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Day 2 of jury selection underway for Michelle Martinko's murder case

Published: Feb. 11, 2020 at 10:29 AM CST
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The second day of jury selection is underway in the trial for the man accused of killing Cedar Rapids teenager Michelle Martinko more than 40 years ago.

Jerry Burns, 66, faces a first-degree murder charge in the case. Police say Burns fatally stabbed Martinko in her parents' car outside Westdale Mall in December 1979.

Then 18-year-old Michelle Martinko was a senior at Kennedy High School when she died.

The case remained unsolved for 39 years until police obtained DNA from a straw that Burns left at a Manchester restaurant. Investigators say DNA from the straw linked him to bloodstains at the murder scene.

Burns' attorneys argued the DNA evidence should be thrown out because police didn't use a warrant to get the straw. A judge later ruled it could be included.

The trial started at 9 a.m. Tuesday, as legal teams began searching for potential jurors. A judge moved it out of Linn County, due to pre-trial publicity.

The trial is expected to last two weeks following jury selection.

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