Man accused of killing Michelle Martinko being held on $5 million bond

By  | 

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The man accused of murdering 18-year-old Michelle Martinko 39 years ago is being held on a $5 million cash-only bond.

COURTESY IMAGE

64-year-old Jerry Lynn Burns from Manchester was arrested on Wednesday and charged with First Degree Murder.

During the initial appearance, it was decided the bond would be cash only as Burns is considered a flight risk due to the crime happening 39 years ago.

While being questioned at his workplace Wednesday, Burns was unable to give an alternative explanation as to why his DNA was found at the crime scene of the Michelle Martinko case in December 1979.

Authorities believe Burns stabbed Martinko in the chest and face on the night of December 19, 1979, in the Cedar Rapids Westdale Mall parking lot.

Documents allege Burns killed Martinko with malice aforethought, willfully, deliberately, and with premeditation.

At around 2 a.m. Martinko's parents reported her missing to police on December 20, 1979, and by 4 a.m. police found Martinko dead in her parent's Buick at a Westdale Mall parking lot.

Police say they were able to connect Burns to the case with DNA evidence.

Documents say clothing worn by Martinko was analyzed by the DCI Crime Laboratory and blood was found that didn't belong to her.

With the blood stain, a partial male DNA profile was developed and authoriites say fewer than one in one hundred billion unrelated individuals had that same profile.

Investigators were able to create another partial DNA profile from blood found on the gear shift of the car she was found in.

Although no matches were found in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), which matches samples from unsolved crimes to offenders, in 2006, the investigation continued in hopes of finding who killed Martinko.

The DNA profiles helped the Cedar Rapids Police Department use genetic genealogical research to narrow down a specific pool of suspects, which included Burns.

Since May 2017, authorities say more than 100 new tips were given to them in the case. Although none led to an arrest, investigators were able to rule out more than 100 people from the investigation.

The DCI Crime Laboratory found that covertly collected DNA from Burns was a match to the blood found on the gear shift in Martinko's car the night she was killed.

The findings by the laboratory led them to Burns' place of work on Wednesday, the 39th anniversary of Martinko's death to question him.

Along with being unable to explain why his DNA was at the crime scene, Burns also told authorities he didn't have any recollection of committing the crime.

You can watch Burns' initial appearance on December 20, 2018, below.