Trial of man accused of killing Gilbert 19-year-old begins

Posted: Updated:
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX -- Opening statements are expected to get under way today in the trial of a man accused of killing a 19-year-old Gilbert woman in 2007.

Prosecutors say Jonathan Burns shot Jackie Hartman on their first date together on Jan. 28, 2007.

It was a nearly month before police found the 19-year-old's body buried in the desert near Fountain Hills.

Burns, who had spent time in prison on unrelated charges before ever meeting Hartman, has maintained his innocence since police arrested him the day after his date with Hartman. He did admit having sex with Hartman but claims he dropped her off to meet her family.

Police say Hartman did call her sister to pick her up at a gas station, but the nursing student never made it. Hartman's clothing, torn and riddled with bullet holes, was found in a trash bin near Burns' Mesa home.

A grand jury indicted Burns, now 29, in connection with Hartman's disappearance before her body was found.

After several delays, jury selection in the case finally started on Oct. 26. Burns is charged with first-degree murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and weapons misconduct.

If the jury convicts him, Burns could face the death penalty.