Sentencing for Saline Co., IL doctor convicted of plotting to kidnap State's Attorney postponed

Saline County State's Attorney Michael Henshaw (Source: KFVS)
Saline County State's Attorney Michael Henshaw (Source: KFVS)

SALINE COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - The sentencing for a Saline County doctor convicted of trying to have the state's attorney kidnapped has been rescheduled for a second time.

Brian Burns was scheduled to be sentenced on July 25, but requested new counsel during that court appearance. He was scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 29, but during that appearance, Burns told the court that he does not have an attorney and because his assets are frozen, he does not have the money to hire a new one. He will be back in court on Sept. 5 for a status hearing.

It took a Saline County jury less than two hours to convict Burns on felony charges of solicitation of aggravated kidnapping, conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping and attempted aggravated kidnapping. That trial took place in May 2017.

Burns tried to pay a man $1,000 to kidnap Michael J. Henshaw, who was the Saline County State's Attorney. Henshaw has since passed away.

Sheila Simon, a law expert at SIU, said the timing of this move is rare.

"It's not common for a defendant to switch attorneys after a criminal conviction and before a sentencing," Simon said. "But also...not impossible ...usually only done with approval of the judge and some good reason related to making sure the case is done in a way that gets to justice."

Authorities said Burns, who is also charged with the murder of his wife, conspired with an undercover detective and another jail inmate to have the state's attorney kidnapped.They said Burns wanted his murder case dismissed, and was willing to take that extreme action to make it happen.

Burns was in jail on charges of murder in connection to the death of his estranged wife, Carla Burns when he tried to hire someone to kidnap Henshaw.

As a result of the guilty verdict, the court revoked Burns' bail. He is back in police custody.

Matt Goetten with the Appellate Prosecutors Office in Springfield is the special prosecutor in this case.

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