Minnesota Supreme Court justices weigh appeal of man convicted in 1993 cold case

The Minnesota Supreme Court is weighing the appeal of a man convicted last year of a murder that happened in 1993.

Jerry Arnold Westrom, 57, was convicted of first-and second-degree murder for the stabbing death of Jeanie Childs.

He was sentenced to life in prison.

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Justices heard oral arguments on Westrom’s appeal Monday morning.

Court documents show Westrom is raising the following issues to the Minnesota Supreme Court:

  1. Whether the district court erred when it denied Westrom’s motion to suppress the state’s DNA evidence.
  2. Whether the district court abused its discretion when it denied Westrom’s motion to introduce evidence of additional alternative perpetrators.
  3. Whether the district court abused its discretion when it excluded the testimony of defense expert Dr. Michael Nirenberg.
  4. Whether the state committed prejudicial prosecutorial misconduct during its closing argument and rebuttal.
  5. Whether the evidence was sufficient to convict Westrom if the charged offenses.
  6. Whether trial counsel’s performance was so constitutionally deficient that it likely affected the outcome of the proceedings.
  7. Whether the cumulative errors in the proceedings deprived Westrom of his right to a fair trial.

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As previously reported, Childs’ body was found in the bedroom of her Horn Towers, south Minneapolis apartment on June 13, 1993, after property management was alerted that water from the apartment was entering the hallway. A criminal complaint states that when supervisors entered Childs’ apartment, they found the shower running and her body on the floor.

Investigators say they were able to use DNA from a napkin Westrom had tossed in the trash at a hockey game to match DNA evidence found at the crime scene.

As previously reported, during opening statements in his trial, Hennepin County Assistant Attorney Mike Radmer told jurors that Westrom “left behind two things … bloody footprint and his DNA.”

During closing arguments, prosecutors say Childs suffered 65 stab wounds, with one of them going “right through her heart,” adding that Westrom’s attack was “prolonged” and that “this was no accident.”