Defense wraps up in Hennis case

Master Sgt. Timothy Hennis leaves the Terry Sanford Federal Building and Courthouse after a federal hearing in Raleigh, N.C. on Friday, Feb. 26, 2010. (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)

April 6, 2010 3:37:11 PM PDT
Lawyers for 52-year-old Master Sgt. Timothy Hennis wrapped up their case Tuesday.

Closing arguments were set for Wednesday.

In 2006, the Army forced Hennis, who was retired, back into active duty to face charges in a 1985 triple slaying. According to the Army, new DNA evidence was found by civilian investigators linking Hennis to the stabbing deaths of Kathryn Eastburn and her two daughters - 5-year-old Kara Sue and 3-year-old Erin Nicole.

Prosecutors say DNA found in sperm left in the body of Kathryn Eastburn matches Hennis.

During his trial, Hennis's lawyers have been focusing on what they say are inconsistent eyewitnesses and a lack of physical evidence.

A civilian jury acquitted Hennis in 1989 after the NC Supreme Court overturned his initial conviction in 1986. Hennis couldn't be tried again in civilian court, so he was charged by the military, which can pursue the case because its court system is a different jurisdiction.

Hennis, who had adopted the Eastburns' dog several days before the killings, was arrested four days after the bodies were found when a witness who reported seeing someone in the Eastburns' driveway late at night picked him out of a photo lineup.

Eastburn's husband, Air Force Capt. Gary Eastburn, was in Alabama at squadron officer's training school at the time of the stabbings. The Eastburns' 22-month-old daughter, Jana, was at the home but was left unharmed in her crib.

The case spawned a 1993 book entitled "Innocent Victims," which was followed by a cable television miniseries.

Hennis retired from the military in 2004 and was living in Lakewood, Washington before his latest arrest.

Send pictures | Classifieds | Report A Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts
Most Popular  |  Follow abc11 on Twitter  |  abc11 on Facebook


Load Comments