State News

Attorneys seek cash for defense of triple slaying suspect

Posted September 10, 2009

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— Army judicial officers sparred for hours over a defense request for extra funding to pay experts in the case against a Fort Bragg soldier charged in a 1985 triple slaying.

Master Sgt. Timothy B. Hennis, 51, on Wednesday faced an Article 39 hearing, which is similar to a probable cause hearing in civilian courts. He is charged with three counts of premeditated murder in the deaths of Kathryn Eastburn, 31, and her daughters, 3-year-old Erin and 5-year-old Kara.

The Fayetteville Observer reported that Hennis will learn within weeks if the military judge overseeing the case at Fort Bragg will order the funding sought by defense attorneys.

Hennis was stationed at Fort Bragg when the bodies of Eastburn and her daughters were found at their Fayetteville home. Investigators believe that Eastburn was also raped.

Hennis was convicted in state court and sentenced to die in 1986. The North Carolina Supreme Court granted him a retrial after hearing arguments that prosecutors had overused graphic crime scene photos to inflame the jury in his original trial. A second jury acquitted him in 1989.

Hennis retired from the Army in 2004 but was ordered back to active so he could be tried in military court after an investigator with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office uncovered new DNA evidence.

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Information from: The Fayetteville Observer

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  • johnsod27330 Sep 10, 2009

    That would be true if this case was not being conducted within the military judicial system. An example is a lawyer. Regardless of your ability to pay or not you can be provided a lawyer at no cost to you. You can also request defense expert funding regardless of your ability to pay.

  • Tax Man Sep 10, 2009

    Is this man an indigent? If so, he is entitled to having his legal fees paid by the US - if not, he must pay his own legal fees. Once he has exhausted his resources, then he can apply for indigent status and then his lawyers can get the rest of their fees from the US - but his own assets must be used first. If he is acquitted and the prosecution was due to prosecutorial misconduct or some other legal misconduct on the part of the government, then he could sue for his attorney fees and costs.to be repaid by the government.