Judge Moves Cold Case Murder Trial to Different County

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Jerry Lynn Burns makes his initial court appearance in Linn County after being charged with the 1979 murder of Michelle Martinko. (KWWL)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A murder trial has been moved to Scott County for a man accused of killing an Iowa high school student almost 40 years ago.

Court records show a judge agreed Monday to relocate the trial of 65-year-old Jerry Burns, of Manchester. Police arrested Burns on Dec. 19 last year, 39 years to the day after 18-year-old Michelle Martinko was killed. Her body was found the next day inside her family’s car at a Cedar Rapids mall. She had been stabbed in the face and chest.

Burns’ attorney said in a filing that pretrial publicity made it unlikely Burns could receive a fair trial in Linn County.

The trial still is scheduled to begin Feb. 10. Burns has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder.

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