Soldier says Army can't try him for triple murder

Master Sgt. Timothy B. Hennis

February 22, 2010 9:00:00 PM PST
Lawyers for an Army master sergeant accused of killing a woman and her two daughters back in 1985 say the Army can't try him.

Master Sgt. Timothy B. Hennis was convicted of killing Kathryn Eastburn and daughters Erin, 3, and Kara Sue, 5, in state court in 1986. He got a new trial and was acquitted in 1989 after the NC Supreme Court ruled there were mistakes in the first trial.

Now, he faces a third trial after the Army recalled him to active duty to begin court-martial proceedings. Prosecutors say DNA evidence links Hennis to the crime.

But Hennis's defense says in a federal lawsuit that once a soldier is discharged, he cannot be brought to court-martial for any crimes that happened before he was released from the service. They cited a 1986 Supreme Court case in their petition.

Hennis was discharged from the Army in 1986. But after his acquittal in 1989, that was recalculated and he was given an honorable discharge with credit for three more years of service.

A hearing is set for Friday on Hennis' lawsuit.

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