FBI Lab. According to the Trace Evidence Unit, the fibers recovered from the victim’s head wound were “consistent with having originated from the defendant’s work shirt.”
Dunigan has a courtroom appearance scheduled for February 23.
This story has been updated with additional details from court documents.