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Lawyers for Jerry Burns file motion for new trial

(KWWL) -- The lawyers for the man convicted of killing Michelle Martinko in Cedar Rapids in 1979 have filed a motion for a new trial.

Lawyers for Jerry Lynn Burns, 66, of Manchester, filed the motion citing a violation of the Fourth and 14th Amendments. The motion claims the court erred by not suppressing the state's search and seizure of Burns' and Burns' family members' DNA evidence.

Burns was found guilty in February of first-degree murder in the death of Martinko. Genetic testing was key in the state's case against Burns. In 2018, experts built a profile based on DNA evidence left at the scene of Martinko's murder. Investigators then asked Parabon-Nano Labs, which had access to hundreds of thousands of genetic samples, to see if there was a match in its database.

The motion also argues the court should have dismissed statements Burns made while speaking with investigators after his arrest in December 2019. The filing says, "Admission at trial of the challenged statements violated the Defendant’s privilege against self-incrimination, and his rights to the assistance of counsel and due process of law, as guaranteed by the Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment."

The defense is also raising additional concerns about the jury-building process, instructions given to the jury and testimony from Michael Allison, one of the state's witnesses. The motion sums up all of the concerns saying Burns' rights to a fair trial and due process of law were violated.

A deadline for responses from the state or a date for a hearing in front of a judge has not yet been set. Right now, Burns is set to receive a mandatory life sentence in August.

Trevor Oates

Executive Producer

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