Thank you to Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks for proving in the court of law that Jerry Burns was guilty of the murder of Michelle Martinko. Thank you to Matt Denlinger and the police force and detectives who never gave up in their search for the murderer. Back in 1979 shootings were rare. Murder was almost nonexistent. The residents of Cedar Rapids and surrounding areas were excited about the new opening of Westdale Mall in October of that year. The news of the murder of this beautiful 18-year-old girl in the parking lot of the mall in December was daunting. This mysterious tragedy seemed eerie, as well as frightening. It made us a bit more cautious of our surroundings as we browsed throughout the mall and drove in the parking lot. Was the killer still out there ready to attack again? We never knew. In the decades that followed, it would often come to mind. Who murdered this vibrant teenager back in 1979? But now, because of the expertise of many qualified individuals who were able to secure the evidence and find the person who committed this horrific crime years ago, we can sleep more peacefully.
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