The cold case that gripped our community and nation for decades takes another step toward closure this week.

The sentencing of Jerry Burns of Manchester for the 1979 murder of Michelle Martinko of Cedar Rapids has had several delays and false starts due to the pandemic. After about five months, Martinko's loved ones will see the sentencing go down this Friday. He was arrested on December 19, 2018, 39 years to the day she was found dead.

66-year-old Burns was convicted of first-degree murder in February in a Scott County court, where it was moved because of "extensive pretrial publicity", according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

Sixth District Judicial Court Judge Fae Hoover will consider a defense motion for a new trial. If denied, sentencing is expected to be issued for life in prison without parole.

The trial attracted national attention and will continue to do so this weekend, as a documentary on the case will air Sunday, August 9 at 9 p.m. An episode of "On The Case With Paula Zahn", subtitled "A Test of Patience" will be a look back at the authorities' long investigation leading up to their break in the case. According to a Facebook post from the Cedar Rapids Police Department, you can watch it on Investigation Discovery through the following providers:

  • Mediacom: Channels 205 (SD) and 772 (HD)
  • ImOn: Channels 93 (SD) and 893 (HD)
  • DISH Network: Channel 192

Members of Martinko's family will be interviewed as will investigator Matt Denlinger, retired Investigator Doug Larison, and assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks.

We still don't know when two other newsmagazine shows on the case will air but you can learn about the work that crews from "Dateline NBC" and "48 Hours" did with Nick Maybanks here.

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