Blood evidence at forefront of Iowa cold case murder trial

Iowa News

FILE – In a Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 file photo, Jerry Burns enters the courtroom during the continuation of a suppression hearing for evidence in the case of Burns of Manchester at the Linn County Courthouse in Cedar Rapids. Burns is accused of murdering Michelle Martinko in 1979. Judge Fae Hoover Grinde has barred from trial evidence that Burns searched the internet in the past few years for stories about assault, rape and murder. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette via AP, File)

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — A prosecutor told jurors on the opening day of a murder trial that they were going on a journey in time to learn about an Iowa high school girl who was slain more than 40 years ago.

Testimony began Wednesday in the trial of Jerry Burns.

He’s accused of fatally stabbing 18-year-old Michelle Martinko at a Cedar Rapids mall.

A prosecutor says Martinko’s lungs and aorta were pierced and she lost about a third of her blood.

The prosecutor also says DNA shows that Burns’ blood was found at the crime scene.

But defense attorney Leon Spies told jurors that evidence will show Burns isn’t guilty of first-degree murder.

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