The murder trial for a man accused of killing a high school girl more than 40 years ago at a Cedar Rapids mall is underway. Jerry Burns of Manchester is charged with first-degree murder in the 1979 death of Michelle Martinko.

KCRG TV-9 is streaming the trial and Assitant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks gave the prosecution’s opening arguments.
“Ladies and gentlemen, over the course of the next two weeks or so, you are going to go on a journey back in time,” Maybanks said.

He told the jury that it is a complicated case. “The evidence that you’ll have an opportunity to consider and examine, will come from what has been pieced together over the last 40 years since Michelle was murdered,” Maybanks said.

Martinko was an 18-year-old senior at Kennedy High School when she died. The case remained unsolved for 39 years until police obtained DNA from a straw that Burns left at a Manchester restaurant. Investigators say DNA from the straw linked him to bloodstains at the murder scene.

Burns’ attorneys tried to get the DNA evidence thrown out because police didn’t use a warrant to get the straw. A judge ruled it could be included. The trial was moved to Scott County and is expected to last two weeks.