Killer in cold case murder wore gloves, detective says

Killer in cold case murder wore gloves, detective says

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DAVENPORT — A former crime scene investigator testified Thursday he determined the suspect who killed Michelle Martinko on Dec. 19, 1979, was wearing gloves because a “zigzag or chevron” glove pattern was found on the door handle of her car.

Richard “Dick” White, 80, a retired Cedar Rapids police officer, said he first found the chevron print in blood inside Martinko’s family Buick, where her body was found. He purchased a glove with a similar pattern and put ink on it to see if it matched the pattern found in the car — which it did.

White, testifying in the murder trial of Jerry Burns, 66, of Manchester, said because the bloody pattern was found on the gear shift, steering wheel and lights, the car had been driven after the attack on the 18-year-old.

In identifying photos of her car, found Dec. 20, 1979, in the lot behind J.C. Penney at the Westdale Mall, he pointed out the Buick was parked outside the lines of the parking spot — “like someone hurriedly” pulled the car in.

Burns, charged with first-degree murder in the cold-case killing, has denied killing Martinko and said he didn’t know how his DNA was found on the back of her dress and in the car.

The trial started Monday in Scott County District Court, but testimony just began Wednesday. The trial was moved out of Linn County because of pretrial publicity.

White also told jurors how Martinko’s body was found on the floorboard of the front passenger side.

White said he could see stab wounds to her chest. There was blood all over the front seat, dashboard, windows and passenger side door.

That blood was eventually tied to a suspected killer using a public genealogy DNA databased that matched it to Burns.

Mugshot gallery for February 2020

A former crime scene investigator testified Thursday he determined the suspect who killed Michelle Martinko on Dec. 19, 1979, was wearing gloves because a “zigzag or chevron” glove pattern was found on the door handle of her car.

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