Local News

Potential jurors disqualified in court-martial

Posted March 3, 2010 6:42 p.m. EST

— Two more potential jurors were disqualified Wednesday from hearing the court-martial of a former Fort Bragg soldier accused of three slayings in 1985.

Master Sgt. Timothy Hennis was convicted in state court in 1986 of killing Kathryn Eastburn and her two children in their Fayetteville home in May 1985. The state Supreme Court threw out the conviction, ruling that prosecutors used graphic photos of the crime scene to inflame jurors, and Hennis was acquitted in a 1989 retrial.

The Army forced Hennis back into uniform in 2006 to face a court-martial after civilian investigators reported that DNA testing linked him to the crime. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Jury selection in the court-martial began Tuesday with a pool of 19 Army officers and enlisted personnel. One was disqualified Tuesday, and two more were dismissed Wednesday because of their views on capital punishment in relation to the case.

Defense attorney Lt. Col. Kris Poppe called for three more potential jurors to be disqualified Wednesday, but Col. Patrick Parrish, the military judge handling the case, declined to immediately rule on the request.

Jury selection is expected to last at least a week, and the court-martial could last two months.

Hennis also has filed suit against the Army, saying the military doesn't have jurisdiction to pursue the court-martial.