Family testifies in Hennis sentencing

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 9, 2010 3:01:06 PM PDT
Military jurors began sentencing hearings Friday to determine if a soldier convicted of murder in the slayings of a North Carolina mother and her two children will get the death penalty or life in prison.

Master Sgt. Timothy Hennis was found guilty of three counts of premeditated murder Thursday for the slayings of 31-year-old Kathryn Eastburn and her young daughters in their Fayetteville home in 1985.

The Fayetteville Observer reported that Jana Eastburn, 24, testified she has no memory of her mother or two older sisters and that when she saw other mothers she wished she had her own. Jana Eastburn, then 22-months-old, was at the home during the murders but was left unharmed in her crib.

Gary Eastburn, who was in Alabama at a squadron officers training school at the time of the murders, is also expected to testify Friday.

Defense lawyers will argue Monday that the jury should spare Hennis' life. The jury will then determine if Hennis will be executed or serve a life sentence with the possibility for parole.

Hennis was first convicted in state court, but appealed and was acquitted in a second trial. The case was turned over to the Army after investigators examined DNA evidence that couldn't be tested in the mid-1980s.

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