State News

Military judge denies defense motion for sergeant

Posted December 30, 2009 4:50 p.m. EST
Updated December 30, 2009 5:06 p.m. EST

— A military judge ruled against a defense motion to dismiss for double jeopardy the case of a master sergeant accused of killing a woman and two of her daughters in North Carolina.

Col. Patrick Parrish denied the motion Wednesday. Parrish said the Army can prosecute Master Sgt. Timothy Hennis for the same offenses for which he was acquitted in civilian court in 1989.

Hennis is charged in the deaths of Kathryn Eastburn and two of her daughters, who were killed in their Fayetteville home on May 9, 1985.

Hennis, who was stationed at Fort Bragg at the time of the murders, 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.