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Burns trial to begin at end of the month

Staff Writer
updated: 3/3/2017 8:14 AM

The jury trial for the original charges against Harrisburg resident Brian Burns is set to begin on March 22.

Burns is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, and one count of concealment of a body in connection with the death and disappearance of his estranged wife, Carla Burns.

A pretrial hearing was held on Thursday in Saline County Court, where Burns' attorney Bryan Drew of Benton, filed for a second pretrial hearing on March 16. The purpose of the second hearing is to give an outside expert, Dr. Angeline Stanislaus of St. Louis, Missouri, enough time to complete a report and turn it in to both Drew and the prosecution. Dr. Stanislaus has a private practice, and also works at the Missouri Department of Mental Health as the Chief Medical Officer for Adults.

Stanislaus was retained before Drew's appointment to the case, by Burns' previous attorney Nick Brown of Marion. Though the details of her report are unknown, court records mention that an outside psychiatric counsel was hired by the defense in 2016 to "provide a forensic analysis of the Defendant's (Burns) current mental state, as well as at the time of the alleged incident."

Burns is accused of shooting Carla - who was in the process of divorcing him - to death, and burning her remains to conceal her corpse.

Burns is also facing charges of solicitation, conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping and attempted aggravated kidnapping, stemming from accusations that he attempted to pay an undercover Saline County Sheriff's Office detective $1,000 to kidnap State's Attorney Mike Henshaw.

According to the office of the State's Attorney, a trial date has not been set for Burns' second set of charges.