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Isanti businessman Jerry Westrom has been found guilty of the 1993 murder of Jeanne "Jeanie" Ann Childs in Minneapolis.

A jury returned its verdict Thursday afternoon, with the 55-year-old facing life without parole for the indictment of 1st-degree murder and a charge of 2nd-degree murder.

It follows a nine-day trial during which prosecutors argued that Westrom was responsible for Childs' fatal stabbing, and that the attack on June 13, 1993 was premeditated. 

His defense had argued that another man – Childs' pimp – killed her.

According to the criminal complaint, property management for an apartment building on the 3100 block of Pillsbury Avenue South were alerted by a tenant that water was coming into her apartment.

The source of the water leak was determined to be an adjacent apartment where Childs often stayed. Upon entry into the apartment, water was found to be overflowing from an unoccupied, running shower. Water and blood were present throughout the bathroom and connected bedroom, and Childs’ body was found on the bedroom floor.

Authorities were called and an investigation began. They found the apartment belonged to someone Childs had been dating who was out of the area at the time of the incident, and that she used the apartment for prostitution services.

Jeanie Childs

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office determined she died from multiple sharp force injuries. Items from the apartment were collected and eventually tested for the presence of DNA. An unknown DNA profile was found to be on several of the items tested.

In 2018, police enlisted the services of a genealogist who supplied Westrom’s name as an individual who shared familial traits to the unknown profile that was developed at the crime scene.

In 2019, police started to follow Westrom and, at a hockey game, watched him use a napkin to wipe his mouth and then toss it in the trash. Police retrieved the napkin and were able to obtain a DNA sample from it, which linked to DNA profiles at the crime scene.

In addition, Westrom’s footprints were matched to several bloody footprints found at the scene.

They also learned that Westrom, who had grown up in Elbow Lake in west-central Minnesota, had lived in the Twin Cities metro from April 9, 1991 to Dec. 31, 1993.

Westrom's blog said that he studied agricultural business and economics at the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1989, before later going on to own an organic corn farm in Isanti.

The Isanti County News reports that he also previously owned several businesses in the Cambridge area, including the local Sears, the former Westrom's Corner gas station, and the former Sinclair gas station.

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