The defense rests in the Michelle Martinko murder trial. I was stunned but here it is: “After just one witness, attorneys defending a man accused of killing a Cedar Rapids teen more than 40 years ago have finished presenting evidence. Burns said he will not testify during the trial.”
The defense started and finished within one day. They only called Dr. Michael Spence to clarify some issues on the forensics in DNA analysis. No expert witnesses for the blood spatter analysis, no character witnesses, nothing.
If found guilty, Burns will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Michelle Marie Martinko was found dead on Dec 20, 1979. She was repeatedly stabbed in her face and chest. Police found her body in the family Buick in the parking lot of the Westdale Mall, Iowa. Police said there was no sign of a sexual assault, but she had wounds that indicated she fought with her attacker.
In Oct 2006, police announced they had developed the suspect’s DNA. However, no match was found in the national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). In May 2017, Cedar Rapids Police Department released a suspect composite sketch based on that DNA. On Dec 19, 2018, police announced an arrest. Jerry Lynn Burns (64) was arrested 12/19/2018 and faces first-degree murder charges. A covert DNA sample was matched to blood found at the crime scene. Police questioned Burns at work in Manchester, Iowa where he denied killing Martinko. He could not offer an alternative explanation for why his DNA was found at the crime scene. Burns again denied killing Martinko when he appeared by video for his arraignment. He requested court-appointed counsel. The judge ordered a $5 million cash-only bond.
The preliminary hearing was on Dec 28, 2018. Trial was set for Oct 14, 2019 in Linn County District Court. The trial was moved out of Linn County after the prosecution decided not to resist change of venue. Burns will now face trial by jury in the Scott County Courthouse in Davenport. The jury selection started Feb 10, 2020.
If you have any information, please contact Investigator Matt Denlinger at 319-286 5442 or email him at [email protected]