It's a case that took local authorities 39 years to the day after it happened to crack. On December 19th, 64-year-old Jerry Lynn Burns was found and arrested for the alleged murder of Michelle Martinko.

Now, an Iowa City attorney with a 40-year history of handling high-profile clients in the state will take on a case that has haunted Iowa for decades.

Leon Spies entered his appearance as Burns' attorney on Christmas Day, according to the Gazette. Spies ran the defense in the assault trial of former University of Iowa football player Cedric Everson against a female student-athlete, and managed to negotiate a plea deal to decrease Everson's sentence to one week in jail, according to ESPN.

He was also involved in the defense in the first-ever capital murder case in Iowa, in 2004 against Dustin Honken, who was sentenced to death for killing his girlfriend and remains on death row today.

Burns' preliminary court hearing is set for this Friday.

[Via ESPNGazette]