Criminal Complaint Details Released on Burns’ Murder Charge

The Manchester man arrested for the murder of a Cedar Rapids teen 39 years ago remains in custody on five million dollars cash-only bond.

64-year old Jerry Lynn Burns was taken into custody in Manchester on Wednesday. He has been charged with first degree murder in the death of Michelle Martinko, who was 18 years old when she was found stabbed to death in her parents’ vehicle at Westdale Mall in Cedar Rapids on December 20, 1979.

Burns appeared in court for an initial appearance on Thursday morning. His preliminary hearing has been set for next Friday, December 28th.

The Cedar Rapids Police Department has released details from the criminal complaint that was filed by the Linn County Attorney’s Office. The details are posted below:

On December 19, 1979, Michelle Martinko, age 18, was last seen alive at Westdale Mall, 2600 Edgewood Rd. SW, Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa. On December 20, 1979, a Cedar Rapids Police Officer found her deceased in her parents’ vehicle parked at Westdale Mall. Ms. Martinko suffered multiple stab wounds that caused her death. Clothing worn by Martinko was later analyzed by the DCI Crime Laboratory and blood was found that did not belong to Martinko. A partial male DNA profile was developed from this blood stain and fewer than one in one hundred billion unrelated individuals would have this same profile.

Another partial male DNA profile was developed from blood found on the gear shift knob of the vehicle in which she was found. Cedar Rapids Police utilized DNA genetic genealogical research to narrow profile down to a specific pool of suspects, which included the defendant. Cedar Rapids Police collected covert DNA from the defendant which was sent to the DCI Crime Laboratory for analysis. The DCI Crime Laboratory found that the covertly collected DNA from the defendant was a match to the DNA from the blood found on Martinko’s clothing and consistent with the DNA profile developed from the blood found on the gear shift knob of the vehicle. The defendant was interviewed at his place of employment in Delaware County on December 19, 2018. The defendant initially denied being present at the crime scene on the night of the murder and ultimately claimed he did not have any recollection of committing this crime and could not offer any plausible explanation why his DNA would be found at the crime scene.

Disclaimer from the Cedar Rapids Police Department: Any arrest information included above is based on the legal conclusion that, as with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.”