Is Tim Hennis Guilty of the Eastburn Murders?

Case summary:  On May 12, 1985, the bodies of Katie Eastburn and her daughters Kara and Erin were found slain in their home just outside Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The youngest Eastburn daughter, 20-month-old Jana, survived. 

Gary Eastburn, husband to Katie and father to the girls, was away at a military sponsored school in Alabama at the time of the murders.

Shortly after the bodies were discovered, Fort Bragg soldier Tim Hennis was charged with three counts of murder and one count of rape (Katie Eastburn).  He was convicted on all counts in 1986.

In 1988 the North Carolina Sumpreme Court granted Hennis a new trial, during which was acquitted.

Following the discovery of new evidence through DNA testing in 2005, Hennis, having retired, was returned to active duty and currently awaits a Court Martial that’s presently scheduled for February 2010.

Has there ever been a case so full of twist and turns as that of MSG Tim Hennis?

I was just a young girl when Hennis was first tried and convicted of the Eastburn murders; and just settling into high school when he was acquitted at a second trial.

So it’s not surprising that I wasn’t aware of this case until reading Scott Whisnant’s Innocent Victims and subsequently watching the movie by the same title.

But it’s a case with which I’m now obsessed.

Did Tim Hennis kill Katie Eastburn and her two young daughters?  Leave a baby, not much older than his own daughter at the time, in a crib to possibly die from dehydration?

If you took Scott Whisnant’s book as the gospel, the answer would be no.

However, I prefer to form my opinions based on the evidence.

Timothy Bailey Hennis

In the case of State of North Carolina vs. Timothy Bailey Hennis, investigators first became aware of Hennis when he, accompanied by his wife and daughter, appeared at the police precinct following a news report stating that officers were looking for the man who had recently purchased a dog from the Eastburn family.

Soon after the murders, but before Hennis approached police, an eyewitness by the name of Patrick “Pat” Cone claimed to have seen a man leaving the Eastburn home in the early morning hours of the murders; claiming, in fact, that the man had spoken to him.  Cone worked with police sketch artist to create a composite of the man.

Katie Eastburn’s ATM card was used twice following her murder.  Using bank records, police located the persons who used the ATM machine just before and after Katie.  Lucille Cook, one of the bank patrons interviewed, stated that she had seen Hennis completing an ATM transaction on the day in question.

Mary Tillison claimed to have Hennis and his car parked in front of the Eastburn home on the night the homicides occured.

But-

Cone changed his story multiple times even before the first trial.  Then, just a few short months following Hennis’ conviction, Cone was seen and charged with attempting to use an ATM card that had been stolen.

AND, the defense went in search of a young man whose early morning walks was common knowledge throughout the neighborhood.   John Rapuach appeared at the second trial, causing several of those inattendance to audiably gasp at the stunning similarities between he and Hennis.

Tillison died between Hennis’ conviction and the second trial.  When the officer who took her statement testified to her claims at the second trial, he had to admit that Tillison had not reported what she saw until 11 months after the murders.

Lucille Cook confused herself with her own testimony during the second trial.  It became clear that Cook had not recalled seeing Hennis, or anyone, when first asked by investigators; and it wasn’t until some ten months later that she suddenly remembered seeing Hennis at the ATM.

The Eastburns often used the services of fifteen-year-old babysitter Julie Czerniak, who had an odd fascination with Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald:  a Fort Bragg Green Beret who, 15 years earlier, had been convicted of killing his pregnant wife and three daughters in an eerily similar scenario.

Lastly, it was learned in the course of the second trial that Prosecutor William VanStory IV had intentionally hidden important information from the defense during the discovery phase; a serious breech of ethics.

Taking all of the foregoing into consideration, I simply could not and would refuse to convict Hennis of these horrendous crimes.

And now along comes new DNA evidence that is supposed to tie Hennis, beyond a doubt, to the crimes; said to have come from DNA that could have only been transferred during the rape of Mrs. Eastburn.

Yet for three years the case has continued to be delayed.

IF the DNA was highly conclusive, I would have to – even then - give a conviction very serious thought.

Why?  Well, first you have almost 30 years between the taking and testing of the DNA; the methods of obtaining and preservation would have to be scrutinized, especially considering that it was done before DNA became a means of identifying suspects.   And secondly, we have obvious prosecutorial misconduct from the first two trials; it wouldn’t be beyond the scope of reasoning to think investigators and/or prosecutors are intent on proving themselves right about Hennis with falsified (for lack of a better word) DNA samples.

Did Tim Hennis kill the Eastburns?  No one (living) but Hennis and God knows the answer.

However, the evidence DOES NOT prove his guilt to me.  As a juror, I would vote NOT GUILTY.

I live by the old adage that it is better to set ten guilty men free than to put one innocent man to death.

If Hennis is guilty, I could live with knowing that he will have to face his maker one day and will be rightfully judged.

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131 Responses to “Is Tim Hennis Guilty of the Eastburn Murders?”

  1. Cindy says:

    Sorry, but this guy is guilty. Hey, I totally bought into the idea that he had been falsely accused, tried and convicted. All this time I believed it. Until the DNA evidence proved differently. I cannot tell you how angry I was when I heard about the DNA results. And I don’t even want to hear that whole spiel about contaminated DNA like we heard about in that farce of a Simpson trial. Bull. That man’s sperm was found inside Katy Eastburn. Period. End of story. Lock him up and either fry him or let him rot in prison. He’s already had a whole lifetime that Katy and those poor little girls were denied. Not to mention almost killing little Jana and forcing her to live with his legacy of terror. This is the way I see it. He answered Katy’s ad about giving their dog a home. Came to her house, met her. She was a beautiful woman. Hennis and his wife were having marital difficulties, especially financially. She left to go to her parents, he visited an old gf, who rebuffed his sexual advances. So, do I think he went to the Eastburn home with murder on his mind? No. I think he was so egotistical, hardheaded and spoiled that he thought he could go there and hit on her and she might just take him up on it. I think Katy let him in. He probably used the dog as his excuse for stopping by. I believe there was testimony that Katy had called the Hennis home to ask after the dog. Knowing men in general he probably thought she was hot for him. He just strikes me as that type. Once he was in the house I believe he hit on her, she rebuffed him and he raped her. The crime scene photos seemed to show that Katy had been folding laundry in the living room prior to Hennis’ arrival. The initial attack on Katy started there. At some point she ran into her bedroom(where one of her two older daughters was sleeping), up over the bed to the other side and was killed there. The rest is conjecture, but perhaps the little girl woke up during the struggle. You see, even though I fell for the whole “wrongly accused” story it still always made a little sense to me that Hennis did it. It totally explained why he killed the two older girls, but not the baby. I don’t think Hennis is particularly bright and I don’t think he ever expected the dog issue to come up. I really don’t. He killed the two girls that could have identified him as the man who took their dog…Jana couldn’t. So even when he and his wife went to the police station he felt he was in the clear. Jana was the only witness as far as he knew. It never ceases to amaze me how defense attorney’s hail DNA evidence when it frees their clients. But when it proves them guilty it’s always vilified as contaminated or mishandled. This man raped Katy Eastburn, therefore he IS the murderer.

    • Micheleliz says:

      Cindy, YOU ARE SO SO RIGHT IN EVERY POINT YOU MAKE.  I watched a repeat of 20/20 this morning on Discovery ID and he so did it.  I am so angered that he got a lifetime and the Eastburns did not.  Even Mr. Eastburn, married again, was still so pitiful with grief you could tell and after Creepy Hennis was convicted he looked like a man who had the world lifted off his shoulders, so did Jana.  I’m happy for once that justice has prevailed!

      • Kristina says:

        If you guys knew this man you wouldn’t think these things of him. His wife on the other hand is someone they should look into. I mean being publicly humiliated knowing that your husband cheated on you?.. I think they need to reconsider te suspects and retrace what happened that night and if Angela was following Tim that night. To me, someone who knows the family very well and had spent plenty of time with them, I believe that SHE has it in her to do such brutal and nasty things to such a innocent family.

        • Scream says:

          Hennis did it. After the DNA evidence came up, he tried to claim he had consensual sex with Mrs. Eastburn. Funny how that slipped his mind when he was on trial for his life in the first two trials.

        • Bren says:

          So every sociopath is completely obviously a sociopath in their every day life?? Sociopaths trick everyone into thinking they’re normal people. It’s what they’re good at. EVERY guilty killer has a family member saying “that’s just not in his character”. NO ONE ever wants to believe that about someone they thought they knew and loved. Fact is, this evil piece of crap is guilty based on evidence, not the usual bunch of friends and family saying “he’s too nice”. Those opinions mean nothing in the court of law. What does mean something is the sperm found inside the raped, murdered victim that definitively proved to be Hennis’! Duh! So what, his wife killed the whole family and planted her husbands sperm in Katie and faked a rape somehow?? Hennis never even said he slept with Katie, even after his idiot attorneys claimed he may have! Even after they tried to pull that garbage in court, they never asked him if he had sex with her, and said NO he did NOT have sex with her when he was asked. Accusing his wife of murdering two babies?? You’re pretty sick. And not very bright,

  2. Kim Cantrell says:

    Cindy,

    Thank you for your comment.

    And no need to apologize, I love hearing other people’s opinions.

    My gut feeling tells me that Hennis is guilty. And I think the scenario you laid out is an excellent one.

    But I just couldn’t convict based on my gut feeling.

    I’m definitely not thinking OJ when it comes to the DNA. As I had said, I do look at the prosecutorial misconduct – the DAs overall behavior could have easily resulted in an overturning of any conviction had Hennis not been acquitted.

    And having worked as a legal secretary for many years, I became very familiar with how far both sides of a criminal case (or any type, for that matter) will go to be “right.” Thus my lack of trust.

    Hennis isn’t the brightest bulb, but it still seems that he committed an almost perfect crime. Everything was reasonably explained by the defense; until 2005 and the DNA came into play.

    I’m going to be anxiously watching for the outcome on this case!

    Kim

  3. Beck says:

    Do find this interesting what is being said,but what is his motive to rape and kill her?Now,he bought the dog from her and they talk for awhile. So i think Tim knew she had kids,so why would he take her as a target for rape?Now you say he’s not to bright,but yet he climb the ladder of our military,and with going into dangerous place,and keep your self alive you have to some common sense and smarts to ya.There is civilian gals out there. So this makes no sense to me.But if he was seeing her and she threaten to tell her husband cuz he wanted to break it off because he now has a child i could see follow this that it could happen to kill her.I don’t believe he is a rapist and i find it hard to believe he would kill two children.I don’t believe they follow through with the guy who looks like him and walks that same street every night.I don’t believe we will every get justice with this case.I wish Nancy Grace would dig into this case. I find this one of the most interest case sure beats the OJ case.I think he is innocent,and as far as the DNA i just don’t if i could trust it.Plus a rapist are usually repeat offenders.

    • Scream says:

      Plenty of men in the military have committed rape against military spouses before. Tim had already been at his old girlfriend’s house earlier that night and she rebuffed his advances. This made him angry, so he went back to the Eastburn house and took it out on Mrs. Eastburn. Being a rapist has nothing to do with being smart or dumb. Ted Bundy was brilliant, but he still got caught. Tim Hennis is a repeat offender. He had been accused of rape several times prior to committing this crime.

  4. shawn says:

    i happen to live next door to 367 summerhill road, where the murders ocurred i moved in next door in 2005. i knew nothing of the murders until a reporter knocked on my door one morning and told me what happened there in 1985. and the pending court-martial at fort bragg. i was curious and read everything i could on this case. i even know mr david hill. who lived across the street from the house. i lived in the fayetteville area for some 10 years in total, and and i’m not anti-police, but there are a total of 5 unsolved murders with-in a 2 block radius. the fayetteville police are either incompetent are non-caring, personally north carolina is a nice state but i beleive they are both. mr hill stated he seen a blue van parked in front of the house and approahed the driver as some people in it were acting suspicious. i know mr hill personally he’s not that kind of person. second, a paper route carrier almost hit the van parked there early in the morning and gave a descpition of a blue van and the same descpiption as mr hill of a scraggly blonde man. plus the only real evidence the police found was a left bloody size 9 foot print. But to me as a resident and knowing the neighborhood here, the real key is the only real witness. Patrick Cone, the person who said he was walking down the street that night on a foggy may night at 3:30 in the morning, and said he he encountered hennis closeby. baloney! nobody is walking down that street at that time in the morning, over the years different people have stepped forward and have said that they were walking down this street during that time. Baloney! that street is deserted no cars nothing quiet. Incidently, patrick cone shoe size is 9, and also worked at downtown methodist college were kathyurn eastburn’s atm card was used twice. you don’t have to be columbo to figure he should be a key suspect. also, a mr. raupach said he walked that way every morning to work and resembled hennis, i personally don’t believe that either. he worked at winn-dixie a few blocks away. 3:30 in the morning! nobody is there until 7am maybe a manager at the earliest 6am. what were any of them doing there at this time in the morning! Lastly, mr hill spotted the van he saw at the winn-dixie parking lot for sale a couple of weeks after the murders and reported to police who never followed up on it. the police have never looked at anyone but hennis, and have never really questioned any witness beyond thank you. tim hennis is a size 13 not 9. Like i said i live right next door the bedrooms where the murders ocurred are so close to me. i’m looking at the them right now my living room window faces them. why didn’t anyone hear anything? was forced entry used? I personally believe the person that killed the eastburn’s knew them somehow and it was done quietly. but the worst witness that has been overlooked is the babysitter, who believe it or not is or was Dr jeffrey macdonald fan. who corresponded with him in prison until the eastburn murders. 3 days and she never went to the house she baby-sitted at? why? did she have a spare key maybe? did she know any of the people at winn-dixie or patrick cone who said his girlfriend lived in the neighborhood? none of this has to my knowledge ever been checked. in this neighborhood we all believe hennis is innocent. we also believe if patrick cone knows something he may not be the murderer but knows something. As far as the Dna is concerned the police originally said they had not enough to determine if they even had sperm? now whats going on? now they do. they had hennis in custody for 3 years and had blood samples and such. by the way methodist college where kathyurn eastburn’s atm card was used is 16 miles from here. and tim hennis ould have went a million atm’s in between. no way don’t believe. downtown fayetteville is a ghetto pure and simple nobody from our side of town goes there for anything unless it’s traffic court. i don’t think this case will ever be solved and as an real witness like mr hill are getting old and some have died recently. others have disappeared. but i think the key is that blue van. incidently nobody parks on the street here. there are no sidewalks and curbs but long driveways. i really liked to know who was in that van what were they there on the day and night of the murder? does anybody have a size 9 shoe? thank you but these are mine and others thoughts here. If there was a vicious attack by a forced intruder at the time police said it happenned then someone living my house would surely haved had to hear something!

    • Scream says:

      DNA testing has come a long way. Scientists can now get results from a very tiny sample, whereas in the past, they could not.

      • Kim Cantrell says:

        Maybe so, but there is still great difficulty in obtaining good results from degraded samples – which after almost 30 years, these samples would be.

        • Bren says:

          Kim, being a scientist and geneticist myself, I can tell you that a degraded sample does NOT magically test positive linked to another DNA sample. If its degraded, you can’t get enough markers to verify, period. This was not a degraded DNA sample that had a few markers in common. It was a strong, valid match. People need to get over the fact that this guy had “no motive” and this “wasn’t in his character”. If you worked in the field of crime solving, you’d be astonished at how many crimes are committed without rhythm or reason. DNA in the victim being a solid match to the one man all the circumstantial evidence points to should be enough to prove Hennis did it, but some people just can’t get over the motive question I guess.

    • Bee says:

      Maybe Mr. Cone was, as he said, walking down the street that night at that time, because maybe he was actually the perpetrator.

  5. Wendy says:

    Wow is all I have to say to some of the comments.

    I’ve lived in Fayetteville all my life. I am a military brat, a paralegal (who worked 10 years for the original prosecutor of the original trial-although I worked for him afterwards when he became a defense attorney) and I worked with the woman who owned (and still owns AND lives in the house) that the actual murders took place. My parents live semi-close to the neighborhood as well where the murders took place. As far as Methodist College being downtown and ghetto, this is incorrect as I live on the North side of town and on the same road (Ramsey St) as Methodist College and it is almost across from one of the most expensive neighborhoods (and golf course) in Fayetteville, King’s Grant! There are also many other extremely nice neighborhoods around here and my 10 acres and nice house isn’t “ghetto” either.

    At any rate, Hennis will have to stand before God one day and will truly be judged. I am almost 40 and grew up in the 80′s and there are people (especially teenage boys) who walk around neighborhoods in early morning hours. Yes, usually into trouble, but all the same, they are out there. No doubt there have been a lot of issues with witnesses who have forgotten or confused things or simply passed away. I don’t think I could honestly remember someone using an ATM card in front of me in line (unless there was a good reason).

    Do I think Hennis had motive and opportunity? Yes. Do I think there were many things suspicious surrounding his actions during the time immediately after the murders? Yes!

    Obviously, he knew Ms. Eastburn and her situtation. There is the fact he was alone as his wife was gone. There is a record he went to an ex-girlfriend’s house that night and was shot down. There is a record that he received a telephone call from Ms. Eastburn that evening (probably checking on the dog). Did this give him the idea to try to go sleep with her? Did he use the dog thing to get into her home and then tried to sleep with her and she said no and it got ugly? Personally, I really think so. I don’t think he went there with the intention of necessarily killing all three, but just sleeping with her and then it turned ugly. I think he may have killed the older two, not because of the witness factor, but to give him more time. Obviously, if they would have woken the next day and found their mother, they could have probably gotten outside to a neighbors for help or maybe used the telephone. But not the baby. So, it gave the killer a lot more time before the discovery.

    Time for what? To burn the evidence (which Hennis was burning something in a barrel the very next morning as reported by a neighbor who had never witnessed him doing this before). Time to take his jacket to the cleaners (which Hennis did the very next morning).

    Yes, he had CQ duty (which is suppose to be 24 hours of duty on Ft Bragg without a break) that weekend, but records show he could have left several times without anybody knowing about it and used the ATM card. Why use it 10 miles away on the other side of town? Well, he was smart enough to clean up a lot of things and burn evidence and get a jacket cleaned, he surely wasn’t stupid enough to use the ATM right by his house or his work. This would definetely help throw them off his lead.

    As far as the other fellow that said he saw him–even if that man did it, how would he describe Hennis so easily and pick the car out of the parking lot at the police station? I mean it’s one thing to make up a story and description of a person AND a car, but then to actually find a person matching that description AND guess what, he owns that car too and on top of that, he just happened to have purchased a dog from Mrs. Eastburn a few days before? Wow, that boy was good! No wonder he got away with it.

    I’m a little shocked over the comments about the babysitter too. I too find legal cases extremely interesting and watch a lot of true crime stories and read the books, but it doesn’t mean I’m looking to take out anybody? That’s a big leap to me.

    Now, the size 9 shoe. Granted, not the size of Hennis’ shoe. However, how many people were at the scene of the crime? How many neighbors alone were there, PLUS EMT’s, rescue and cops galore. Did any of these people wear a size 9? Probably at least one of them did.

    I’m familiar with the legal system first hand in this town and I’ve worked in the system for over 20 years. I’ve worked on many cases helping defend people accused of various crimes (including murder), so I get how the system works. I know many of the judges, lawyers and police officers in this town. They do a great job given the influx of crime we have due to various reasons. We have I-95 going right thru our city and we are approximately the 1/2 way point between NY and FL. We are a very large AND PROUD military base. With that, we get a LOT of good and a lot of bad. Now, I know what happened during the first trial and I know how bad Billy blotched it and why it was overturned. And I can see why there was “reasonable” doubt so the second jury could not convict him.

    I have never read the book or seen the movie about the crimes, but I have seen some of the “real” stuff surrounding it. I honestly think he is guilty, but I don’t know that they will convict him this time. I think it is even more difficult in military court than in civilian court.

    However, fate has a funny way of working things out sometimes. So, who knows? And of course, this is just my opinion and I do respect everyone’s opinion as we’ve all got one.

    There is day 2 of the trial and I read about it daily in our paper, so I guess we will all know what they decide soon.

  6. Natalie says:

    I have been in the court room for 2 days. I still believe in his innocence!! There is more to this babysitter I guarantee it!!!

    • Scream says:

      Welp, you were wrong.

      • Kim Cantrell says:

        A guilty conviction doesn’t always mean one is guilty. You do know there are actually innocent people in prison, right?

        • Bren says:

          Sure, there are a lot of innocent people in jail. But those people don’t have a truckload of circumstantial evidence and DNA evidence proving they raped someone that was then murdered, along with her two kids. To believe he is actually innocent is to believe there is some giant conspiracy theory happening here, where witnesses for some reason all pointed to Hennis, Hennis’ actions pointed to his guilt and DNA evidence PROVED he had forcible sex with Katie the night she was killed. Remember, he still has NEVER said he had sex with her. He has always flat out denied it. As for the DNA, it’s a solid match, like I said.

  7. Beavis says:

    Well, the findings portion of the courts-martial has concluded with a finding of guilt. Strangely enough, I awoke the other morning to see this cheesy made for TV version of this case being played out over 3 hours where Hennis is hosed and then he faces death row while the supportive family mortgages their future, etc., and an eventual retrial sets him free. Ricky Schroeder was one of the actors portraying the defense lawyers and that is what made it real cheesy. Until the other morning, I had never heard of this case. In fact, I thought it was another far-fetched melodrama involving on screen brown-noser Ricky Schroeder until the end when they gave the screen credits describing what had happened to everyone since the retrial. I went in to my office and Googled the name only to find that the courts-martial was concluding and about to be handed to the jury. Needless to say, I was enthralled.

    The evidence in this case is either incomplete, unrefined, suspect, or regurgitated so badly that I have serious doubts about most of it. Even the DNA evidence had degraded to some extent to the point where the best matching odds were only in the low hundreds versus some of the more perfected matches in other cases reaching into the billions or trillions. At the very least, any one piece of evidence could have been successfully assailed and discredited in court. In this third trial, it seems the DNA trump card, even if it was barely legible, was the evidence that did him in. However, unless there is some other extraordinary piece of evidence, the verdict should have resulted in acquittal.

    What did Hennis in this time were two factors:

    1. The DNA evidence and his lack of testimony at trial explaining it. More about this later.

    2. The military’s justice system. Unbeknownst to most of the population, the military enjoys a 92% to 96% conviction rate at courts-martial whereas the civilian courts and federal courts are typically in the 60th percentile range. (See conviction rates — courts-martial, buried in the statistics at NCJRS.ORG — dig for it – it is there) Why the disparity between these justice systems? Well, it lies within the military system itself.

    Keep in mind that hardly any of the service JAG’s would be considered superior or extraordinary legal talent. Many of the JAG’s had their college educations fully subsidized by the military and they entered the service to repay their service obligation which is roughly 1.5 years of service for every year of college paid for by the government. In fact, many of the military’s officers fall into this category as most could not have afforded college without the government assistance they received. For officers, especially the JAGs, service life is quite easy and effortless to adapt. Officers are paid very good money and it is a sweet brotherhood the JAGs have going for themselves. In a typical courts-martial, there is practically no monumental activity that decides a given case other than the courts-martial panel. If military panels consisted of civilians, then the results would be more in line with the civilian justice systems. This is because civilians are more freely independent than military personnel.

    This doesn’t mean the panel members at the courts-martial are dishonest in anyway but the environment in which they serve has a much greater influence on the outcome of their decisions than any other legal venue in the nation. Some notorious courts-martials do result in acquittal from time to time and this gives the false impression that the military system is just as fair or just as any other. But when you consider the unusually high conviction rates in military trials, the underlying reason is that most, if not all, courts-martial panels are selected by the prosecution from the start. It’s doesn’t always guarantee a conviction but it does help.

    When charges are first brought against a military member, the JAG informs the convening authority(typically the top general for that installation or the command) who then orders charges to be preferred, investigated, and eventually referred to trial. The convening authority then asks the JAG (the same section where the prosecutors work) for a list of members who would be eligible to serve on the courts-martial panel. This list isn’t randomly selected from computer files of personnel like it would be in state or federal courts where you receive a jury summons. Instead, the JAGS have a list of curiosity-seeking types who have just always wanted to serve on a court-martial panel. The list typically includes names of buddies and acquaintances of the prosecutors or the Staff Judge Advocate for that installation who have previously expressed a desire to serve on a court-martial panel. In other words, the list contains mostly people the prosecutors know. This list is given to the convening authority who, in turn, signs a courts-martial order detailing these members to serve on the courts-martial.

    To demonstrate this point, one of the potential members in the Hennis case was removed from consideration for the panel after it was found that he knew the prosecutor, served with him in Iraq, worked a case involving one of his own troops, and just thought that the prosecutor was the greatest guy in the world. Well, good for the defense in exposing this but how did this officer ever end up on the list? Just as I described above. In the military, it’s all about who you know.

    Military panels, or juries, tend to be more submissive to authority than the civilian world. They live in a very disciplined world where they must report for duty every day, they must seek formal permission to go on leave/vacation or even to be excused or absent from duty. A failure to comply with all aspects of military life can and will result in negative or adverse consequences for the serviceman. It’s a life that is not for everyone.

    Thus, when a military member receives an order that he or she is assigned to a court-martial panel, the first thing one notices is that the order is signed by the convening authority which is always a senior officer in their direct chain of command. So being a member on a courts-martial panel doesn’t truly mean that you get to freely decide the facts because the most senior officer on that panel is always the president of that panel. These elements alone tend to let all of the officers on that panel feel submissive and respectful and duty bound to someone other than the accused. To say that this does not happen is misleading.

    A longstanding joke in the military is where the courts-martial panel is assembled for trial and the president of the court says, “Why are we conducting the findings portion of the trial? We are here for sentencing.”

    Remember, the prosecutors are not cut from the cloth of great and superior legal talent. Stripped away from their uniforms and ribbons, they are just modern day bureaucrats working in an austere government environment. So one must ask how is it that the military achieves a 90%-plus conviction rate for ALL of the services whereas the US Justice department typically hits in the 60th or, in a good year, the 70th percentile range? The youngest or most junior ranking members of a court-martial panel are most likely to acquit a member whereas the most senior, career-minded officers tend to convict. The key to victory in any court-martial is to convince the senior officers that the accused in not guilty. The dilemma is that many senior officers are career lifers who have seen it all and are quite comfortable with giving the government the benefit of the doubt. Where a civilian might question the evidence, military members are more prone to decide in favor of the prosecution simply because the evidence, regardless of quality, exists.

    Keep in mind that unlike civilian criminal trials, the military panel ONLY needs a two-thirds vote to convict. In other words, there is never a hung jury in a military trial. In the jury room, all members vote by secret ballot which are then handed to the most lowest ranking member of the panel who tallies the votes where and it is then determined if two-thirds to convict exists on any or all charges. For any charge that does NOT have the prerequisite two-thirds vote to convict, the accused is acquitted on that charge(s). Once again, keep in mind that the panel members consist mostly of lifers who think military service 24/7. There is never much flex with this type of group since they know if the trial results in acquittal, the JAG will seek out post trial interviews with the members where they can find out what went wrong and who were the outcasts. Considering that the military is a fishbowl environment, it wouldn’t be long before the convening authority would receive word on precisely what happened. Military juries tend to give the prosecution a high level of deference when it comes to cases.

    As for Hennis’ defense, I am surprised they did not focus more on the shoe prints and the skin under the wife’s nails. Since neither of these pieces of evidence connected Hennis to the crimes, it seems that these were the best pieces that could be used to build an alternative theory of the crime which might go something like this:

    A hypothetical defense for Hennis might go like this: Let’s suppose as presumed by the police, Hennis was on the prowl after he dropped off his wife in Selma. As he returned to Fort Bragg, he daydreamed of having sex with his ex-girlfriend but was blown off. He returns home and Eastburn calls to check up on the dog. A friendly conversation ensues and Hennis rolls over to her house and they have sex and he then leaves. (It seems the police assumed that there was rape involved because of the presence of semen even though other signs of rape did not exist such as vaginal tearing, etc. I could be wrong though.) While Hennis was at the house with Eastburn, the instant suspects that come to mind are the neighbors, any neighbors, that might have also had the hots for Eastburn. After Hennis leaves, a male neighbor yearning for her affections could have confronted her and this is where the melee ensued. I suggest this because 30-plus stab wounds for three family members is a lot of anger. There seems to be no history of violence or anger in Hennis’ history both before and after the crimes.

    The neighbor that would call police three days later seemed to have no reason for getting nosy from the start and it was he who testified that he saw a white car out front and asked his wife what was going on next door. Well, how many of us walk into our home and ask the wife what is going on with the car next door? What if the neighbor had tried to get something going with Ms Eastburn and his curiosity had piqued over the presence of the car? This is the same neighbor who just decides to immediately call the police three days later instead of letting curiosity set in like it would for most neighbors who might have poked around a bit more. In other words, he pushed the panic button rather quickly from what I have read of the testimony. The defense could have easily asked ANY of these other witnesses what their shoe size was and if police took blood samples from them as well. Moreover, the skin under the fingernails is typical of defensive activity by the victim so it has to match someone. It did not match Hennis. Plus, it’s more than strange that no blood was found inside Hennis’ car. Something, anything, would have transferred to that car from that house. There would have been a lot of blood in that house from 30-plus stab wounds.

    And perhaps Hennis never revealed to police that he had sex with Eastburn for fear that he would be ultimately implicated in the murders as well for which he knew he had no involvement. Also, he couldn’t admit to the sex for fear his wife would dump him. Likewise, other than the semen, there didn’t seem to be ANY trace evidence left by Hennis at the house even though they had found his semen. If he did do it, there are only two possibilities. One, he did a hell of a clean up job afterward and lived a seemingly undisturbed and unaffected life on the straight and narrow for decades thereafter. Two, the police evidence squad was thoroughly incompetent in evidence collection which may have been wonderful for either Hennis or the real killers. I guess we’ll never know.

    One other thing, for what it is worth. The defense lawyers representing Hennis did not let him testify at the courts-martial. Now, he did not have to testify. But, you know his lawyers asked him to explain the semen and his DNA. In all probability he finally relented and told them the truth that he did it or whatever. If so, then that is why he did not testify at the courts-martial. This is because the military lawyers cannot suborn perjury from a defendant. In other words, they could not call him to the stand and engage in questions where Hennis would testify that he did not do it or that he had consensual sex if those lawyers IN FACT know he is lying. This does not happen in every case, but not letting him testify typically tells the jurors that something is being hidden even though the military judge instructs them not to derive anything from this.

    • Scream says:

      It doesn’t add up that Hennis would lie about the sex so his wife wouldn’t dump him, when he was on trial for his life. He sure wasn’t afraid of her dumping him this time around, was he? It also doesn’t make sense that he would lie about the sex for fear of being implicated in the murders. Back in those days, his lawyer would have jumped at the chance to smear Mrs. Eastburn’s name.

      • Kim Cantrell says:

        Men (and women) have frequently lied about extramarital affairs, even when confronted with murder charges. it’s not something I would do but it has indeed been done. And they often came clean, usually after their conviction.

    • Bren says:

      So he admitted he tried to screw an ex girlfriend, but faced with death row, refused to say he slept with another woman?? Ridiculous. The woman was raped and his was the ONLY DNA found inside her and he STILL hasn’t admitted to sleeping with her. Kim, I’d like to know one case where the defendant lied about something that they had already done in the past when they’re faced with death! Hmm, divorce or the chair? Tough call. Also, who cares if military juries are more likely to convict? ANY jury would’ve convicted with the new evidence. There was a lot of circumstantial evidence against him- a lot. Thousands of trials are accurately based on just that, and they don’t have the benefit of DNA evidence. This case had both. A jury of monkeys would’ve convicted him. The on,y people that believe he’s innocent seem to have either read the very inaccurate book or saw the ridiculous movie about Hennis’s innocence and now are stubborn against changing their minds, even with ironclad evidence.

  8. JBM says:

    The DNA evidence and testimony corraborate everything that eyewitnesses have testified to over the past 25 years. People do not realize that the chance that the DNA found in Katy Eastburn did NOT belong to Hennis was 12.1 thousand trillion to one; let me put that with zeros, that’s 12,100,000,000,000,000,000 to 1!!
    The earth has 6.8 billion people; this number exceeds the earth’s population several times over.

    The DNA analyst testified with scientific certainty that the DNA belonged to Hennis or his IDENTICAL twin. There was no evidence or testimony whatsoever suggesting consenual sex; it was tossed out there by the Defense during closing arguement (which is NOT testimony) to create reasonable doubt. In effect, he created UNREASONABLE doubt. He might as well have said that Hennis had an identical twin brother that committed these murders. The case was tried on the evidence presented and the testimony of the witnesses. The jury had no choice but to find Hennis quilty. They did their job, and they got it right!

  9. 7-UP says:

    Beavis:

    The defense did focus on the shoe prints and had an expert testify. However, in the end the expert conceded that the bloody shoe print could have been a size 12. This hurt the defense. The DNA under the fingernail was inconclusive.

  10. Beavis says:

    JBM: The DNA evidence and testimony corraborate everything that eyewitnesses have testified to over the past 25 years. People do not realize that the chance that the DNA found in Katy Eastburn did NOT belong to Hennis was 12.1 thousand trillion to one; let me put that with zeros, that’s 12,100,000,000,000,000,000 to 1!! The earth has 6.8 billion people; this number exceeds the earth’s population several times over. The DNA analyst testified with scientific certainty that the DNA belonged to Hennis or his IDENTICAL twin.

    RESPONSE: The following article (LINK BELOW), in detail, fully negates your statistical assertions that the DNA was so well preserved that it matched to the extent of the infinite odds as you stated.

    EXCERPTS from that ARTICLE: “Master Sergeant Hennis and all his male, paternal relatives can’t be excluded as a source,” said Brian Higgins, a forensics technician at the Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory at Fort Gillem, Ga. The DNA samples were from a vaginal smear obtained during an autopsy of Kathryn Eastburn. Higgins estimated that one Caucasian male in 426 would be a match for the DNA. But Higgins also said Hennis’ DNA didn’t match samples on a bloody towel found at the Fayetteville home where she and two of her daughters were killed. And samples taken from under Kathryn Eastburn’s fingernails and in the tip of a rubber glove found at the scene were inconclusive. During cross-examination, Hennis defense team challenged Higgins’ abilities since the DNA test, which only looks for male DNA, is fairly new at the lab. Higgins has only used the newer method on three or four cases, he said. Higgins estimated that one black male in 329 and one Hispanic male in 200 would also match.

    To recap, here are the redacted statistics from the REAL TESTIMONY:

    > one Caucasian male in 426 would be a match for the DNA. Almost 16 million Caucasians would fit this profile.
    > one black male in 329 would be a match for the DNA. More than 20 million Blacks would fit this profile.
    > one Hispanic male in 200 would be a match for the DNA. About 34 million Hispanics would fit this profile.

    Because the DNA samples had degraded over time, no lab could achieve the perfectly desired 1 to 1 sextillion or greater odds which means that many just unhesitatingly choose to believe in their government and the lowest waged bidders that choose to work for these agencies.

    In all, 70 million of the world’s population would and could fit in this DNA profile. That’s about 0.02% of the world’s population since half of the 6.8 billion population of the world is female. This is still strong odds against Hennis but then you have to look at the lab that did the testing. Moreover, the skin under the fingernails of the daughter and the mother seem more important since it relates to defensive which would be more important in determining an assailant. The DNA results for this evidence was not linked to HENNIS.

    Further, albeit moot because it is erroneous, the correct term is ’12 quintillion to 1′ odds and NOT ’12,000 trillion to 1′ odds.

    Expert: DNA at crime scene a match with Hennis http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2010/03/ap_army_hennis_court_martial_032610

    JBM: The jury had no choice but to find Hennis quilty.

    RESPONSE: “NO CHOICE?” You’ve got to be kidding. Why bother having a trial at all much less a third trial? I wonder how that might progressed during the deliberations? “Well, we all saw the DNA evidence which most people don’t functionally understand. The government’s case looked good. I don’t think we need to take the time to dig through everything and be thorough. Well, WE HAVE NO CHOICE but to VOTE GUILTY. Besides, we all want to hurry back to our quarters and watch the Master’s tourney with Tiger.”

    7-UP: The defense did focus on the shoe prints and had an expert testify. However, in the end the expert conceded that the bloody shoe print could have been a size 12. This hurt the defense.

    RESPONSE: Come to think of it, I’m sure they could have found plenty of experts to come out of the woodwork and say that other eyewitnesses were confused about seeing a blue van and that through some sort of mental delusion suffered by many folks, what they really saw was a white Chevy Chevette. It seems that the overpriced defense team, referring to the civilian lawyer only becauase the military lawyers are free (you get what you pay for), really did a lousy job on this case. Hennis’ civilian lawyer was also the one who handled the adultery case for the female B-52 pilot many years ago. He seems like all show and no tell.

    7-UP: The DNA under the fingernail was inconclusive.

    RESPONSE: There should have been a lot more focus on this AND the fact that there were bloody footprints leaving the house that had been partly washed away by the rain prior to the discovery a few days later. If this is the case, then how is it that there was absolutely no trace evidence in the car? Hennis’ car and home revealed nothing for police.

    The bottom line is that good defense lawyers would have carefully picked apart every sliver of evidence. For example, I have not seen ANY SPECIFIC evidence by either side about the shoes. What brand and type were they? Forensic labs, especially the FBI, have huge catalogs of just about every piece of clothing and accessory imaginable just for the purpose of this type of investigation. Once you nail down the type of shoe, you can then try to determine who sold them and where. This might have been especially helpful if you could determine that ONLY the post exchange sold the shoes which means the purchase would be typically related to a serviceman or a family member. The exact sole imprint or impression can be used to determine the precise shoe size. What kind of forensic expert testifies, more like ‘testilies’ that a shoe could be a 9 or a 12? If we knew the type of shoe, the police could have used a composite photograph to interview Hennis’ friends to see if they remember him wearing them. Family photo albums would have also been a great source used to determine if Hennis owned a pair of the shoes. Remember the OJ case and the bloody footprints matching the expensive Bruno Mali shoes? Remember the associated credit card receipt when he bought them and the NBC photo depicting him wearing them? This is how a real case is done.

    It seems that the state dropped the ball on all of this type of forensic evidence or were just to inept to make sure that they not only had a solid case but also to make sure they had the right guy. This sloppiness could only survive in a half-assed state judicial system like North Carolina’s where mediocrity is the order of the day but it is hardly deserving of hinging a man’s life on it. As I have previously alluded, Hennis might very well be guilty but NOT based on the evidence we have seen to date. As for the magical DNA evidence, how can this be trusted to a point of convincing certainty when we are relying on the North Carolina SBI crime lab? On the surface, it may very well seem pat and in order to the average citizen, military juror, or even some lawyers. But if you scrape beneath the surface, you’ll always find flaws and inconsistencies. Each and every time but sometimes these flaws aren’t enough to change a person’s mind but other times it’s more than enough to create reasonable doubt.

    It will be interesting to see the opinions on this case from the appellate levels. Appeals are automatic in ALL general courts-martial convictions AND a sentence of death will guarantee it makes it to the highest military court, where I am sure there will be no shortage of lawyers from both sides eagerly volunteering to make their input.

    A couple of side notes. I was surprised that the military did not employ circuit level trial counsel (mostly more experienced field grade officers) for this case as they usually do in General courts-martial. The odds are that Hennis will receive a sentence of death for these crimes. Lastly, to demonstrate just how perverse the military system can really be, the panel members could return a punishment of a reprimand, a $20 fine, or even no punishment at all. While this is wholly unlikely, it is worth noting that the military justice system is flawed in many areas as it has no minimum punishments. Even if a sentence of death was decided by the courts-martial panel, the convening authority has the option of disapproving all or part of a sentence.

    • Scream says:

      “> one Caucasian male in 426 would be a match for the DNA. Almost 16 million Caucasians would fit this profile.
      > one black male in 329 would be a match for the DNA. More than 20 million Blacks would fit this profile.
      > one Hispanic male in 200 would be a match for the DNA. About 34 million Hispanics would fit this profile.

      Because the DNA samples had degraded over time, no lab could achieve the perfectly desired 1 to 1 sextillion or greater odds which means that many just unhesitatingly choose to believe in their government and the lowest waged bidders that choose to work for these agencies.

      In all, 70 million of the world’s population would and could fit in this DNA profile. That’s about 0.02% of the world’s population since half of the 6.8 billion population of the world is female.”

      Yet none of those people claimed to have sex with Mrs. Eastburn. Only Hennis did. His mistake, huh?

    • Bren says:

      YOU have got to be kidding, actually. So, according to you, one of those very very very few people in that pool or Hennis’ family member committed the crime, yet ALL the other evidence pointed to him?! Besides that, you do not seem to know much about DNA. I do and I can tell you, you’re statistics are wrong and would be conditional anyway. You can say “it could’ve been one of these other 127 individuals” if there is no other evidence about the defendant, but if there is a stack a mile high pointing to his guilt BESIDES the DNA, do you really expect any jury to think there’s the slightest chance another resident of the same town, who knew the same person and talked to her the same day in that DNA pool really killed them, and then somehow all the circumstantial evidence pointed to Hennis instead of him?? Think about it.

  11. 123 says:

    @ Beavis….
    Higgins did the testing acording to acuracy standards at USACIL….they assess at a 95% confidence standard (19/20).

    The NC SBI measures accuracy to a higher standard of error:

    “Sperm found in the body of Kathryn Eastburn matches the DNA of Army Master Sgt. Timothy B. Hennis, a DNA expert testified Monday at Fort Bragg at Hennis’court-martial for the Eastburn murders.
    The odds of another Caucasian having the same DNA are 12.1 thousand trillion to one, testified Jennifer Hopper, a former forensic anaylst”

  12. shawn says:

    earlier i made a post on this case dated january 16th. well i was totally wrong, i hope after this post, maybe some others will finally realize this man is guilty. like a said earlier i live at 371 summerhill road my house is directly next door. i went to the corner gas station after a good snowstorm and there was a car blocking my driveway. i honked and the man in the car moved a short distance away but kept staring at the murder house at 367 summerhill. so i walked back to see who it was. and as i did he drove off in a hurry. a had a face to face encounter. big man glasses, middle-age. the next day i went to the same store for some beer and cigarettes and looked over at some newspapers. and there was a picture of tim hennis in 1985 and as he looks today. i said holy smoke! thats him. what was he doing in my driveway staring at that house? first of all the man only glanced at me, i got a terrific look at him. his eyes never went off that house. his eyes were cold and he was somewhere else. i’m a former us soldier, california army national guard soldier, and a US MARINE. it totally freaked me out. the three nice middle-age ladies who live there have been my friends and neighbors. that DNA matched him and thats that. he did it period his eyes told the story. i called army cid and told an mp my encounter with this man. take it from an old vet. this man is guilty. i used to escort prisoners to court-martial in the marines and to the brig. the really bad ones never admit no matter what evidence against them they did it. it’s not in them. they are not normal people it would destroy them. hopefully this will now bring closure to my neighborhood.

  13. natalie says:

    Shawn,
    REALLY?? If I were you I would worry about your own issues!!! If you did indeed see Hennis and the police did not listen you could have called the media. Are you even living there now?????? NOPE

  14. Sharon says:

    I am becoming obsessed with this case. Unfortunately, there are so many sources of information, some not always accurate.

    So, I heard that Cone identified Hennis as walking on Summer Hill Road with a black garbage bag over his shoulder. Experts for the defense say that the murderer would have been covered in blood. But let’s suppose that the garbage bag contained his bloody clothing. This means that in order for Hennis to have committed the murder he must have brought over a complete change of clothing (including socks and shoes)to the Eastburn’s house. This kind of blows the theory that he just came over to have sex with Mrs. Eastburn and then spontaneously killed her when he was rebuffed.

    It is also very suspect that he could get into his car wearing a bloody jacket and manage not to get even a small speck of blood inside the car.

    This case is fascinating. I’m not sure why they they never pursued other people and theories for the crime. Even if they did, this case has many interesting angles, but IMHO no smoking gun. I know some of you see the DNA evidence as a smoking gun, but in my opinion it is not.

    • Scream says:

      “So, I heard that Cone identified Hennis as walking on Summer Hill Road with a black garbage bag over his shoulder. Experts for the defense say that the murderer would have been covered in blood. But let’s suppose that the garbage bag contained his bloody clothing. This means that in order for Hennis to have committed the murder he must have brought over a complete change of clothing (including socks and shoes)to the Eastburn’s house. This kind of blows the theory that he just came over to have sex with Mrs. Eastburn and then spontaneously killed her when he was rebuffed.”

      Yep. Sounds like he had her murder planned out very well in advance.

    • Bren says:

      Actually, he headed to his ex’s FIRST, probably assuming that she wouldn’t rebuff him and that he would spend the night, so bringing a change of clothes is not unusual. As for needing to bring a change of shoes and socks, do you actually think a stranger passing him at NIGHT could see blood spatter on his shoes or socks, which would be covered?? DNA CAN be too degraded to make a solid comparison possible. Trust me, this was not. People are willing to believe anything if it stirs up controversy. Or you believed the tripe in “innocent victims” and are too stubborn to see all the evidence, including solid DNA evidence, for what it is. I am a true crime buff as well as a geneticist that works with DNA samples daily, and I can tell you, you’re wrong about this case. Sorry to blow the conspiracy theory angle for you all.

  15. JJB says:

    Dr. John Butts, NC Chief Medical Examiner, testified that during Katy Eastburn’s autopsy on May 13, 1985, there were “abundant and intact spermatozoa”. To him, this indicated that that the spermatozoa were deposited “at, or near, the time of death”. Upon cross examination, Dr. Butts did indicate that sperm can survive inside a woman 1-2-3 days after being deposited. However, due to the woman bathing, using the toilet, and her body’s enzymes breaking down the sperm (head and tail separate), there would be far less intact spermatozoa, as well as fewer present.
    Brian Higgins from the US Army Criminal investigation Laboratory (USACIL) is a forensic DNA Examiner at Ft. Gillem, GA. Mr. Higgins testified that USACIL conducts testing to a 95% confidence interval, or 19/20. This is the same testing used to identify fallen Soldiers, in combat or from multi-victim incidents (such as a helicopter crash) to notify the next of kin.
    These are some of the brief highlights of his analysis and testimony:
    As for the skin under the fingernails of Katy and Erin Eastburn: Hennis could not be excluded or included (basically inconclusive, but he did not testify that is was NOT from Hennis).
    As to the vaginal smear: Hennis could not be excluded.
    In another test (Mini STR) Mr. Higgins analyzed 17 areas. Hennis was a match in all 17 areas. Had there been a match in even 16 of 17 areas, Hennis would have been EXCLUDED.
    On April 4, 2007 at 11:19 AM, Special Agent Barnes, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, took a court ordered cheek swab from MSG Hennis. The sample was placed in an evidence bag, and turned over to the evidence custodian.
    Ms. Jennifer Hopper, Duke Univ Med Center testimony:
    DNA can break down into smaller pieces; in layman’s term, it does not really fade away, like a photograph, just less pieces to analyze. Anything with a nucleus can be analyzed. Only identical twins have the same DNA. Even if one profile from a DNA sample does not match, it is 100% EXCLUSIONARY.
    From the Katy Eastburn sperm fraction from the vaginal swab, there was a complete major profile that belonged to Hennis. The minor profile of Katy Eastburn could not be excluded.
    She compared the known blood standard from Katy Eastburn, and the known DNA standard from the cheek swab from Hennis to the vaginal swab. Comparing the results to the NC database of Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic and Lumbee Indian, the chance that the DNA belonged to somebody other than Hennis was 12,100,000,000,000,000,000 to 1. That means that the 6.84 billion people on earth are unrelated to the sperm fraction DNA profile. The numbers are even greater for the other 3 groups.
    The DNA analysis, coupled with Dr. Butt’s testimony, corroborates the eyewitness accounts of those that saw Hennis that night and during the use of the ATM card, his use of the burn barrel on Saturday, his time gaps during CQ, and his 1981 White Chevette being sighted at various times by several eyewitnesses. Hennis is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    • Bren says:

      You’re exactly right. I think it’s pure fantasy that people want to believe in when they say they think he’s innocent.

  16. Crime Watcher says:

    Only ONE question for all that seem to know so much, was the DNA evidence based upon a 25 yr old vaginal swab that had been tested previously against Hennis’ DNA, WAS this the only NEW evidence upon which he is facing death, AGAIN ? Just curious, they did such a bang up job the first time around I’m sure they have it right this time…..

    • Serena says:

      Back in the late 1960s, a nurse in Saskatchewan was murdered and DNA was taken from her vagina. It lay in a box for almost 30 years. They tested it in the late 90s and low and behold, it exonerated David Milgard.

      Thank God we don’t have the Death Penalty in Canada right?

  17. tbh says:

    crime watcher yes this is from a 25 yr old vaginal swab & yes this was the only reason they brought it back to trial. How can we believe in forensic science when they take out more than one case at a time or more than one piece of evidence to the crime? It’s called contamination they can’t even get that right. The lady was fired for doing this that tested the evidence in this case. so if u want to tell me that forensic science has come a long way in 25yrs still has a long way to go be for its done right…

    ur right and he will be able to go to heaven because he didn’t do these murders The only sad thing is the panel of 14 will have to live with that decision and when it comes time to leave this earthly world they will have to answer to GOD and he will decide their faith. I wouldn’t want to be in there shoe’s when that time comes because u know someone isn’t telling the truth from that panel.

    He didn’t do the crime; there is no evidence that puts him in that house. The reason he went on with his life is because he was found innocent, what would u have done??? Stopped living I don’t think so!!!!!! There will never be a winner is this case both sides will always lose. i think that those of u that have looked at this in a mannerly way just reading things from the internet or newspaper articles and found him innocent i would just like to ask the panal what made them come to there findings. IN Gods NAME AMEN

    • Scream says:

      “No evidence that put him in the house”? He said he had sex with her there!

    • Bren says:

      Um, the was ONE sperm sample. And you obviously know nothing about DNA if you think adding blood (of which was the only organic sample that would’ve been in “with” the sperm sample, as well as Katie’s vaginal swab- and she’s a female) will somehow magically create a DNA profile identical to the defendants! Hello people, a contaminated sample CAN’T be tested!! You think if a drop of blood from one of the other FEMALE sample donors, or, say, epithelials from a lab tech got into the sample, it would take a sample from a man with a different genetic profile, and voila! It makes one that is identical to the man on trial? Read up on DNA. It doesn’t work like that.

  18. Vickie says:

    Natalie,

    I also believe there is more to the babysitter. She was infatuated with the McDonald case(that was so much like this one) she wrote to McDonald in prision. It is amazing that this wasn’t looked into more. I am not saying that just because they were in contact she is guility however, I do believe it should have been looked into. I have known Tim Hennis for 10 years are so and I trust him with not only with my life but my children and grandchildren. I do believe that who ever commited this crime should pay without a doubt even if it were Tim, but knowing him as I do and seeing him in many situations as a leader and a friend I refuse to ever believe he could have ever done such a horriable thing.

  19. natalie says:

    Vickie,
    I sat through the entire trial. I even saw Julie Czerniak, She never testified though. I appreciate your relationship with Tim. I got to know his family throughout the trial and my heart breaks for everyone involved. This case has too many holes too many unanswered questions which is due to shotty investigation. I will never forget this case nor will I give up on his appeals.

    • Scream says:

      Scary to think of women actively trying to get a child murderer out of jail.

      • Kim Cantrell says:

        As a female, I take offense to such an accusation. Women are the stauncher of defenders for children but we are just as strongly defenders of those who may be wrongly convicted of a crime. Show us REAL PROOF of his guilt and we’ll show you a lynching.

        • Serena says:

          REAL PROOF?

          The DNA stated there was a 1 in a trillion chance it wasn’t him.

          There are less than 1 in a trillion people in this world.

          May I ask why you so deeply want to believe in his innocence? Do you have some kind of personal connection to him?

          Was it because he was handsome and a cute daughter at the time of the murders?

          Is it because you want to believe in Hollywood fairytales in which leftists paint right wingers as bad people?

          What’s your fascination with this man? Perhaps you are just a bit delusional, like that babysitter who corresponded to McDonald (not many people wanted to believe that that handsome doctor did it either)

          • Kim Cantrell says:

            Oh, I chuckled at this. No one has referred to me as a leftist. Ever. I’m one of those right wing nuts, according to my friends.

            That said… I won’t go into a long debate with you. You’ve made up your mind and obviously want to resort to insults to force your opinion down my throat (pretty leftist in itself). However, I will say this, Tim Hennis was tried and convicted. He then won an appeal and was acquitted. Then the US government used a back-ended method of dragging him in again without double jeopardy attaching. If he been a civilian, this matter would have been over.

            And, yes, I do believe he could have not mentioned an affair with Mrs. Eastburn until now….at the advice of his attorneys. Happens all the time. All. The. Time.

            I have no special attachment to Tim Hennis.. I strongly believe in the death penalty and I believe in DNA. But I also believe in fairness as much as I do justice. If it hadn’t been more than two decades since this came up, I may feel different. If there weren’t so many witness who “forgot” or were so obviously coached, I might feel differently. If there wasn’t a District Attorney who was actually sanctioned for his behavior in the first trial against Hennis, I might feel differently..

            But there is too much that’s went on in this case for me to just say, “Everything is exactly as it appears [including the DNA sampling and testing], so put the man down like a rabid animal.”

            It may not be what you want to hear but it is what it is and I hold firm to my opinion. After all, that’s all it is. If it doesn’t match yours, who cares?

  20. Sundrop says:

    Vickie:

    I agree with you. However, the appeals process does not deal with new evidence only possible errors made during the trial. Remember, this case has not been investigated since 1985 and 1989 and then the work was poor.

  21. natalie says:

    Vickie,
    It was a miscarriage of justice!!! Not to mention the Panel already had there minds made up from the beginning and I know that for a FACT! My husband works with those people. I knew many of them personally. They did NOT make the right choice!! It was horrifying!!!

  22. tbh says:

    Well if u know that it was a miss trial then u need to do the right thing, get in touch with his attorneys to tell them what u know. I know that with the first trial that was one of the issues. Tim’s attorneys can use that in appeals. R u the one that sat behind the first row??? The family isn’t doing the greatest having a hard time exceping the out come.

  23. Sundrop says:

    If you have evidence that any of the jury members discussed this case with any outsider while the trial was going on, then you need to come forward now. This is information that has to be acted on now and not through an appeal.

  24. Vickie says:

    tbh,
    I wasn’t at the trial and I know the family is in more shocked than us. I would help the Hennis family anyway I can and they know that.

  25. NCParalegal says:

    TBH,
    Do Natalie and I know you? I am wondering if we spoke to you during the trial. We were the dynamic duo that sat together each and every day.

  26. tbhb says:

    why is it you say he isn’t the “Hennis isn’t the brightest bulb, but it still seems that he committed an almost perfect crime. Everything was reasonably explained by the defense; until 2005 and the DNA came into play.” Has there been something he has done to make you say this…..
    Well when it comes to the babysitter that is because the investigators stopped when Tim walk into there office!!!! They never looked at anything after that except what pertained to Tim Hennis & family…….Someone said it on another site “this man has been framed, falsely accused & it’s sad they he has had to go thru all he has!!!!!!
    So if you are reading this & know of any information about the jurors or ??? you need to do the right thing TELL HIS ATTORNEY’S so they can do what is needed…..
    Shawn please tell me what kind a car was he driving (a little white one)!!!!!???? please tell us the truth or really are you the killer!!!!

    Well that is all for now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. 7-up says:

    Vickie:

    The trial that just ended – you didn’t miss anything. The trial represented nothing of the real truth about this case.

  28. tbh says:

    NC paralegal,
    Yes u saw me at the trial. Sorry I’m not at liberty to say who I am at this point in time. But if what u r saying about some jurors u need to come forth.

  29. Kim Cantrell says:

    It was a miscarriage of justice!!! Not to mention the Panel already had there minds made up from the beginning and I know that for a FACT! My husband works with those people. I knew many of them personally. They did NOT make the right choice!! It was horrifying!!!

    Natalie, if you are absolutely certain about this, then you need to contact both the prosecution and defense. A most important part of being a juror is to enter a trial with an open mind; if proof can be shown that one or more did not, it can be grounds for a new trial.

    why is it you say he isn’t the “Hennis isn’t the brightest bulb, but it still seems that he committed an almost perfect crime. Everything was reasonably explained by the defense; until 2005 and the DNA came into play.”

    Has there been something he has done to make you say this…..

    It may not be a popular sentiment, but anyone having an extramarital affair – especially one that seems a little one sided – and appears to be rather careless with his finances, isn’t too bright. But let me be clear, that is my opinion, not fact.

    For the purposes of this post: does it make him a killer? No.

    • Scream says:

      Look at all the rapist groupies–this is disgusting. I’ll bet none of you knew he was accused of rape several times before he murdered Mrs. Eastburn, did you?

      • Kim Cantrell says:

        Oh boy, now it’s become obvious that you have a personal vendetta against Hennis. No one else would the time and effort to insult so many people.

        • Serena says:

          You see, Anti-Death penalty advocates like Kim only believe in DNA when it’s appropriate to promote their cause.

          It’s really very simple, in the past, Anti-Death Penalty advocates used cases in which the person on death row was exonerated through DNA.

          But now, the tables have turned and a man let off of Death Row has been put back on it through DNA.

          Funny how Anti-Death Penalty Lobbyists only believe in the Genetic Word of God when it fits their agenda?

          Funny indeed……

          BTW, David Milgard was let off from murder nearly 30 years later with the help of DNA!

        • Bren says:

          A vendetta? He’s a convicted child murderer who has raped before! It’s disgusting he had ANY defenders. Who WOULDN’T have a “vendetta” against someone proven to have brutally slaughtered two babies and their mother after he raped her?? DNA doesn’t work sometimes and not others. If you “believed in DNA” you would know ts man is guilty. I can say that I firmly hate child murderers. I guess that makes me some nut with a vendetta. Lol. Unbelievably ridiculous.

  30. NCParalegal says:

    TBH:
    I did go to the attorneys and voiced the facts that we were informed of. It made no difference at all. I hope that maybe the reasoning is simply for the appeals process. I would imagine that if a question arose regarding the panel and their lack of ability to follow the law that the defense would likely have a better chance at the appeals process. I could name several questions of law that were raised during this trial; however I am not quite sure how the military appeals process works. I hope and pray that Tim is given the opportunity to win an appeal. The simple fact that other than the sperm found in Katie; there was no other evidence that pointed to him as a murderer. I am passionate about the law, but unfortunately not all people are afforded the opportunity at a fair and unbiased trial by jury.
    There is no possibility that the Constitution will change giving the Federal gov’t the right to prosecute a person even after they are cleared by a state court, but I do believe there should be other issues addressed or facts to be proven before that process occurs. Would he have been on the federal gov’ts radar had CC law enforcement officers not moved their offices and come across the evidence from the Eastburn murders? I think not. Tim was convicted because of the evolution of science, and the simple fact that CC wanted to pin this on someone. It was a modern day witch hunt.
    The defense was not afforded the same level of investigative opportunities that the prosecution was given. Evidence that was missing or tampered with, surely would have been an issue in a “normal” court setting. The jury in a civilian court would have been explained “reasonable doubt” more thoroughly than in the military. The fact that money to pay the defense witnesses would have been an issue to the courts in a civilian trial; when in the military it was more of, “sucks to be you.” How can any court believe that equal footing is only provided to the rich when it comes to your life and freedom?

  31. 7-up says:

    There’s a big difference between jury members discussing a case that they are serving on and you believing that the laws were misinterpreted by the judge or whoever during the trial. If you went to the attorneys and voiced your concerned that jury members were discussing the case outside the courtroom, then obviously the lawyers did not believe you. If there is evidence of this actually occurring, then this would be grounds for a mistrial.

    What do you mean by “The fact that money to pay the defense witnesses”? All the defense experts were paid by the Army (Government).

  32. 7-up says:

    There’s no evidence that Mr. Hennis was having an extramarital affair.

  33. NCParalegal says:

    The defense money had dried up a year prior to the hearing. A large majority of the defense witnesses had not been paid for their services and when they asked for more money; the court refused a larger pocketbook. I had spoken to some of the investigators and they had not been paid and could not continue their work because of it.

    It was not that the defense atttorney did not “believe” me; however when the PAO people were questioned they denied talking to me about it. The panel talked about the case to the point of stating that they had already made their minds up on day two of the trial. It didn’t even matter at that point about the sperm. That evidence just drove the nail further. The panel/jury members are not to discuss cases outside of the court room, but these members did. My husband was stalked at work by one of them; and that member wanted to know my views on the case.

    In my opinion; I sure hope Spinner’s appellant brief is much more convincing than his court room arguments.

  34. 7-up says:

    The defense money had dried up a year prior to the hearing. A large majority of the defense witnesses had not been paid for their services and when they asked for more money; the court refused a larger pocketbook. I had spoken to some of the investigators and they had not been paid and could not continue their work because of it.

    >>The defense money had not dried up a year prior to the hearing. Where are you getting your information from? The defense money never dried up but rather the judge refused to grant the defense motions to continuing paying certain expert witnesses-investigators are not expert witnesses. In fact, the judge granted the defense a small amount of money to continue paying at least two expert witnesses in April – just prior to trial. We need to keep the facts straight here.

    It was not that the defense attorney did not “believe” me; however when the PAO people were questioned they denied talking to me about it. The panel talked about the case to the point of stating that they had already made their minds up on day two of the trial. It didn’t even matter at that point about the sperm. That evidence just drove the nail further. The panel/jury members are not to discuss cases outside of the court room, but these members did. My husband was stalked at work by one of them; and that member wanted to know my views on the case.

    >>The main question is did anyone of the Panel members talk to you or your husband about the case during the trial? Second and third hand hearsay information is no good. There are many cases were jury members, once selected, have their minds made up and will not change it, so that it not unusual. If you have direct information, meaning told to you or your husband, that someone from the jury talked to you about the case during the trial then you have a moral duty to come forward and file a report/complaint now.

    In my opinion; I sure hope Spinner’s appellant brief is much more convincing than his court room arguments.

    >>Here we agree. The defense team did a mediocre job in this case.

  35. tbh says:

    this is kind a getting interesting,
    so 7-up u have a lot of info about this so ur saying that the defense team did just ok?
    mediocre: (moderate to inferior in quality; they improved the quality from mediocre to above average; he would make a poor spy;
    of no exceptional quality or ability; a novel of average merit; only a fair performance of the sonata; in fair health; the caliber of the students has gone from mediocre to above average; the performance was middling at best;
    poor to middling in quality; there have been good and mediocre and bad artists;)

    it sounds like everyone (since June) that is speaking on this site feel that the panel made a big mistake, so some of us don’t have all the facts but others have different facts.

    NCParalegal: I do know that u spoke with Tim’s attorney’s but i didn’t know that it was about this i thought it was something else.
    because of this ( The panel/jury members are not to discuss cases outside of the court room, but these members did. My husband was stalked at work by one of them; and that member wanted to know my views on the case.) u have to tell someone speak with Billy Richardson in Fayetteville he will do something about this. The sooner we get that in the sooner we can do something about it….We need to get him out of jail…..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. NCParalegal says:

    I am not going to argue what was said to me nor my husband regarding the information spoken by a panel member, because I believe some of us know exactly what I was referring to in my previous posts. I am not stupid enough legally, to say something without knowing the legal remedies and or ramifications of my spoken/written words. EVERY angle has been covered. I spoke to whomever I could about the “leaks” and have spoke to not one, but TWO attorneys who work military law. I can do nothing more than I already have, even with my integrity at stake, I did my part.
    TBH: what did you believe I had spoken to the attorneys about? Billy was made aware of these issues as well. It is common place for us to be in the same places at the same time, and usually talk is directed at the misjustice.

    We have a case coming up with Stelle, I am sure he will approach me on my views during awkward moments of silence. LOL…like my views actually matter. Yes, I am sure it will be frivolous small talk at best.

    Without the appeals courts decision, Tim will sit where he is for now. I am saddened with the mere fact that the appellant process takes so long.

    That is all.

  37. tbh says:

    that is really to bad that no one did anything about that. that panal member or members should have been taken off the panal or reprimanded. I hope that ur husband isn’t continueing being stalked..
    Ur not in the military court system, so how is it u will run in to him. So when u mentioned it to Stella about the panal what was his reaction?? So why do u think they never caller the babysitter?? ya i was told it can take 5-10 yrs for the appeal to either get started or be heard, thats not good.

    His daughter had her baby & it is sick (CF cystic fibrosis) so that has been really tuff on her because she did a lot of talking with her dad, so we r just taking one day at a time!!!!!

    Has anyone heard about the federal court system on his appeal???

  38. 7-up says:

    The correct way to have handled this situation would have been after the lawyer was told about the jurors talking the matter should have been brought to the attention of the judge. The judge then should have held a closed hearing on the matter and placed all those involved under oath. Even if nothing ever came of the situation at least this way it would have been officially on the court record via transcripts. If something is not officially on the record it can’t be raised at appeal.

    Winning an appeal would be great if that can be achieved; however, a solid and strong defense will still need to be waged especially against the DNA results and it was not in the recent trial. The simple fact is this case still needs a new investigation and nothing no less.

  39. NCParalegal says:

    I do not believe I mentioned I did not work with military law. I did say that I was not familiar with the intricacies of the military appeals process. I would imagine there are some similarities with the civilian process.
    Aside from someone coming forward with some new concrete facts; the simple fact that he never admitted to having sex with Katie may be what ultimately sealed his fate.
    Lets be perfectly honest here, he in fact had sex with her, but why even afer facing death would you be willing to sacrifice yourself and possibly the feelings of your family?

  40. 7-up says:

    If you have total confidence in where the swabs have been over the past 20+ years and believe the DNA process that was used by the SBI and then the results then you believe the two had sex. Well, I’m not convinced of any of this yet and there well maybe other explanations.

    Even if he had admitted it no jury would be able to separate the sex and murders thereby sealing his fate and possibly ending any appeals.

    • Scream says:

      Of course they won’t be able to separate the sex and the murders, since Hennis claimed to have no sexual contact with Mrs. Eastburn during the first two trials and then miraculously “remembered” having sex with her in the third. He raped her, he murdered her, he murdered her little girls, and you make me sick.

    • Bren says:

      I will explain this again- you CANNOT contaminate a sample of DNA from some other guy and end up with a magic exact replica of the defendants genetic profile. A contaminated sample will show TWO sets of DNA or will not be readable. You think they threw the swab in the back of the car, it picked up dirt, dust, gum, etc and poof! Hennis’ DNA appeared??? Read up on DNA profiling. Please. Save yourself.

  41. natalie says:

    Kim,
    Let me make myself clear, I was there every single day during the trial. The concerns were raised. We did what we were morally supposed to do by telling the Defense and their Paralegals. As far as the Judge Yes Spinner tried to declare a mistrial. And guess what? It did not work. And I am sure as a Legal Secretary you are aware of just why Spinner did that. For the Appeal….. I love how people on here assume we did nothing. I also love how someone on here is not at liberty to discuss who they are. COME ON!!!!!!!! SERIOUSLY??????? TBH???? We are all on the same team right?
    As for NC PARALEGAL She will indeed see Stelle again and I am certain I will too. Yes it is due to our jobs.

  42. 7-up says:

    It is routine for any defense lawyer to move for a mistrial in any criminal case. Spinner moved for a mistrial a number of times during the Hennis trial for a number of reasons. However, never was it for jurors possibility talking about the case outside the courtroom. To preserve an issue for appeal the issue must be known – addressed in a open court when the move for a mistrial is raised or during a closed hearing. No one on this board would have been present during a closed hearing – I am not aware of one happening on this issue.

    I am not implying that the information was not passed along to the lawyers. I am sure it was. I am just wondering how serious it was taken. If it was taken serious the individuals would have been placed under oath and questioned by attorneys and the judge.

  43. Kim Cantrell says:

    Natalie, at the time I posted, I did not see you had told anyone. Now that I realize you’ve done so to several propers, in my opinion, you’ve met your moral and legal obligations.

    Can anyone post the steps of a military appeal? Are they equivelant or similar to state appeals?

  44. Troy Barnhill says:

    My name is Troy Barnhill and I sat in on this trial as I was the court liason military policeman at the time .. I felt he was innocent at the time because the main witness was a known drug user and and facing charges of his own so he had every reason to lie and not one reason to tell the truth . It also seemed to me that the d.a. Just wanted to get this over with . I actually had a 100 dollar bet that he would not be convicted with another m.p. Which I promptly paid him . That’s alot of money too a soldier and that should tell you how strong I felt about his innocence . But the strength of the pictures of the murdered family was the clincher at the trial considering how jurors were crying from viewing them . Which I understand .. But I still believe in his innocence .. And his young beautiful wife sat in that courtroom everyday believing in him and I believe she knew and still knows him better than anyone of us and the jurors

  45. 7-UP says:

    Hennis lawyers given more time for appeal
    FayObserver.com
    By Drew Brooks Lawyers handling Timothy Hennis’ federal appeal will have additional time to file documents on whether the Army had jurisdiction to convict …

    http://www.leagle.com/unsecure/news.do?feed=yellowbrix&storyid=148522512

  46. 7-Up says:

    The Timothy Hennis/Eastburn Murders case will be featured on ABC 20/20 Show this coming Friday Sept. 17th. Check your local TV listings.

  47. [...] After you read the book, be sure to see my editorial on this case titled Is Tim Hennis Guilty of the Eastburn Murders? [...]

  48. Something stinks says:

    exactly how did they prove that eastburn was raped?

  49. 7-UP says:

    >>exactly how did they prove that eastburn was raped?

    The didn’t. They assumed it because semen was found inside of her.

    Great simple question.

    • Mikdan7 says:

      jhow did  they ‘prove’ eastburn was raped?  Maybe they just assumed, with the ripped underwear, bruises, stab wounds, disheveled  house, and murdered family members,along with the knowledge that by most accounts Ms Eastburn was a happily married, virtuous mother of three babies, that the sex was most likely not consensual.  You dimwit.

    • Micheleliz says:

      If it were consensual sex as they claimed in the 2nd trial, but NEVER came up in the 1st trial, her panities would not have been ripped as they know they were……remember- a soicalpath can literally charm the panties off you, but when they are ripped of you, that is a rape case for sure….think, Scott Peterson.  Also, there was no one else’s DNA on that sperm sample but Hennis’s.   His semen was the smoking gun.

    • Bren says:

      Wrong again 7up. Very wrong and very misinformed. . She had bruising and tearing in the area and on her thighs. They prove rape by a certain set of standard signs, not by semen. You are completely blind to the facts aren’t you??

  50. Maria Buenaventura says:

    I’m very sure that Tim Hennis is as GUILTY AS HELL. I would like to see him ROT IN HELL!!!!!! He is the most evil person on this earth. I pray that he will die by lethal injection as soon as possible. I hope that his future grandchildren will suffer the same fate as Kara and Erin Eastburn. WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND!!!

  51. Kim Cantrell says:

    Maria, to wish that the same thing happens to his future grandchildren is the most digusting thing I have read! And that statement, quite frankly, makes you no better Hennis (as you see him).

    • Scott says:

      You are clearly an unbalenced person with way too much free time. For anyone go suggest or say anything bad about those victims, your goddammed right, they should have karma bite them back. Well have fun in the loony bin, ya crazies. He’s guilty, get over it and get a life.

      • Kim Cantrell says:

        Sigh. I always love it when I’m crazy just because my opinion differs from someone else’s. Yet I’m not the one doing the name calling. Hmmm.

  52. 7-UP says:

    To be on death row based solely on analysis carried by the NC SBI – well read below:

    “F” in Science

    If North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation crime lab were to be the subject of a television show, it certainly would have little resemblance to “CSI” or “Law and Order.” Rather, it would be a situation comedy. It might be funny, too, except the plot is based on some disgraceful truth, and when the lab makes mistakes and SBI agents back up those mistakes with sworn testimony, innocent people can lose their freedom and potentially their lives. Read more at the link below:

    Below is the link to the entire news series on the failure of the SBI. You should read all of this:

    http://www.newsobserver.com/agents_secrets/

  53. Kim Cantrell says:

    I think all states have issues with their investigative bureaus; after all, they are agencies staffed with humans and all are capable of (will) err. However, it does seem that North Carolina has a tremendous problem with repitition in their mistakes and there is little being done to correct it. Much of it appears to be the result of outright sloppiness.

    Just as I’ve said I never want to accused of a crime in another country, so can be said for North Carolina.

    And that’s a sad shame when one of the great 50 has the same stigma attached as a foreign locale.

  54. natalie says:

    I guess time and a new investigation will tell. I will always believe in Timothy Hennis’s innocence! There is far more to this case which leads me to believe he did not commit these horrifying crimes!!

    • Scream says:

      All this proves is that there are always suckers willing to believe a man in uniform who brutally murders children is innocent.

    • Bren says:

      Really?? What exactly?? Believe all you want, he’s not getting out of jail. His guilt has been proven beyond ANY doubt to anyone with a working brain.

  55. Truly sad case for everyone involved. I am on the fence about Hennis’ guilt or innocence.

    I have questioned why the supposed consensual sex only came up after new DNA tests pointed a finger at Hennis. Perhaps his earlier attorneys thought there was no point in bringing it up and thus allowing a jury to connect Hennis and Katie Eastburn sexually when there was no exact DNA match.

    I have always been stumped on why Hennis essentially turned himself in by coming forward about the dog back in ’85, if he did indeed commit these horrible murders. I have also wondered if the police did enough background on the Eastburn babysitter, given her borderline obsession with Jeffrey MacDonald and the supposedly unsavory characters she associated with.

    The physical evidence certainly makes Hennis look guilty – but the thought of putting an innocent man to death . . . ugh.

    http://tvnirvana.blogspot.com/2010/09/tim-hennis-sentenced-to-death.html

  56. [...] Is Tim Hennis Guilty of the Eastburn Murders? | True Crime … [...]

  57. [...] readers who have followed the debates of the Tim Hennis trial and the DNA evidence from same will find that the North Carolina state crime lab earns quite a bit [...]

  58. Steve Polychronopolous says:

    “I have questioned why the supposed consensual sex only came up after new DNA tests pointed a finger at Hennis.”

    Exactly! In the first two trials, there was no mention of consensual sex. After the DNA test PROVED that Hennis left his ejaculate in Mrs. Eastburn, the defense then chose to go with the consensual sex defense. Hennis is an evil murderer, and will thankfully finally face justice.

  59. 7-up says:

    First there was NO consensual sex defense. The defense attorney in his closing statement said that they still believed there are contamination issues with the DNA evidence; however, he said if the jurors did not believe the contamination then maybe there is another explanation – consensual sex. Not once during the two month trial was “consensual sex” or anything similar to that was ever mentioned.

    The reason why the consensual sex was never brought up in the first two trials was obviously DNA profiling was not around during this time. Another reason was the vaginal swab showing a mixture was inconclusive for Mr. Hennis’ semen until the allegedly DNA results.

    There is no forensic/physical evidence linking Mr. Hennis to the Eastburn crime scene.

    • Scream says:

      “First there was NO consensual sex defense. The defense attorney in his closing statement said that they still believed there are contamination issues with the DNA evidence; however, he said if the jurors did not believe the contamination then maybe there is another explanation – consensual sex. Not once during the two month trial was “consensual sex” or anything similar to that was ever mentioned.”

      Hello……….the closing statement IS part of the trial!

  60. Vgurl35 says:

    I believe he is guilty. This man was my 1SG at Ft. Lewis, WA in 2001. He made it a point to bring this to the troops attention and then had the audacity to autograph the books. He was then a mean spirited person who loathed in the fact that he was acquitted the first time around. This story is beyond tragic and he will ultimately answer to a higher power for his actions. I am glad that justice is being served in this horrible situation.

  61. 7-up says:

    I don’t believe the below statement for one second. Hennis’ neighbors in WA did not even know he had ever been convicted until they head about it in the news in 2006. He’s no bragger.

    >>This man was my 1SG at Ft. Lewis, WA in 2001. He made it a point to bring this to the troops attention and then had the audacity to autograph the books. <<

    • Chrissy Gee says:

      I was at Ft. Lewis with this man and he DID talk about his time on death row and the resulting book. No, he didnt bring it up on a daily basis, but when he first came in to take over our section, he told us the story. It’s the only reason I put 2 and 2 together when I saw the story years later.

  62. Netsiren says:

    My two cents is as follows:
    I read the book “Innocent Victims” which we are all aware was pro Hennis. I then watched the 20/20 episode about this case. I was primarily viewing this man as the most unlucky man alive and most likely innocent until the after the revelation of the vaginal swab that had garnered a DNA sample. It was NOT necessarily the DNA sample test results that swayed me, it was the fact that Mr. Hennis decided to answer that test result with “Oh Yeah! I forgot we DID have consensual sex” I knew right then that every single thing that had been submitted by the prosecution about this man: no I’m sorry this MONSTER was true!  His trying to get me to believe that this woman would have let him touch her while her children were in that house was reprehensible!! She was NOT that sort of woman at all. If you read what the neighbors said about her you’ll see that he made a fatal error when he tried that tactic. It was the one lie he just could not sell. Furthermore I hope he burns in hell for trying!! That lady was a lovely young mother. She was not a wanton slut looking for a romp with a duh! looking ogre. She had far too much respect for her children family husband and home for that! Sorry Tim! That was one lie you shouldn’t have tried.

    PS Watch the “Current Affair” interview if you want to see what you need to see to know he did it!
    When the off camera reporter (I use the term ever so loosely with THAT crowd) asks him point blank “Did you do it?” His answer is so see through. I’m not sure why but he floundered there. You could tell he was lying. Watch it for yourself!

  63. 74suited says:

    dna dna dna
    location location location

    despite  oj simpson  moronic jurors – it is the smoking GUN!

  64. Mamacat says:

    I just watched the 20/20 episode that aired after the trial and conviction of Hennis.  As far as I have always read and heard, DNA DOES NOT LIE!  His DNA was found inside of this woman.  I do not believe for a minute the BS about contaminated DNA.  How could the DNA become contaminated to the point of creating a perfect DNA profile for Hennis?  I also do not believe the story of consensual sex.  This woman was home alone with her three little girls.  It’s not likely that she would invite a man she had only just met into her home and into her bed in front of her children like that.  The mistake she made was letting Hennis know that her husband away from home.

    My question is why is Tim Hennis’s wife still married to him?  Even if she doesn’t think that he murdered Mrs. Eastburn, the DNA proves he had sex with her.  He betrayed her and he was able to get away with it until the DNA caught up with him. He MIGHT have had sex with Mrs. Eastburn?  Uhm, I’m thinking more like he DID!

  65. riverwood says:

    DNA may not lie, but people do. People may mislead or misrepresent results, which is exactly what the SBI was caught doing. The DNA results are only as good the science and integrity of the person performing the test and reading the results. The woman who did Hennis’ DNA test was cited over 2 dozen times for writing results up in a misleading way as to point to the state’s suspect’s guilt. That lab thought of itself as working for the state and skewed results for them. There was a “Frontline” episode done about that and the governor or the attorney general (not certain as it’s been awhile since I watched it) ordered an audit of the SBI.

    The 20/20 episode shows the box with the Eastburn crime scene evidence being taken off a shelf. The name “Hennis” is marked in big black marker letters on the side of the box. I agree if Hennis actually said he had consensual sex with the victim, then he is probably guilty. But I’ve not heard an explanation for why his lawyer said that–did he have his client’s permission or did he just decide to say it? Did he say it to give grounds for appeal later? Normally, I accept DNA evidence, but the SBI lab gave the “trillion” odds while when the Army lab tested the DNA it gave odds in the hundreds which could not even narrow down race! That does not qualify Hennis as a match, it just means he can’t be excluded. How do we know Patrick Cone couldn’t be excluded either? Did they compare to anyone else? Did they put the profile into CODIS? I’m thinking that they cannot put it into CODIS with the limited markers identified. In this case the DNA science does have questionable validity. That shows prejudice when the evidence box from the crime scene has the pet suspect’s name on it.

    They said the fingernail DNA found on 2 victims couldn’t be included or excluded. See, that’s where wording and misrepresentation can be used. If they never compared it to Hennis (because it didn’t match and they knew it, perhaps?) they can say that. The glove tip and towel can be presented the same way and they aren’t technically lying in court or on reports. They can’t include or exclude because they didn’t compare it. Considering the lab was proven to skew and misrepresent results, how can you trust their DNA findings? The Army lab’s DNA results were nowhere near what should qualify as a match, but technically they can probably get away with that wording.

    The size 9 shoeprints were tracked in blood that had been cleaned and showed up in luminol tests. The babysitter was strange and was supposedly working as a drug informant for the DEA and there had been a scheduled drug buy set up for the Friday of the murders and she had been dealing with 2 people in a van, one named “Ox”. Maybe they found out she was an informant and thought she lived there. The mysterious phone calls said “I live around the corner and I’m coming to see you.” Patrick Cone’s sister lived around the corner from the Eastburn home and that’s where he was supposedly going when he saw the walker. There was also a murder in 1986 of a young mother very similar to the Eastburn murder fairly close by from what I understand. The woman had advertised selling a waterbed in the paper just like Katie Eastburn had advertised the sale of the family dog. At least 2 people saw the van and mentioned 2 people being seen.

    There are just too many unanswered questions to convict and execute this man. If they are sure of their case, then they shouldn’t be afraid to have all the evidence DNA tested (towel, glove tip, fingernails, vaginal swab) in an independent laboratory with highly sophisticated reputable technology and then make comparisons to Cone, the babysitter’s associates (I read she had brothers that some suspected), and run through CODIS. That van should have been tracked down and tested for blood and trace evidence. Did they even look at Cone’s car or residence? He stole an ATM and tried to use it at the same ATM machine as the killer did. Why was there no effort to look at the phone records from the phone company to determine where the threatening calls to Katie and to Charlotte Kirby were coming from? I realize it isn’t the same thing as cell phones, but can’t the phone company give information about landline calls? When did the calls start….before or after Katie put the ad for the dog in the paper? If she got them before that, then that would also point away from Hennis because buying the dog was how he met Katie in the first place. In the other case, a man called to look at the waterbed the woman was selling but she had given her Mom’s phone number. Her Mom called and said someone called and she had given him directions and he would be stopping by to look at it. The daughter had already sold it though it hadn’t been picked up yet. Later the woman was found stabbed to death with her throat cut lying on the waterbed. Her very young child was left alive just like Jana.

    This is why police should not get tunnelvision and should always run through other leads even if they believe they have the right person. Then you wouldn’t be left with all this doubt. I have no idea if the victim in the 1986 case had any DNA taken from the scene, but they should go back and look and if so test it. I just hope the SBI has cleaned up their act by now.

  66. riverwood says:

    A quote about the SBI in North Carolina:

    “The Brown case stands out, but it is hardly the State Bureau of Investigation’s only troublesome work. SBI agents have cut corners, bullied the vulnerable and twisted reports and court testimony when the truth threatened to undermine their cases, a News & Observer investigation of the SBI’s work, policies and practices reveals.

    The SBI sends agents to help local law enforcement agencies solve their most complicated cases. But agents sometimes lock on to the wrong suspect and stick to their story for years, as they did with Alan Gell, a Bertie County man who collected $3.9 million after an SBI agent ignored evidence that pointed to his innocence in a 1995 murder.

    At the bureau’s crime lab, agents charged with using science to solve crimes have hidden test results or withheld notes that suggested the opposite of findings presented to the courts, as they did in the case of Greg Taylor. Taylor was exonerated of a 1991 murder in February. Firearms and blood analysts have stretched the boundaries of science and aligned themselves so fully with police and prosecutors that the examiners manipulated evidence to fit their theories”.

    Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/08/08/619461/sbi-ignores-years-of-warnings.html#storylink=cpy

  67. [...] members as an undesirable transfer, partly in thanks to people like Dr. Jeffrey McDonald and Tim Hennis. Soldiers and their families frequently refer to Fayetteville, the host city to Fort Bragg, as [...]

  68. [...] was anxious to read Innocent Victims by Scott Whisnant since the case of Tim Hennis has again made major [...]

  69. [...] was anxious to read Innocent Victims by Scott Whisnant since the case of Timothy Hennis has again made major [...]

  70. riverwood says:

    Hey Kim,

    Did you watch the “Unusual Suspects” that was on Sunday night about the case? They only showed the police and prosecutors side of the story, of course. They talked about the babysitter/McDonald connection, but never mentioned the drug angle and Ox & friend with the blue van.
    They completely left out any of the evidence that points away from Tim Hennis. They never said anything about the 3 witnesses that saw a blue van and a short straggly haired man and another man with him that was driving. The neighbor across the street walked up and talked to them, for God’s sake! They never said a word about the non matching DNA under the fingernails of Katie and one of the girls. They never brought up the size 9 footprints leading away from the bodies that had been in blood but showed up with luminol. They breezed over the fact that Hennis was on CQ duty when one of the bank card transactions was made. I guess in Hennis’ case it is possible for people to be 2 places at once. They said nothing about the 2 other murders that occurred that were similar while Hennis was in jail, nor did they bring up the fact that it was proven the witness at the bank machine was probably lying. For several months she said she didn’t see anyone. The timing was demonstrated that the suspect hung around after making the transaction for nearly 4 minutes waiting for someone else to come up so he could be identified I guess. They didn’t explain how the sperm and blood didn’t match in 1985, but now it’s a DNA match? They made sure they left out the non matching hair, glove tip, and bloody towel. They certainly didn’t mention that the army lab’s DNA was way off what the SBI lab’s results were. The fact that the SBI and Brenda Dew who handled the Hennis evidence were caught falsifying evidence and their lab was audited didn’t come up. Dew was fired because of it. The fact that Cone had stolen a bank card and used it at the same ATM where Katie’s was used wasn’t introduced.

    If Hennis is guilty of this crime, then he had a partner. I bet they haven’t even submitted the fingernail DNA into CODIS. Why haven’t they tested the envelope or stamp on the Mr. X letters for DNA? It would not surprise me if it was actually written by someone feeling guilty for fingering Hennis wrote them, but I don’t think they were written by the actual murderer. They also misrepresented Hennis’ visit to the old girlfriend and exaggerated his “troubled” marriage. I am not convinced of his guilt, and I don’t see how anyone could say that there isn’t plenty of reasonable doubt in this one.

    • Kim Cantrell says:

      Riverwood, I didn’t see but I’ve heard so much about it. Doesn’t surprise me that Usual Suspects didn’t tell everything because that’s typically how their show works. I’m not much of a fan because it’s so often very misleading.

      I agree with you, there is too much reasonable doubt in this case; especially for a death penalty case – and I’m pro-death penalty, for the record.

      Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if his conviction gets overturned on appeal. I would actually be okay with that. There isn’t enough evidence, in my opinion, for man to convict him. We’ll just have to leave this up to a higher power.

    • Scream says:

      The ex girlfriend flat-out said he made a pass at her.

  71. [...] The military jury rejected Tim’s claims and on April 9, 2010, found him guilty on three counts of premeditated murder. [...]

  72. MS says:

    There are too many unanswered questions that raise reasonable doubts. I do believe Hennis was involved in th is crime…but he was not the only one. His sperm being found inside Katie does not prove rape. It proves his sperm was found inside her. It could mean rape, or it could mean they had a willing, consentual affair (which by the way doesn’t mean at all that she deserved what happened…Katie and her little girls’ brutal deaths are a tragedy.)

    Speaking of DNA…along with his sperm, hair was found at the crime scene…hair that did not belong to Katie, Hennis, the kids, or even Katie’s husband…that hair indicates someone else was present during the crime besides Katie, Hennis, and the girls.

    When little Jana was interviewed by a child psychologist, though she couldn’t remember much, she was able to remember some…what she remebered indicated that there were 2 perpetrators in the house, not 1. And then there’s all those mysterious postcards sent to Hennis while he was in prison, from someone who called himself “Mr. X.” Mr. X takes credit for the crime, while telling police that they will never catch him…and so far they never have.

    We will never know the truth of what happened to Katie Eastburn or her girls. Jana is the only one who knows…and she’s buried the memories so deep inside her, they will never come out.

    • Kim Cantrell says:

      MS, your thoughts are interesting. I agree with some, while disagreeing with others.

      Me personally, I don’t think Tim Hennis is involved in murder at all. At one time, I didn’t event think he was involved in an affair with Mrs. Eastburn but the DNA results of sperm found in her vaginal vault gives me pause. Then again, it could match one in 426 Caucasian males, so again….

      Unfortunately, I think the toddler mind of Jana was not able to fully “capture” the events and what’s she’s provided thus far is vague at best. I don’t think she’ll ever be able to “recover” the events, simply because of how her young mind would have processed them.

      Very interesting take, however, you make on a second perpetrator. Do you, by any chance, believe it could be Hennis’ wife? Some have made rumblings as such but I’ve never given it a second thought. Just curious what you would think.

      • MS says:

        No, I don’t think it could have been his wife. Perhaps if only Katie had been killed…but I just can’t see a young woman with a little girl of her own brutally killing two other little girls. I know mothers have killed their own children before… but it’s rare for a woman to brutally kill a child or children that aren’t hers.

        I have also found it way too coincidental that their babysitter was a pen pal of Dr. Jeffrey McDonald. Something interesting with that little tidbit…shortly after the murders became known to the public, Dr. McDonald suddenly cut off all contact with his pen pal. There is even a theory out there that Dr. McDonald arranged the Eastburn murders, and he used the babysitter to help arrange it….which would in turn,he thought, would lend credit to his story of what he claims happened to his own family.

        Sadly, I don’t think we’ll ever completely know exactly what happened to this family, or why.

      • Scream says:

        “At one time, I didn’t event think he was involved in an affair with Mrs. Eastburn but the DNA results of sperm found in her vaginal vault gives me pause. Then again, it could match one in 426 Caucasian males, so again….”

        But he said he sex with her. Kind of leaves the other 426 guys out, doesn’t it?

    • Scream says:

      And Tim conveniently forgot to mention that he had sex with Mrs. Eastburn in the first two trials–weird, huh?

  73. Anna says:

    What happened to Dixie the dog????????????????????? Did he rape and murder her too?????????

  74. dk34997 says:

    For the record, even if it was his seamen in the victim, which that would appear likely, it doesn’t necessarily mean he killed everyone… there still COULD have been a murderer after the fact. It wouldn’t be the first time someone was guilty of horrible timing. And, of course he would deny certain aspects of the case in fear of his freedom…

  75. Jules says:

    I think that the wife was cheating with Hennis, thus the sperm. The husband found out. Maybe he had her followed, and found out the guy already had a dog. So he proposed that they find a new home for their dog, by placing an ad, knowing that there was a good chance his wife and Henning would take advantage of that time for a rendezvous. Which they did. So after Hennis leaves, the man hired by the husband comes in and kills her and uses a condom during the rape. He is also the owner of that unidentified public hair.

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