Judge Moves Cold Case Murder Trial to Different County


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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