WATCH: Jerry Burns on Trial for Michelle Martinko Murder
Jerry Lynn Burns, a 66-year-old man from Manchester, Iowa, is on trial for the 1979 murder of Michelle Martinko.
As stated in our original story, "Michelle Martinko had left a school banquet at around 6:30 p.m. on December 19, 1979, and drove to Westdale Mall to shop for a winter coat. After her parents reported her missing at approximately 2 a.m., Martinko was found dead in the parking lot of Westdale Mall just after 4 a.m. on December 20, 1979. She had been stabbed to death in the 1972 Buick Electra her family owned. Martinko was not robbed or sexually assaulted but had wounds that were consistent with a struggle." Martinko's murder remained unsolved for decades.
Burns was arrested 39 years later on December 19, 2018, after a DNA sample developed in 2006 was matched to a "covert" sample taken from Burns. Law & Crime reports that that sample was taken after Burns left a straw on table at a Pizza Ranch establishment. "Authorities seized this discarded DNA evidence covertly. They compared it to a blood sample recovered at the crime scene that had been uploaded to a genealogy database and partially profiled." It was determined that it was a match to the blood found on Martinko’s dress and the judge has allowed the straw to be used as evidence at trial.
Law & Crime reports that "Investigators say Burns 'claimed he did not have any recollection of committing this crime,' but could not explain why his DNA showed up at the crime scene." He has plead not guilty to first-degree murder.
You can watch the trial live HERE.