Inez Burns soon learned that she had been framed double-crossed by Walter and Gloria Shannon–the people Inez had given shelter to in her Fillmore Street flat.
Testifying before the new grand jury, the Shannons were to be the “star” witnesses against Mrs. Burns. Inez’s charges that the Shannons wanted to “shake her down” for $35,000 fell on deaf ears.
But Inez Burns did not go down easily.
Defended by former police commissioner Walter McGovern during three sensational trials, resulting in two hung juries, the 62-year-old Burns was finally found guilty at the third trial.
A devastating witness against Burns was the “chic brunette” who jumped over her backyard fence wearing a fur coat over her nightgown.
Mrs. Lavina Queen, who had been a year-long fugitive, appeared in court to testify in detail about her role not as a patient but as an anesthetist at the Burns’ establishment.
Inez Burns was sentenced to three years at Tehapachi Women’s Prison in 1948.
She pleaded guilty in a second case in 1952 and was sentenced to a term of two to five years at the California Institution for Women at Corona.
She also served eight months for income tax evasion , resulting in the loss of all of her property, including the Atherton where granddaughter Caroline Carlisle and her parents lived.
The good times were over for Inez L. Burns but she often reminded her granddaughter, “I was the best humanitarian for womankind. You don’t know how many homes I’ve saved.”
Both Joe and Inez Burns died on the Coastside at a hospital in Moss Beach; Joe in 1975 and Inez six months later in Janaury 1976.
Special Note: Inez Burns had a daughter who was sheltered and carefully kept away from her mother’s professional life. This daughter attended the best private schools on the Peninsula and went on to live a privileged life elsewhere.