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Jerry Burns will not testify in Martinko murder trial, defense wraps up

Jerry Burns, of Manchester (Courtesy: Cedar Rapids Police Department)
Jerry Burns, of Manchester (Courtesy: Cedar Rapids Police Department)(KCRG)
Published: Feb. 20, 2020 at 12:18 PM CST
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After just one witness, attorneys defending a man accused of killing a Cedar Rapids teen more than 40 years ago have finished presenting evidence.

Jerry Burns, 66, of Manchester, is charged with stabbing 18-year-old Michelle Martinko to death in Dec. 1979. It happened in the parking lot of Westdale Mall in Cedar Rapids.

Burns said he will not testify during the trial.

Burns' defense attorneys started and finished presenting their evidence Thursday. Attorneys called on Dr. Michael Spence who talked about forensics surrounding DNA casework.

Prosecutors wrapped up their testimony Wednesday. On Wednesday, they played a video that showed Burns in the back of a police car following his arrest. It was during this drive to Cedar Rapids that Burns talked about the possibility of someone's memory being blocked. The police investigator testifying said Burns didn't admit guilt during that ride, but he didn't deny the accusation either. He didn't argue police had arrested the wrong person.

Prosecutors plan to call rebuttal witnesses beginning Friday morning at 9 a.m.

Burns' trial started Feb. 10 in Scott County. A judge moved it out of Linn County due to pretrial publicity.

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