Iowa man accused of 1979 murder hires high profile lawyer

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa-   An Iowa City attorney known for taking high-profile criminal cases, will defend a man accused of killing a Cedar Rapids teen, nearly 40-years ago. 

Leon Spies has filed to represent 64-year-old Jerry Burns of Manchester.  Burns has been charged in the murder of 18-year-old Michelle Martinko.

Martinko was found stabbed to death in a car in a Cedar Rapids mall parking lot December 19th, 1979.  

 Police say the Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School Senior had gone to Westdale mall to buy a coat.   

Authorities say DNA evidence led them to arrest Burns.

KCRG TV 9 reports Spies has a history of handling high-profile cases.

Among his clients are:

-Dustin Honken - The only death penalty case in Iowa in the past 45 years. He was convicted of federal drug and murder charges in 2005 and is currently on federal death row.

-Nicholas Luerkens - convicted of killing 29 year-old Lynnsey Donald in the Marion Hy-Vee parking lot in 2015. 

-Abe Satterfield and Cedric Everson - former Hawkeye football players accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a residence hall in 2007. Everson was convicted of a simple assault and served a week in jail. Satterfield took a plea deal and avoided jail time.

-John Bloomfield - charged in 2013 with murdering his wife in Iowa City in 1997 but died before trial.

-Jane Barto - former Iowa Workforce Development director charged with federal obstruction of justice charges for a scandal with a contractor called CIETC.

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