Trial of Jerry Westrom accused of 1993 murder of Jeanie Ann Childs begins – KION546


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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – After several delays, opening statements began Tuesday in the trial of a man charged with a decades-old murder.

Jerry Westrom is charged with murder in the stabbing death of Jeanie Ann Childs. Police first arrested him in February 2019 after linking his DNA from a genealogy website to the crime scene.

Childs, 35, who worked as a prostitute, was found stabbed to death in a south Minneapolis apartment in 1993.

Investigators followed Westrom to a hockey game and grabbed a towel he threw in the trash to get his DNA.

The jury consists of 12 seated jurors and three alternates, of whom six are women and nine are men. Their ages range from two in their 20s, five in their 30s, four in their 40s, and four in their 50s or older.

Prosecutors said Westrom’s fingerprint matched a bloody fingerprint found at the scene and his DNA was found on several items in the apartment, including a quilt and a towel in the bathroom.

Mike Radmer told the jury that Westrom’s assault was premeditated and that he was determined to kill Childs.

Defense attorney Steve Meshbesher, who represents Westrom, pointed to another person – Childs’ pimp who lived in the apartment. Some of her hair was found in her hand. Meshbesher also tried to poke holes in the state’s record, calling the evidence circumstantial and speculative. Meshbesher says they have the wrong guy.

According to documents, the defense wanted to introduce five other suspects into evidence. The judge allowed one. This man is now dead. The prosecution called a friend of his to the stand who testified that they were on a motorcycle trip out of town during the murder.

Four others spoke on Tuesday. During testimony from a security guard, who was there when Childs’ body was discovered, crime scene photos were shared. The victim’s mother, Betty, gasped and left the courtroom.

In a supporting document, Westrom’s wife said the family liquidated all assets and sold the century-old family farm to pay bail and defense. Her letter also says that she met Jerry the month before Childs was murdered and married a year later.

Westrom pleaded guilty to attempting to hire a prostitute in a 2015 case.

The judge told the jury he expects that trial to go through the middle of next week.

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Elna M. Lemons