Southern Illinois doctor convicted of killing estranged wife

December 18, 2019 GMT

HARRISBURG, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois doctor accused of killing his estranged wife and burning the body was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder.

Brian Burns is already serving a 20-year prison sentence for trying to arrange the kidnapping of Mike Henshaw, who was the Saline County state’s attorney.

Carla Burns, 49, had worked as a nurse as well as a professor at Southeastern Illinois College. The prosecutor, Matt Goetten, said Burns decided to kill his wife in 2016 because he was going to take a financial hit if she filed a separate tax return during their divorce proceedings.

Burns said he saw his wife shoot herself. He said he panicked and burned her body on a pile of tree limbs.

He quoted her as saying, “Take care of my mom. I’ll always love you. Take care of Chloe,” a reference to their dog.

Goetten, however, pointed to text messages that revealed a broken relationship.

“Your dishonest behavior continues. ... You have to let me go,” Carla Burns told Brian Burns.

Defense attorney Duane Verity said an appeal will be pursued. Burns will be sentenced on Feb. 11.