State News

Court-martial set to begin for soldier charged in 1985 triple-homicide

Posted March 15, 2010

Master Sgt. Timothy Hennis leaves the federal courthouse in Raleigh on Feb. 26, 2010, after a hearing in which he challenged the Army's right to try him for three 1985 slayings in Fayetteville.

— A Fort Bragg soldier accused of killing a mother and her two daughters 25 years ago is going on trial for the third time after prosecutors say new DNA technology revealed a link to the slayings.

Opening statements are set for Wednesday in 51-year-old Master Sgt. Timothy Hennis' court-martial.

Hennis is charged with three counts of premeditated murder in the May 9, 1985, deaths of 31-year-old Kathryn Eastburn and her 5-year-old and 3-year-old daughters in their Summerhill Road home in Fayetteville.

Hennis was first convicted in state court, but won an appeal and was acquitted in a second state trial.

Hennis couldn't be tried in state court again, so the case was turned over to the Army after investigators said a new DNA test linked Hennis to the killings.

Officials said the court-martial could last two months, with up to 120 witnesses slated to be called by prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Hennis has filed a federal lawsuit to halt the court-martial, saying the Army doesn't have jurisdiction in the case because he had discharged in 1989 before re-enlisting.


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  • question_why Mar 15, 2010

    I know I've seen a movie about this story. If he is found guilty, can the state (or Feds) seize any profits he made off of selling his story ?

  • johnsod27330 Mar 15, 2010


    In case you haven't been following this story, it wasn't until a couple of years ago, when Cumberland County Detectives opened the cold case file and discovered the rape kit, that the kit was tested and matched against Hennis's DNA. Once that evidence was produced the Army brought him back on active duty to prosecute him. Hopefully this time if the jury finds him guilty he will do his time.

  • airbornemonty Mar 15, 2010

    Don't worry about our taxes working overtime. As far as I am concerned, justice has finally prevailed.
    There should never, ever be a date expiration for murder.

  • cbarnett Mar 15, 2010

    1985? What took so long? Our taxes at work again?