Man charged in cold-case killing seeks to exclude evidence
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa man charged in the killing of an 18-year-old high school student 40 years ago is seeking to exclude from his trial DNA evidence used to arrest him.
An attorney for Jerry Burns, 65, of Manchester, filed a motion this week to exclude DNA evidence police lifted from a straw Burns had discarded last year, the Des Moines Register reported.
Court documents say investigators create DNA profiles from blood found at the crime scene. Cedar Rapids police then used DNA genetic genealogical research to narrow the profile to a specific pool of suspects, which included Burns. Investigators say they arrested Burns after DNA taken from the straw matched DNA collected from the crime scene.
Attorney Leon Spies argues police didn’t have a warrant to seize Burns’ tossed-out straw and therefore violated Burns’ constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Spies also argues that investigators didn’t have probable cause to search Burns’ cell phone or work computer.
Police arrested Burns last December in the 1979 death of 18-year-old Michelle Martinko. Her body was found inside her family’s car at a Cedar Rapids mall. She had been stabbed in the face and chest.