State News

Defense: Army Doesn't Have Jurisdiction in Triple Homicide

Posted February 4, 2008 5:54 p.m. EST
Updated February 4, 2008 9:57 p.m. EST

— Lawyers for the man accused in a 1985 triple murder in Fayetteville argued that the military does not have jurisdiction for a planned court-martial.

In a motions hearing Monday at Fort Bragg, lawyers for Master Sgt. Timothy Hennis said the military lost jurisdiction in the case because Hennis had a "break in service" after the murders.

Hennis was in the Army in May 1985, when Kathryn Eastburn and two of her three daughters, 5-year-old Kara and 3-year-old Erin, were killed. He was convicted in state court and sentenced to death, then acquitted in a retrial in 1989.

His attorneys said Monday that while his case was making its way through the state courts, his term of enlistment ended. He re-enlisted after he was acquitted.

Prosecutors argued that a discharge simply to enable a re-enlistment does not constitute a break in service.

Defense attorneys also argued that Army officials didn't articulate a reason for recalling Hennis to active duty in 2006 after he had retired.

Col. Patrick Parrish, the military judge handling the case, didn't rule on the motions.

The next hearing in the case is set for April 8.