State News

Defense rests in soldiers's triple murder trial

Posted April 6, 2010 12:32 p.m. EDT
Updated April 6, 2010 12:54 p.m. EDT

— Lawyers for a retired soldier forced back into the Army to face charges in a North Carolina triple slaying wrapped up their case Tuesday.

Closing arguments are set for Wednesday after attorneys for 52-year-old Master Sgt. Timothy Hennis finished presenting evidence Tuesday. His lawyers have been focusing on what they say are inconsistent eyewitnesses and a lack of physical evidence.

Hennis is charged with three counts of premeditated murder in the May 1985 deaths of 31-year-old Kathryn Eastburn and two of her daughters in their Fayetteville home. He was first convicted in state court, but won an appeal and was acquitted in a second trial. He couldn't be tried in state court again, so the case was turned over to the Army.

Prosecutors say new DNA tests linked Hennis to the crime scene, but defense attorneys argued the quality of the DNA sample was low and that authorities couldn't prove it had been stored securely over the past 25 years.

Hennis didn't testify in his own defense.

If convicted, he could face the death penalty.