Prosecution wraps up in Martinko murder trial; defense begins Thursday

Jerry Burns listens to county attorneys in Linn County District Court, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Cedar Rapids. Iowa. Burns is charged with first-degree murder in the 1979 death of Michelle Martinko, and appeared with attorney Leon Spies for a pretrial hearing on a motion to suppress evidence and admissibility of evidence. (Liz Martin/The Gazette via AP, Pool)
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KCRG) - Prosecutors have finished presenting evidence in the trial of the man accused of murdering a Cedar Rapids teenager more than 40 years ago.

Starting Thursday, defense attorneys for Jerry Burns will begin stating their case.

The defense then asked for an acquittal plea, which can be standard practice after the prosecution rests their case. The judge denied that.

Burns, 66, of Manchester, is accused of stabbing 18-year-old Michelle Martinko in 1979 in the Westdale Mall parking lot in Cedar Rapids.

Authorities used DNA evidence to narrow down Burns as a suspect in the case.

On Wednesday, prosecutors played a video showing Burns in the back of a police car following his arrest at his business in Manchester.

Jurors on Tuesday watched the interview police had with Burns just moments before his arrest in 2018. Burns denied knowing anything about the case.

Jurors also heard from an inmate Burns met in jail, Michael Allison. But the defense question Allison's credibility. Prosecutors didn't offer him a deal for testifying.

A key witness this week has been Matthew Denlinger who arrested Burns in December 2018.

The trial is taking place in Davenport after a judge moved the trial out of Linn County due to pretrial publicity.