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Retired investigators recount details of Martinko murder scene

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWWL) -- The murder trial of Jerry Burns, accused of killing Michelle Martinko in 1979, continued Thursday in Davenport.

The day almost seemed like opening a time capsule as investigators, now retired, shared what they found within 18 year-old Michelle Martinko's car.

Within the 1972 Buick Electra, investigators noted finding blood on both the steering wheel and gear shift.

Perhaps the most haunting and disturbing piece of evidence was Martinko's simple, black dress, hung in the center of the courtroom. The state noted the blood that was found on the dress, believed to be that of Burns. The dress was not submitted as evidence, pending further examination requested by Burns' attorneys.

Dr. Richard Fiester, who performed the autopsy in 1979, reported 11 stab wounds on Martinko's body.

"She bled to death, internally and externally. She had blood all over her, plus the internal bleeding," Dr. Fiester said.

Playing defense, Burns attorney questioned the chain of evidence among investigators. The state countered by implying that the defense was asking the witness to guess.

The trial is expected to last 2 weeks. If convicted, Burns faces life in prison.

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Taylor Vessel

Multimedia Reporter

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