Trial date set for Martinko murder suspect

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -- A trial date has been set for the man accused of murder in a 39-year-old Iowa cold case.

Court records show Jerry Burns, 65, of Manchester, has a trial date set for October 14, 2019, in Linn County.

Authorities believe Burns killed 18-year-old Michelle Martinko of Cedar Rapids in the parking lot of the community's Westdale Mall, December of 1979.

Burns faces first-degree murder after authorities used genealogy DNA to match the suspect to blood splatter found in the car where Martinko's body was discovered.

Leon Spies, an Iowa City criminal defense attorney known for representing high-profile clients, filed to represent Burns in the upcoming trial. Spies is a graduate of the University of Iowa School of Law and a partner at Spies, Pavelich and Foley law firm in Iowa City.