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Thursday, June 3, 2010

DNA evidence Leads to Second Death Sentence for Tim Hennis

Kathryn (Katie) Eastburn, and her two daughters, Kara and Erin, were brutally murdered near Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, NC on May,9 1985. Her third child, Jana, was left unharmed, but in danger of dehydration, in her crib.

Could a man who spent the weekend of the murders building a dollhouse for his own daughter be responsible for slashing a mother and two small children to death? The answer, according to the Army, is a resounding yes. Tim Hennis was found guilty of the crime and sentenced to death in a court-martial proceeding in April of 2010.

Hennis went through two civilian trials in the Eighties. The first one ended in a guilty verdict and a death sentence. Several years later, Hennis won a new trial in which he was found not guilty. The only evidence against Hennis in these trials was questionable eye witness testimony.

Fast forward about twenty years. DNA technology had burst on the scene. When the original material from the rape kit taken from Katie Eastburn was sent for testing. The DNA pointed to Tim Hennis. The Army brought him out of retirement to charge him, once again, of the three murders. The military has a separate justice system and can try it's members independent of the civilian justice system, therefore double jeopardy does not attach.