Burns Files Appeal on Murder Conviction

A Manchester man sentenced to life in prison for killing a Cedar Rapids teen forty years ago is appealing his case.

Jerry Lynn Burns was found guilty in February of First Degree Murder in the death of Michelle Martinko. She had been found stabbed to death in her parents’ car at the Westdale Mall parking lot forty years ago. DNA evidence led investigators to arrest Burns in 2018.

Burns’ attorney, Leon Spies, had filed a motion requesting a new trial prior to his sentencing last month. Spies claimed searches and seizures of Burns’ and his family members’ DNA done in the weeks before Burns’ arrest were unconstitutional. He also listed several other reasons, including false testimony from one of the State’s witnesses. The judge denied the request and then proceeded with handing Burns the mandatory life sentence, with no possibility of parole.

Burns filed a notice of appeal earlier this month. Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks tells KMCH that the Iowa Attorney General’s Office will now take over the case for the State. Maybanks says as of now, the exact issues on appeal have not been determined.