Trial delayed for man accused of killing student in 1979

A trial has been delayed for a man accused of killing an Iowa high school student almost 40 years ago.

The trial had been scheduled to begin Monday for 65-year-old Jerry Burns, of Manchester. Burns has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. Police arrested him Dec. 19, 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 Leon Spies had sought the delay. He says the new tentative starting date is Feb. 10, but that could change if Burns were to request moving the trial out of Linn County.

Police say investigators matched a blood sample from the crime scene with a sample taken from Burns.

Get your weather forecast from people that actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.