Trial begins for Jerry Burns, accused of killing Michelle Martinko

Published: Feb. 12, 2020 at 10:24 AM CST
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Opening arguments have wrapped up in the case of the man accused of killing Michelle Martinko more than 40 years ago.

Jerry Burns, 66, faces a first-degree murder charge in the case. Police say he 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 is expected to last two weeks in Scott County.

Click below to watch the opening statements:

WATCH: The trial for Jerry Burns begins in Scott County. He's accused of murdering Michelle Martinko in Cedar Rapids in Dec. 1979. You can watch the full trial here:

Posted by KCRG-TV9 on Wednesday, February 12, 2020