A guilty verdict was returned this afternoon in the case of a Mesa man accused of murdering a 19-year-old Gilbert woman in January of 2007.
Jonathan Burns, 29, was found guilty of first-degree murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, and misconduct with a weapon for the January 28, 2007, murder of Jackie Hartman, the Maricopa County Superior Court announced just moments ago.
Hartman was last seen by her sister, Randi, about 2 a.m. the night she was murdered. Randi had dropped her off for what was supposed to be a first date with Burns. It turned out to be a date with death.
The sisters were supposed to meet up again at 4:45 a.m., but Jackie never showed.
Police spoke with Burns, who said he'd had sex with Hartman and then dropped her off at home. However, he couldn't explain where he was for about five hours on the morning of the murder.
Authorities were able to locate an area where Burns had used his cell phone the morning of the murder -- in the desert near Fountain Hills. Police searched the area and about a month after she was first reported missing, a search team found Hartman's body buried in the desert.
Another seemingly damning bit of evidence in the case was that Hartman's clothes were found torn and in a trash can near Burns' home.
Burns, a convicted felon who has already served a 7-year prison sentence for burglary and arson, and hatched a plan to escape from jail while awaiting trial, could be sentenced to death.
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