Trial in nearly 30 year old murder case begins Tuesday

Prosecutors say DNA links Jerry Westrom to a 1993 murder. However, defense says evidence is thin.

The trial of Jerry Westrom, the 56-year-old Isanti man charged for the murder of woman found dead nearly 30 years ago, starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Hennepin County district court. 

The murder case of Jeanette Childs, 35 went ‘cold’ after years of no solid leads. But in 2019, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced it had enough evidence to show that Westrom was the man who stabbed Childs to death in her Minneapolis apartment in 1993. 

According to the criminal complaint, Westrom was identified through DNA evidence. Prosecutors allege Westrom's DNA was found in evidence collected from the crime scene. According to the criminal complaint, investigators sent those samples to a genealogy website in 2018, which helped them identify Westrom as a suspect.

Westrom has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder in the first degree and his attorney, Steven Meshbesher says that evidence against Westrom is weak. 

Jury selection in the case wrapped up Monday, as the court selected 15 jurors, three of which are alternates. 

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