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BREAKING: Jerry Burns found guilty of First Degree Murder

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UPDATE: In less than three hours, a Scot County Jury found Jerry Burns guilty of murder in the first degree.

Sentencing has been scheduled for six weeks from today.


SCOTT COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) – The murder trial of a high school teen killed in 1979 entered its 11th day in Scott County where the closing arguments are expected before the jury is released to deliberate.

The man accused, Jerry Burns of Manchester, is charged with 1st-degree murder for the death of Michelle Martinko, a Kennedy High School senior at the time of her death.

First Assistant Linn County Attorney, Nick Maybanks has presented DNA evidence, found on the back of the dress Matrinko was wearing, that links Burns' to the scene of the crime.

However, Burns' lawyer, Leon Spies, has called into question the validity and handling of the DNA sample.

Burns denied being at the mall the night of her death and has entered a plea of not guilty.

However, the state has called several CRPD investigators and DCI crime lab experts who detailed the handling, testing, and results of the DNA found from a stain on the back of Martinko's dress.

Burns' decided not to testify on his own behalf, none of his family members took the stand in his defense. His lawyer called only one witness in Burns' defense, a consultant Dr. Michael Spence.

Burns' was arrested on the 39th death anniversary of Martinko's death on December 19th, 2018.

The trial was moved out of Linn County to Scott County for pretrial publicity.

Jury selection began Monday, February 24th and opening arguments were presented on Wednesday, February 12th.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids

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