Doctor accused in shooting death of estranged wife found guilty for one count of murder

Brian Burns found guilty for murder

SALINE COUNTY, Ill. (KFVS) - The defense attorney has confirmed that Dr. Brian Burns was found guilty for one count of murder.

Burns was originally charged with two counts of murder, but was found guilty for one while the other was dropped. He was also found guilty of concealment of homicidal death.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 11, 2020.

The Saline County Court heard opening statements in the Brian Burns trial on December 10

Dr. Brian Burns is accused of shooting his estranged wife, burning her body and then spreading the ashes.

In March 2016, Burns was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and concealing a homicidal death.

His bond was set at $10 million and $1 million cash.

The trial begins

On Monday, a six man and six woman jury was seated. By Tuesday morning, the prosecution and defense presented their opening statements.

The prosecution started by saying this case was about two narratives, and Burns version was “implausible.”

The defense said he agreed there are two distinct narratives, but said he would watch the facts and evidence and keep an open mind. He mentioned Burns was cooperative with police about his wife’s death.

The prosecution brought its first witness to the stand, 10-year veteran detective Maria Dwyer with Marion Police Department.

Dwyer got involved with Saline County when Carla Burns family called concerned about her whereabouts, she had been living in a Marion hotel since December 2015.

The prosecution’s first piece of evidence was the video of Burns’ confession while in custody on March 17, 2016.

In court, Burns was uneasy watching the video, turning red and got choked up with tears.

In the video he confessed to burning her body after he alleges she shot herself on accident. He called it a “shooting error."

He confessed to the detectives because he said he felt like it was a terrible mistake burning her.

“I should have just call 911 or the coroner but I got scared," he said.

He also said he would “never hurt his wife."

They were going through a divorce.

He said he didn’t want to initially say anything about her allegedly shooting herself because he fell it may be suspicious and no one would believe him.

The prosecution stopped the video about a third of the way through to poke holes in his confession.

The trial is expected to continue through the end of the week.

Previous cases against Burns

Burns was sentenced in January of 2018 after being convicted of trying to have the state’s attorney kidnapped.

A judge in Saline County, Illinois entered a $10 million wrongful death verdict against Dr. Brian Burns in May 2018.

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