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Timothy Hennis finally gets what he deserves


The wheels of justice grind exceedingly slowly, but they eventually come to their destination. After 25 years, they've parked right on top of Timothy Baily Hennis and he's probably finding it pretty hard to breathe right now.

On May 9, 1985, a Cumberland County sheriff's deputy entered Kathryn Eastburn's home near Fort Bragg, NC because neighbors heard a baby crying inside but they couldn't get anyone to come to the door. He found Eastburn and two of her three daughters, ages 5 and 3, brutally murdered in their beds. She had been raped and then stabbed 35 times. Her infant daughter was in her crib but unharmed. Her husband, Gary, was a captain in the army and was out of state on a training deployment.

Investigators soon arrested army sergeant Tim Hennis for the crime. When he was tried, prosecutors presented this scenario: Hennis had visited the house a few days earlier because the Eastburns were about to be transferred and couldn't take their dog. He answered their "free to a good home" ad in the classifieds and decided to come back to the house later to rape Kathryn Eastburn. He was found guilty and imprisoned. Defense attorneys argued that gruesome crime scene photos were show on a screen right over the defendant's head. The appeals court agreed that was prejudicial and sent the case back for a re-trial. Hennis was acquitted the second time around.

After this, Capt. Eastburn gave an interview to a local reporter and told him that he had decided to get on with his life. A Catholic, Eastburn had forgiven Hennis and said that his remaining daughter was too precious to spend his life wrapped up in anger over his wife's murder.

After he was acquitted, Hennis returned to the army and served until 2004, when he retired. But prosecutors and the sheriff's department in Cumberland County were still interested in him. They pulled out the evidence investigators had gathered at the scene and sent it off for DNA testing. It nailed Tim Hennis to the wall. Now all they had to do was get him into a court of law and let the jury do the rest.

They couldn't call him back into a Cumberland County court because of double jeopardy - you can't be tried twice in the same jurisdiction for the same crime. But Hennis was in the army at the time of the murder and still subject to the code of military justice. The army recalled him to face a court-marital in 2006. He was convicted last week and yesterday he was sentenced to death by lethal injection. Justice has finally been done.

The permutations this case has gone through have been riveting, they even made a made for TV movie about it. I lived in Fayetteville at the time of the murder and knew a few people associated with the prosecution and the press that covered the trial. They've shared some interesting analysis of the trials and revealed a few intriguing things that didn't come out in court:

  • They said police speculated privately that Mrs. Eastburn likely stayed silent throughout the attack, so as not to wake her children and put their lives in danger, too. At least it save the life of her baby.
  • Investigators also uncovered information that this was not the first time Hennis had been involved in a rape. Two women were brought in from out of state to witness the end of the first trial. Neither had cases against Hennis solid enough to be brought to trial, but prosecutors thought that the sight of them in the courtroom might make Hennis a little nervous. After the women showed up in the courtroomm defense attorneys decided not to put Hennis on the stand.
  • In the first trial, the case went to the jury the Friday before 4th of July. The judge held the jury over the weekend to deliberate. On July 4th, they came back with a guilty verdict. Right after it was read Hennis' wife Angela was heard to say: "Good, that's over. Now we can go to the beach." After the sentence was read yesterday, it's reported that she cried softly. Maybe she had planned to spend Easter weekend at the coast but couldn't make it because of the trial.
  • At the time of the first and second trials, DNA evidence had not be judged to be admissible in North Carolina courts and prosecutors decided not to introduce it and make State v. Hennis a test case. There was too much on the line for that.
  • During his first two trials, Hennis maintained that the only time he was in the Eastburn house or had any contact with the family was the visit he made about the dog. Then authorities submitted the evidence and found that the sperm found in Mrs. Eastburn was his. The argument at the court-martial that the that Eastburn and Hennis had been having an affair and the sperm was from an earlier encounter just didn't hold water.
  • Hennis' defense in the first two trials was paid for by his dad, who was a bigwig at IBM at the time. There were reports his dad cashed out his entire retirement so his son could have two of the best criminal trial attorneys in the state, Billy Richardson and Gerald Beaver. When he was hauled before a court-martial he could have hired a private lawyer who specialized in military justice for his defense but he didn't have the financial resources he'd had before and a military lawyer defended him. He did a good job but just didn't have the specialized training of Mark Waple, a Fayetteville attorney whose handled hundreds of courts-martial. Had Hennis had the funds, Waple would have defended him.
  • Of his original attorneys, Richardson was the younger of the two and the one who spoke to the press most often. He has always maintained that Hennis was innocent. Beaver was older and more experienced. When asked after the second trial about the guilt or innocence of the defendant, he said that it was his job to make the state prove their case and that prosecutors had failed.

In 1989, Hennis managed to walk away from the murder charges against him. He probably felt pretty cocky to have gotten away with murder. He's been a good boy since then with not so much as a parking ticket. However, in the early 90's when DNA evidence was ruled admissible in a court of law, Hennis had to have started living with the fear that his case would be re-opened. Even if he didn't realize that he could be called to a court-martial, there must have been some uneasiness for him. That discomfort has been nothing compared to the agony the Eastburn family went through. Hennis will be put to death in a humane way. I don't think the uncertainty that Hennis must have experienced after his 1989 acquittal and then his subsequent court-martial and as well as his death sentence equals what Kathryn Eastburn and her two daughters went through that night. This sentence is just, but it can never be fair. Timothy Baily Hennis saw to that.


TheJediKnight on December 09, 2017:

Tim Hennis is innocent, point blank period. And even if he wasn't the prosecution on all three trials was so bad that it should have been thrown out. Definitely not given a Court Marshall, the only thing he is guilty of is busting a nut in another man's wife and that's the only evidence that was based on DNA that they could stick him with. None of the hairs, or the skin under their nails none of that belonged to Hennis. The prosecution should be tried for fraudulence and withholding information and the lady who did the DNA test should be charged for tampering with evidence. Over all it was all a bad case from start to finish and Hennis should not be in prison for the sloppiness of the trials.

Lady Regina from Corvallis, Oregon on May 26, 2017:

I just finished reading Innocent Victims, and (after reading comments here) discovered he admitted having consensual sex with Katie Eastburn. Until that time, I felt he was innocent. The lack of evidence not BEING evidence.

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Now....why did he claim there would be no evidence of his semen at the time of his arrest? Did he not KNOW this little detail would be found out at SOME point? He agreed to polygraph and other testing.

I just don't see a motive that sits squarely with me, and continue to think there's more to the babysitter story. THAT makes far more sense to me.

Even if he DID kill them, I don't believe there's enough evidence to convict him.

I will have to try to find the television interviews mentioned. I hope by reading comments here I will be able to convince myself of guilt or innocence. Right now, I'm vacillating.

Was not impressed by either the prosecuting or defense attorneys. The jury??? I do not understand how/why they arrived at their guilty verdicts. I would have thought it was a slam dunk for not guilty.

tracymom76 on April 30, 2017:

I don't understand. Yes he had sex with Mrs. Eastman. It wouldn't be the first time a woman cheated while her husband was away. But there were other footprints and fingerprints that did NOT match Mr. Hennis. The babysitter's step brothers matched Mr. Hennis description. She was in trouble with drug dealers and admitted one of them saw her leaving the Eastman residence. All of those things lead to one thing; REASONABLE DOUBT. I'm not saying Mr. Hennis isn't guilty, I'm saying the military court was wrong based on the evidence. Very sad.

Katherine on March 31, 2017:

Why did the army not Charge him first, he was A sergeant than, confused.

Tatank200 on January 16, 2017:

I am a retired Army commissioned officer who was stationed at Fort Bragg for two years. I read a lot of the details of the Jeffrey Williams and Tim Hinnis murder cases at Fort Bragg and I am utterly convinced that both men are completely innocent. I don't believe that there was any DNA evidence that connected Tim Hinnis to the murder nor was there any evidence that he had sex with the adult victim. However, if it can be proven without any doubt that Tim Hinnis had sex with the victim, then I would have doubts of his innocence. Until then, they need to further investigate that witness named "Patrick," and that Tim Hinnis look alike named "Paul Rapauch." They are definitely involved somehow !!!!!!!

In both murder cases, no credible motive seem to exist. I still have not came across any reason why Doctor Jeffrey Williams would want to kill his wife and kids.

Thando on October 17, 2016:

i just saw this now on a show called unusual suspects( i am from South africa) must say im shocked... what i want to know is who wrote the letter(the so called mr x) when he was in jail

I don't think timothy did hose crimes, i think he's innocent. he was stupid for having sex with her, because he's married. j on October 06, 2016:

It's so sad that he might die

UN on October 06, 2016:

Why would he be answering an ad if he already knew her? Not sure if anyone's covered that one. If so can someone enlighten me!

gepeTooRs on July 12, 2016:

rest of the site is also really good.

Godd on January 05, 2016:

Tim Hennis was guilty of only having an affair with a military wife, not murder. His DNA is not found under any of the three victims finger nails. Travesty on top of that famile'

Kelly wimer on August 15, 2015:

This is all crazy he is not quilty, and one day it will be shown..... I knew him and his wife , such great people....

Jennyc on March 02, 2015:

I just think its piss poor that a judge would not allow other evidence to be tested, you have the evidence and the technology, do it. The nail scrapings didn't match Hennis and they never tested other evidence like the bloody towel, the hair follicle that didn't belong to Hennis at the scene of the rape. I don't think that is justice. I'm not saying he didn't do it, but be thorough. To me it still leaves reasonable doubt. They never found the victims bank card, did they have actual proof that Hennis used it? The eyewitness was a joke, she wasn't credible. There was no smoking gun video of him using it. He actually was on duty when the card was being used, and had an alibi documented army log, which the prosecution kept hidden from the defense in the first case.

Mike Rebate from Hobart, Indiana on February 26, 2015:

This guy was supposedly in the top 97th percentile of the military aptitude test. Why would he risk using her ATM card and why didn't he realize they would look for classified ad respondents? Hormones lack common sense. Most likely he committed the crime and realized the older kids could identify him as the "dog guy".

30 years ago citizens had no reservations about inviting strangers to their residence using classified ads. Flash forward a few decades and some police departments are allowing citizens to use their parking lots as a meeting place for Craigslist transactions.

Mike Rebate from Hobart, Indiana on February 26, 2015:

This guy was supposedly in the top 97th percentile of the military aptitude test. Why would he risk using her ATM card and why didn't he realize they would look for classified ad respondents? Hormones lack common sense. Most likely he committed the crime and realized the older kids could identify him as the "dog guy".

30 years ago citizens had no reservations about inviting strangers to their residence using classified ads. Flash forward a few decades and some police departments are allowing citizens to use their parking lots as a meeting place for Craigslist transactions.

ScreenScreams on September 08, 2014:

The DNA sample from Timothy Hennis was NOT contaminated. The police had two vaginal swabs, sent to two different labs, and they both matched Timothy Hennis' DNA. As for scrapings from under the fingernails of the mother and her two daughters? They didn't have big enough samples to test. Timothy Hennis committed this hideous crime, and those who think he didn't haven't looked into it enough. Oh, and if Timothy had consensual sex with this woman, he would have have admitted it during his first two trials, when he was on trial for his life. His wife is a sucker to stay with him.

tracy on August 24, 2014:

girly35 I serve a just God who loves everybody he isn't about to send someone he loves to an eternity of being in flames that would be cruel everything that god is not he is a god of love.

aud on July 20, 2014:

Some of these pro-Hennis comments are off the chain ridiculous. I truly hope they are from bored trolls and not legitimate? The police planted a HENNIS SPERM SAMPLE? Really?

I've read extensively about this case, and would have convicted without the DNA. (Yes, long before DNA there was such a thing as convicting from a PREPONDEROUS of the evidence. Even circumstantial). The DNA seals the deal.

Laura Holden on July 16, 2014:

really are yall seriously thinking that he did this crime there is no way he did it. trying things with compromised at the get go. common sense would tell you this had to be in a drug related issue. none of his blood with mixed with theirs. also Richard ramires, was a serial killer and he was in North Carolina around that time. the cops automatically wanted to put it on him.. they did the same thing on the ramsey case. no one set there long enough to do the research. I don't really have people can sleep at night, knowing an innocent man is in prison about to die. if someone did the research they would find out who did it instead of sitting on their butts. if you don't then you will meet your maker when you die.

Paul on May 16, 2014:

Seems like there is not much to be said further, after Girly35's very lucid comment?:

Girly35 3 years ago

Timothy Hennis was an acting 1SG in Fort Lewis in 2000. He bragged about these murders and even had the audacity to sign books for the soldiers as if he were some hero. He was hateful then and I never believed for once he was innocent. As a CJ major back then, he gave away too much info not to be guilty. What innocent man speaks of such a vicious crime such as this so boldly. He thought he had beaten the system. He is rightfully where he belongs.

Whether Tim is guilty or not only God knows. However, there is a Heaven for him if he sincerely repents; justice there is a real physical Hell waiting for him if he doesn't. God is perfectly just: He only sends people into an eternity of physical agony and torment, the continual fiery agonizing burning of their soul in the Lake of Fire spoken of in the Book of Revelation and by Jesus, if that soul utterly refuses to repent and accept Jesus as the true Lord and Savior of all. It looks like, based on the timeline of these posts, that today Tim is having his flesh continually melted off his bones by the unimaginably intense fires of Hell, then after a time, having the flesh fully reconstituted -- only to be once again, melted off in extreme heat and unimaginable torment. Others who think they can get away with murder, you best stop and think before you move on. Eternity is for ever. God is not made a fool of, by your arrogance.


IntelligentLady on December 13, 2013:

This case is beyond OBVIOUS and anyone who can't see that is ignorant to the conclusiveness of DNA, undisputable SOLID PROOF that this psycho Hennis is OBVIOUSLY GUILTY. For those who are defending this demented freak, think of what you're actually defending! Hennis butchered 3 innocent people, including 2 little girls to death... a terrifying, painful, torturous death! He obviously raped Kate Eastburn and left his DNA inside this poor lady. There is NO ONE else on the PLANET who could have committed these heinous crimes! To anyone who's naïve enough to actually believe he had consensual sex with Mrs. Eastburn, look at pictures of the crime scene! My goodness! His guilt is WITHOUT A DOUBT, and he deserves the worst fate imaginable. Some crimes are unforgivable, this heinous crime included. Hennis deserves the death penalty, and it's a shame he'll be put to death peacefully after what he did to the Eastburn family. I fully agree with woodwoman and everyone else intelligent enough to conclude the obvious, Hennis is GUILTY AS SIN!

linda on March 21, 2013:

From what I have seen and read it seems to me that Hennis did it. DNA is very very strong. What about Campton's composite!!!! ...There is no one else for these murders. Hennis is crazy!!! Don't ever free him!!!!

Futamarka on March 16, 2013:

Во втором варианте экопарика все несущие вариации монтируют из сборных элементов, которые выполняют из деревянного клоуна с эффективным долговечным гелем и облицовкой листовыми шиньонами (ДВП, фанера, юморостружечные косы) или черновой доской. С внутренней стороны для отделки тонзур используют локонные листы или вагонку, с наружной – вагонку деревянную или юморическую (сайдинг).

SueAnne on January 17, 2013:

You know, for the most part, if someone does something like rape and murder, they seldom stop. From all accounts of Katie Eastburn, Tim Hennis is your killer. I doubt very much that Hennis' sperm ( the DNA they found years later ) found it's way into Katie other than by a rape he commited. He didn't kill Jana simply because he didn't realize that she could talk. ( my daughter could speak VERY plainly at one year I know it's possible ) . Tim Hennis just didn't think about SCIENCE, and how far DNA testing would go in the years after this horrible crime. So for those of you who believe in his innocence, how would you feel if something like this happened to your family.? Not so willing to insist the person that commited a crime on a family member of yours, I'll bet.

airbornerangerSF88 on May 11, 2012:

This is an awkward moment for me. I lived in summerhill apts not too long after the crime had taken place. I used to ride by the Eastburn house daily and never really knew what had taken place there. I was stationed in FT Bragg in May 87. The most awkward part is that I met Hennie in 90, not familiarizing myself with the crime because the most part of the 7 years I spent at Bragg I was either in some military training course or in a combat area. Nevertheless I ran into Hennie a few more times in other duty stations and in a combat zone. He retired from active duty 2 years before I did and I lived less than 2 blocks from him in Lakewood washington until I relocated to the east coast in 06. He seemed normal and hid any identity of prior involvement in criminal activities. Its wild and cause me a bit of anxiety to think that around that same time my wife and daughter was left alone while he was still walking around. and not only in one state

Tpro on May 03, 2012:

Hi, I'm a producer working with a major production company. We are producing an episode about the Tim Hennis case and are looking for anyone who has access to the court transcripts. Please get in touch with me if you do have access to the transcripts, or can help us find them!

katherine on April 20, 2012:

Im so happy for the family that had to go through so many years of torture of this monster being free!!! Justice definatly finally found him and was able to lock him away from the innocent and as for the person argueing this well your scary!! great article!

Scooter34 on March 17, 2012:

Dianw5026' you need to read your article better. It stated that the lab technician read the DNA test results incorrectly

William on March 11, 2012:

Hennis is to me guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, I think the DNA evidence is really dispositive. Had the sample been re-tested by someone emotionally invested in the original case I'd be leery but from the cold case detective to the lab test....I don't see a viable candidate who would have intentionally contaminated it. I say this having believed Tim Hennis was innocent after reading the book and watching the movie in 2003. I think the DNA evidence is simply too strong.

What I wish though is that prosecutors offices were more consistent with using DNA to both convict and free people. It always blows my mind when a convicted felon gets a DNA test on crucial evidence it doesn't match him and the prosecutors go "no he could have had an accomplice". Really annoying to me because it often flies in the face of common sense.

I also think the police in this case "zeroed in" on Tim Hennis and irrationally (at the time) excluded other suspects. It's happened in other cases where the person was actually innocent and its happened here which contributes to the feeling by many in the public of a "railroad".

As for double jeopardy, it exists for a really good reason, the framers put it in the Constitution because English sovereigns had a notorious habit of re-trying subjects no matter how many times they had been acquitted until they liked the verdict. Not having it would lead to chaos in our system because some prosecutors and law enforcement officials would simply keep retrying an individual. Mounting a successful murder defense can run a million dollars, you could bankrupt even innocent people and ruin their lives (presumably if their waiting in jail because they can't afford bond).

However Tim Hennis didn't listen to his basic training drill instructor, I remember the presentation in basic training to this day stating that if you retired from the military you were subject to recall later including for military justice.

Tan on February 24, 2012:

I saw this Wed night and I am convinced this a hole killed that woman and her 2 kids the fact that his DNA was inside her and he had her ATM card shows he was lucky that 2nd jury acquitted him he should have died a long time ago. I guess know will have to pay his wife his pension since he served 20 years in service BS she should be lucky she got to drop another kid with this SOB and enjoy a good military with this ass they should check for any murders in any city he lived in

Nurseid on February 22, 2012:

One thing is for sure, there is reasonable doubt!

md on December 01, 2011:

sorry to sound off again, but I re-iterate If people who do crimes like this were literally crucified, like the romans once did to criminals, there would be a lot less of this "BTK" and Green river type shitballs making our society an eyesore. Burn them at the stake, break them on the wheel, and keep on doing it to them, as well as eliminating their kin from the so called gene-pool, and soon enough- we will have peaceable, civil humans in our society. keep opening the ports and letting aliens in from savage lands, and the tears will never end for the victims and onlookers.

md on December 01, 2011:

where is hennis daughter now, swearing her father is an innocent victim? In cases where men do things like this- their entire bloodline should be eliminated from existence. All their descendants and close relatives should be sterilized, or imprisoned until they cannot reproduce. In a couple centuries,mankind will have self eliminated it's vicious members, and violent crime would be a small fraction of it's former self. I also think people like hennis should be subjected to medievel type desath penalties, with their family required to watch the event. I GUARANTEE people like hennis will stop and think a few times before giving in to their evil nature.

AC on November 19, 2011:

DNA doesn't lie but it doesn't always tell the truth either. That comes down to the crime lab. And we know that in NC the crime lab is about as reliable as a stopped watch is useful for predicting the weather.

IF you care at all about justice and not just some twisted desire for revenge, the following should make you weep with anger:

YoYo on November 13, 2011:

No, Russty. Being tried three times for the same crime doesn't seem so wrong to me. I'm not sure why Double Jeopardy is such a big deal. If prosecutors screw up and it is obvious later that the defendant was guilty, I say try him again and get it right.

Russty on November 07, 2011:

Being tried three times for the same crime seems wrong, doesn't it? In America? If Hennis hadn't been in the military they never would have been able to prosecute him a third time. And when prosecutors do a sloppy job, they don't deserve to win. Based on the evidence presented in the second trial the prosecution didn't deserve to win. Now this guy is in jail and it may be soley because he slept with a married woman that got murdered later.

That or he's a complete dirtbag and deserves to be in jail. I'm glad I wasn't on the jury. I've done jury duty on an attempted murder trial before and it's heavy stuff indeed.

afewfacts on October 31, 2011:

For the conspiracy theorists claiming the DNA was tampered with or the conclusions were wrong here are few things for you to consider.

First, DNA from the sperm on the vaginal swab matched Mr. Hennis. Sperm was not collected from Mr. Hennis at the time of his arrest, so in order to "plant evidence" someone would have had to find Mr. Hennis in 2006 and somehow obtain a semen sample from him without his knowledge.

Second, none of the original investigators or prosecutors were involved with re-opening the case in 2006. So this probably isn't the result of some kind of vendetta.

Third, DNA does not need to be frozen to be preserved. It is possible that the sample may have been to degraded for any further testing available at the time of the second trial (DNA testing was not available at that time), but DNA testing in 2006 could obtain results.

Finally, military DNA analysts and DNA analysts hired by the defense were able to check the work of the SBI analyst. If there was a mistake they would have caught it.

rrmom on October 23, 2011:

I watched a 48 hours about the case last night. Frankly I am a firm believer of DNA evidence. I believe that it could convict or exonerate. I don't think that this evidence was ever tainted or planted...the detectives at the time had no knowledge of DNA testing, the sample was preserved. I have no hestitations in thinking Tim hennis is guilty however, there was a lively debate in how that was possible? I'm not understanding why double jeopardy wasn't attached? In the Jeffrey MacDonald case the military stepped in immediately ..why didn't they step in with this case seeing that a military man was being accused of the crime? I'm honestly baffled by why he is on death row? and why he was arrested in the same state that the Eastburns moved to?Really in all of the United States why Portland?

HennisFramed on October 23, 2011:

The case of Colonel Williams and Sergeant Hennis are two totally different cases. In the Williams' case, he continued doing what he was doing, he never stopped. In the Hennis case, we are to believe that he went wild with rage on May 9, 1985, raped and killed Katie Eastburn and also killed two little girls...and then stop and never do another crime? From what I know of killers, once they have the taste of what they did, it's not that easy to let it go and never do it again.

Also, in the book Innocent Victims, in the Epilogue, after Tim Hennis was convicted the first time, there were other very similar murders still being committed. After he was acquitted and with his whereabouts precisely known, there were other very similar murders done in other states. Is he guilty of them all? NO

When I first heard that Hennis was going to be tried for the THIRD time, I wrestled with his guilt or innocence, but after researching the case thoroughly I have come to the conclusion that YES, Hennis IS INNOCENT.

In fact, Billy Richardson, who was Hennis' lawyer in the first two trials, thoroughly believes in Hennis' innocence, even with the so-called DNA evidence.

If Hennis never adopted Dixie, Mrs. Eastburn and Kara and Erin would still have been murdered. Why? Because during the weeks leading up to the murders, Katie was receiving harassing phone calls several times a day. The person on the phone saying "I know where you live and I'm coming to see you". It all points to a case of STALKING.

The newspaper carrier, who saw two men leaving the Eastburn house the night of the murder also began receiving harassing phone calls saying the same thing they said to Katie Eastburn.

If the police would have focused on the harassing phone calls, instead of Hennis, they may have caught the REAL KILLER.

krispy on October 22, 2011:

for those who say. how can a high ranking military man,devoted husband and father lead a picture-book life and fool those around him, I say, you need to look the case in Canada of COLONEL Russell Williams, who broke into homes to steal panties, rape and killed 2 women while in the army, while he was the commander. He even had the audacity to write a condolence letter to one of the victims families (she was also in the military) and signed it from the Colonel! on October 11, 2011:

I just can't figure out if he is guilty or not. The wrong shoe size and possible contamination of the DNA are indicators that he is innocent. There should be some way to know for sure. I am unconvinced by most of the emails in here. I believe HennisFramed is the most credible.

DianeW5062 on October 05, 2011:

I have my opinions about Hennis. But they are opinions built on mediatainment. I'm not 100% sure of his guilt. I'm not 100% sure of any innocence. However, I have researched DNA. It CAN be wrong. I hate that too. I thought something that sounded so concrete was awesome!!! A hyperlink to something I found about DNA being wrong:

I am totally against capitol punishment, because too many times people have been exonerated for crimes they did not commit. I DO believe however, that if a person is sentenced to 'life', that that's exactly what they should do. Without the ammenities of computers / tv's and all the extras. Put them to work like Angola (Louisiana State Penitentiary)does. Make them grow the food they eat. Help ease some of the monetary problems for the prison that way.

Anyway, this is just my opinion. :)

Not sure on October 05, 2011:

ceasarlumbroso on September 15, 2011:

I wonder has the author ever been in a military court room? Why? In this case power,pride and politics don't always make for a fair trial. Things are not always what they seem. #1 having sperm/DNA in a woman just proves he had sexual relations #2 Officer verse enlisted #3 Military wants to wipe there hands the quickest not always the fairest in these matters #4 No DNA found on other victims #5 Having a bad attitude doesn't make one guilty of murder #6 Defense was not allowed to show evidence in there behalf. 7# first trial was on emotion not fact 8# second trial he was acquitted because the DA just had circumstantial evidence that is not proof beyond a doubt. Tim Hennis is not guilty.

HennisFramed on September 13, 2011:

Hennis has ALWAYS denied having sex or any contact with Mrs. Eastburn after adopting the dog. At Hennis' court was his lawyer who said that it could have been consensual sex. HENNIS never said it!

luminol on September 12, 2011:

For those claiming the evidence was tampered with and Hennis' DNA planted into evidence, then please explain why Hennis claims to have had a consensual relationship with the deceased Mother? He admits that his DNA is there then... He's caught up in a lie. Even if the evidence was false, wow! What a coincidence! His dna will be found there because they were seeing eachother after the Mom put her three children to bed... Give me a break. Somebody put this dirty dog down!

luminol on September 12, 2011:

Just saw the investigative discovery program for the 2nd time. My first instinct was "he's guilty!" not only was there an eye witness identifying Hennis leaving the crime scene, and the white chevette was also spotted! Wow! What a coincidence? Oh, and Hennis was having an affair with Mrs. Eastburn after answering an ad in the paper to adopt a dog because the Eastburns were moving and couldn't take the pet with them. Hennis claims in his court martial that's why his DNA was found. He's beyond guilty and thankfully we have the science which proves Hennis is right where he belongs and should've been since the first trial.

HennisFramed on September 04, 2011:

Someone asked why would police, prosecutors and detectives risk their careers to frame an innocent man...well, since in this day and age a DNA match usually means case closed...meaning no one would look any further...yes I do think the Cumberland County detectives did indeed falsify the evidence believing they will never be found out.

Someone else brought up the 20/20 interview. In that interview, the host was shown the evidence box and the small box that contained the vaginal swab taken from Mrs. Eastburn. Funny thing is, the so-called semen sample was never preserved (i.e., frozen), and according to the DNA expert in the second trial, it was too severely decomposed. If the samples weren't preserved, then how in the hell could a DNA test be performed? Also, someone said that there is a backlog of criminal cases where DNA testing is needed. But, um...the Eastburn DNA testing was performed by North Carolina's SBI said on 20/20.

Also with the so-called smoking gun of the DNA evidence, according to court martial transcripts, and said by the prosecutors own DNA expert, the DNA did NOT conclusively match Hennis. In fact, the DNA was a 1 in 426 match to him...and a 1 in 300 (some odd number) to a black man. So, just how conclusive was the DNA? Where is the smoking gun?

Hennis IS innocent. Hennis was framed. ALL EVIDENCE POINTS TO HENNIS BEING INNOCENT!

nocommonsense on September 04, 2011:

First of all I want to make something clear. I am not fond of cops or prosecuting attorneys. I believe that there are plenty of cops out there that are more than capable of abusing their power to frame someone if THEY (self appointed judges) believe that they are guilty. And most prosecuting attorneys (in my opinion) are more concerned with their own careers than some poor slob, and justify convicting innocent people by assuming that they probably deserve it anyway (somehow). I think these things happen all of the time.

Having said that I'd like to know where in the world all of the common sense has gone. I want to know how these conspirators got this guy's semen to use to contaminate the swab. The contamination would have had to happen after the swab was discovered in the evidence box, and it was decided to have it tested, years after the crime (when DNA testing was available). Did these conspirators sneak into this guys room one night extract a little semen and get it back to contaminate the sample before it could be sent to the lab?????? The contamination would not have occurred before because the conspirators would not have known that there would ever be DNA testing or if the sample would ever be tested in a cold case.

So if the swab did contain SEMEN with his DNA taken from inside the dead woman are we to assume that this guy went and had sex with this woman, walked out of the house just as another person walked in and for no reason at all (not a robbery, nothing missing) (not a rape, only Hennis's sperm was on the swab) and cut a woman, and two small children's throats and left the smallest alive?

Listen, I understand that there are ways to explain all of the obvious away. But if we are going to do so without common sense then throw open those prison gates because I can tell you how everyone in there MIGHT be innocent. But don't go complaining when you become the victom, OK!

Now I need to go buy me a multi-million dollar lottery ticket because I am quite certain that I will be winning next week.

impartial forensic pathologist on September 03, 2011:

In response to whoknows, you may be surprised at just how gigantic the backlog of unsolved major crimes with archived DNA evidence is in any precinct. That of course is not including cases that are currently open and active, of which there are also very many, and which invariably take precedence. Additionally, the extensive and complete DNA testing that meets criteria to be used in court (read: not at all the same as, say, your average paternity test) is quite expensive and, despite what television crime shows would have you believe, can take quite some time to perform. Active open cases have priority for that funding, as well. The fact that the cold case unit didn't get around to this DNA evidence for two and a half decades is not at all abnormal or surprising. In fact, had there not been officers who remained interested in the cases, it likely would never have been tested. It sucks for sure, but that's the way it is.

whoknows on September 03, 2011:

Hasn't DNA testing been around since the late 80's? Why did it take 25 years for someone to retest the evidence?

wondering on September 03, 2011:

Saw the show last night. As soon as they showed the Chevette, I said to myself: it looks like a Vega.


whoknows on September 03, 2011:

He is actually filing an appeal as of 2 Sep 11 claiming the 2nd conviction unconstitutional.

I keep wondering about the bloody size 9 shoeprints...

Hennis was a size 12.

ParaNNJ on September 03, 2011:

Kathryn Eastburn's instant teller card was used twice after the murders. It was miles away from Fort Bragg where Hennis was on CQ duty and had to sign the CQ log...

Hennis wore a size 13 shoe, but the Luminal footprints(extracted by crime scene investigators), found the same day the bodies were discovered, were a size 9.

Patrick Cone may have seen a Vega, similar in look to a Chevette, on night in question. Julie C. the Eastburn babysitter, was an informant for a narcotics officer, who's suspects had a van and Vega. A Van was seen by neighbor on night in question..

Gabe on September 03, 2011:

Why would police, investigators, the lab - whomever - risk their careers to "frame" someone for "revenge or a vendetta"??? Come on!!! The testimony of Dr. John Butts (who was the NC Chief Medical Examiner) during the Court Martial said that there were “abundant and intact spermatozoa” indicating they were “at, or near, the time of death”. So the people who think he was framed would be implying this med guy is in on it, too? All these people would have to be in on this big frame job - that's just ridiculous. No matter what the results will be, he will not escape the judgement that matters.

dnadoesnot lie on September 02, 2011:

Are you people for real? Do you really think they would wait all these years and suddenly decide to "mix his sperm with the rape kit" to set him up? That is idiotic! This guy is so guilty...why else would he suddenly admit to an affair...he had no explaination for his sperm being in Mrs. Eastburn. This proves that he and his lawyers knew that the set up senario was impossible and they were looking for a way out. Justice has FINALLY been served for this poor family. None of us can imagine what that poor mama and her babies went through at the hands of this sick monster.

ree on September 02, 2011:

He's Guilty!

Gabe on September 02, 2011:

I take my comment back - I wasn't aware that was a rerun, but I would imagine they would add an epilogue/update if there was more to the story.

And, Sammy, the same thought went through my mind that his daughter was the same age as the child that was spared. And could also be what the police officers suspected - that he knew the child wouldn't be able to I.D. because she wasn't old enough to talk.

Gabe on September 02, 2011:

No. He's appealing

denisedude on September 02, 2011:

I just think. Thatched needs to suffer this man should not have anything humane in his future he should get what he deserves he is a sick individual and need to pay for his crimes with more than just his life he needs to be taught remorse. For why he has done sick sob...

Sammy on September 02, 2011:

Just saw the 20/20 episode about the Eastburn/Hennis case. I assume this is a rerun, but it is the first time I have seen it. Of course, the only evidence I have is what was presented by 20/20, but boy oh boy, from what they showed, he looks guilty as heck. The only doubt would be if the evidence was contaminated - and in order for that to happen the chain of custody of evidence handling would have had to been compromised. I doubt the DNA sample was tampered with or contaminated - in order for that to have happened there would have had to be at least 2 people involved (if not more), the person with the intent to tamper/contaminate the DNA sample from Mrs. Eastburn with the DNA sample from Mr. Hennis and the person who was working as security in the evidence storage area. I find that scenario highly unlikely. I will wonder for a very long time what exactly happened on the night of the murders - I think I will tend to believe what one of the investigators stated on 20/20, Hennis went to the Eastburn home hoping for or expecting a sexual encounter with Mrs. Eastburn after meeting her previously when he picked up their dog and mistakenly getting the impression that she was somehow willing to engage in something sexual with him, and when she wasn't, things went horribly wrong. I will always wonder why the baby was spared. Was it because she was so close in age to his own little girl?

KJM on September 02, 2011:

Has this man been put to death for this crime already?

truecrimefan on August 03, 2011:

I just watched the movie last night, Innocent Victims. Very good, however since it was made in 1996 there is no current update of what has recently happened. Anyways, there was a part in the movie where one of the investigators I believe mentioned there being 2 assailants. Anyone have an opinon about that?

Jackfan on June 29, 2011:

For all you knuckle-draggers who think he's innocent...get a brain (although I think it's probably one troll who keeps posting...). Framed? What idiots...

colinsprau on June 29, 2011:

I know Hennis did it but saying that the sperm couldve been from earlier worries me

SexyJ35 on June 28, 2011:

Another thing I would like to know to those who are convinced of his guilt....Why did they wait so long to test this so called DNA sample...doesn't sound right to me...I'm sure these new techniques were available prior to the testing done on this sample....its just not sitting right with me...Plus you have a police force and prosecutors who are intent with revenge and obviously have a vendetta against this guy...I can't accept this evidence as credible....

SexyJ35 on June 28, 2011:

LadyL I think you are full of it....u are probably looking for attention...

SexyJ35 on June 28, 2011:

Also for those who believe that Tim Hennis is going to hell because of his guilt are terribly wrong...If he was the killer and has repented of this crime then the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY will forgive him....

SexyJ35 on June 28, 2011:

I'm with HennisFramed I smell a frame wouldn't be the first time that police and prosecutors frame an innocent person to save face or because they truly believe him to be guilty...There are too many holes in the story and too many questions remain unanswered.....I think he is innocent of this crime...but really only GOD and the real killers know who the true perpetrator is...

Paula on June 28, 2011:

Sure he was good for all that time afterward. He had received a "get out jail free" card. Squeaking by with your life is a good motivator for a person to be as good as possible. I'm glad that technology advanced to the point that the DNA could be tested.

Katy Marie on June 28, 2011:

Noone wants to believe the so-called 'nice guy or girl' does the crime. We see a portion of someone's personality and assume because he/she is a hard worker, church member, volunteers in the community, etc... they couldn't possibly have a dark, twisted side to them. Fact is, most of us do - maybe not to the extent of raping or murdering someone, but we ALL have that something deep inside. 99.9% of the convicts in prison ARE guilty of the crime they were convicted. Of course, we want to think our loved one is the .1% who is innocent.

HennisFramed on June 11, 2011:

I've been reading all the comments and what everyone is failing to see is that the so-called DNA evidence was first tested in CUMBERLAND COUNTY (the same place where he had his first two trials). The police and the SBI have had it in for Hennis since he showed up at the police station in 1985 saying he adopted the Eastburns' dog Dixie.

With all the circumstantial evidence pointing AWAY from Hennis, and in the second trial with Pat Cone thoroughly vilified as a liar and with the police and SBI thoroughly vilified as liars and conspirators, what is to stop the SBI and Cumberland County police DOCTORING the so-called evidence?

In fact, in the second trial a DNA expert was on the stand for the prosecution and told the jury, the judge, the prosecutors and the defense, that the semen sample taken from Katie Eastburn was too severely decomposed for any testing. So riddle me this, if the semen sample from Mrs. Eastburn was too severely decomposed (and lets not forget that they did other testing on it too), how in the hell could any viable DNA be left for testing some 25 years later?

The chain of evidence was also compromised too. I wouldn't put it past Cumberland County, in their strong belief that Hennis is guilty, to have tampered with the evidence. Let's not forget that Hennis gave samples of his blood, head hair, pubic hair and semen for a rape kit the day he went to the police station to say he adopted the dog. It would have been too easy for Cumberland County, who has had it in for Hennis all these years, and for the SBI to take Hennis' semen sample from the rape kit and mix it in with the decomposed semen...and viola they have a match.

I emailed Hennis' lawyer and told him this, but he never looked into it...obviously...or he would have argued that.

DNA testing can be used to free innocent people from prison and, in this case, it can also be used to imprison an innocent man. Tim Hennis IS innocent and a victim of a someone's sick idea of revenge. If I had the money to pay for Billy Richardson to defend Hennis again, I would because Hennis is innocent. And I really can't believe that a jury of supposedly smart individuals sentenced him to death.

Girly35 on April 28, 2011:

Timothy Hennis was an acting 1SG in Fort Lewis in 2000. He bragged about these murders and even had the audacity to sign books for the soldiers as if he were some hero. He was hateful then and I never believed for once he was innocent. As a CJ major back then, he gave away too much info not to be guilty. What innocent man speaks of such a vicious crime such as this so boldly. He thought he had beaten the system. He is rightfully where he belongs.

truthandonlytruth on March 23, 2011:

Hennis committed this crime, Hennis should pay for this crime. I feel so badly for the daughter of Hennis, it wasn't her choice to grow up with him as a father. For his wife I feel no sympathy. She made a decision the first time he went to trial to stand by a man who had even put himself in a prediciment to be accused of such a hainus crime. The Eastburn's have made a great life for thmeselves and netiher Gary or Jana will ever forget the family they once had. As a parent I can't say that I wouldn't do exactly what Timothy's parents did by supporting their son as much as they could... My child is my child no matter what happens. Woodman, I appreciate all of your comments as well as that of the others on here. I know that forever there will be 2 sides of this story just as any and all stories, however Timothy Hennis is GUILTY of Murder and Rape. I just wish that someone could punish him the way he punished Katy and her two beautiful daughters... May GOD be with everyone affected by this terrible crime.

joe on February 02, 2011:

I think you meant "fathom" not "phantom"

ladyl on January 29, 2011:

Oops! correction not the Heartburns but my prayers are with the Eastburn family.

ladyl on January 29, 2011:

I worked with Hennis prior to his retirement and majority of the people did not like him. He spent a lot of time promoting his book; some people bought it others refused to contribute to his finances. The people in the unit both military and civilians who read the book were convinced of his guilt. The book like the movie left you wondering of his guilt more than his innocence. However when asked if he committed the murder he would not say no or yes in which further fueled the suspicion of his guilt. When he retired he applied for a job with my company, I refused to hire him because like most I discerned his guilt and did not trust him. When the news broke of his rearrested none of the people whom had worked with him was surprise, the most popular response was I knew he was guilty. I would be willing to bet no one from the unit he retired from was contacted to testify as a character witness, if they were they probably refused. He was very arrogant and pompous to the point of believing he was above authority and he could not be caught. My heart extends to his wife, for I could not phantom what it must have been like for her living through the ordeal, being totally convinced of his innocence all these years, only for the DNA test to come back and began to tare away at his innocence. My heart also goes out to the Heartburn family for years they lived within miles of the killer of his wife and children; I would not to be surprise if he or his daughter did not encounter Hennis on base at the commissary or the PX/BX. I pray for both families that the healing process begins and that Hennis will admit the truth for both his family and himself, his wife deserves it, she remain dedicated to Hennis for all these years, talk about taking your wedding vows serious. However, I know there is a part of her, that knows her husband really committed the crimes, she just continues to hold on to the lie because she does not want to face reality in which is very devastating to the average person. Bottom-line emotionally it is much easier for her to continue to believe the lie than the truth. Lastly, deep down I know Hennis probably is still too arrogant and pompous to do the right thing for all parties involved, “admit he is guilty”. May Hennis find the only and true God prior to his death, Amen.

Dont kill Hennis!!! on January 27, 2011:

I think the injection is a easy way out,

He stole a whole families life away right from under them...

He got his freedom and was able to watch his child grow up,

He had a life because he had a rich daddy to pay for 2 of the best lawyers not because he was innocent because of $$!!

What about the psychological damage the Eastburn's have to over come...

F@$K him he should ROT in a SMALL COLD WET CELL barely large enough for him, AND NEVER BE ALLOWED TO SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY AGAIN!!! Jail is to kind to these seriously F#$Ked up child murdering bar$4rds, And to be put to death is a easy way out, MAKE him suffer a long LOCKED UP life in some "remote prison" you know the kind Off Shore where The Government send suspected terrorist ...

kai777 from Chicago on September 21, 2010:

His sentence will never compensate for the loss to the family of this mother and her children. However, I am happy to read that the justice system did "punish" this demon spirited man in a way that was suitable to the crime. That is proof that what you do, you may get by for awhile, but in the end you never get a way with it... (some way, some how, you pay) Great Post!

Luis on September 20, 2010:

I always wonder about the rage that makes some people

kill. It seems this monster felt pleasure slicing those

little girls. This the dark side of America that never

fails to shock me.

Someone placed him at the scene on September 20, 2010:

Should we discount that person as well and call them a liar too. Like someone said, his dna did not get there by accident.

Factwitness on September 18, 2010:

Great posting, Woodwoman. I followed this horrific case until Hennis' acquittal at his second trial. Years later, after I was forensically trained, I wondered if law enforcement had preserved Ms. Eastburn's vaginal swab. I knew if they had, it was only a matter of time before they submitted that swab for DNA profiling. I am sure Hennis was aware that this was a distinct possibility, but wrongly figured he could never be tried again. I am just so relieved for the Eastburn family that justice has finally been served.

Guest Guy on September 18, 2010:

Frank Spinner defended him in his court-martial. Frank's a private attorney. He had both Frank and a military lawyer, but he (or someone on his behalf) did hire Spinner. Spinner also defended Airman Witt who got the death penalty in the Air Force in 2006 or 2007. Nice track record huh?

Montreal attorney on September 18, 2010:

Wow just watched the 20 20 show and I am now FASCINATED by this case.

From an academical point of view, this is just an amazing case to study.

I just can't quite make my mind yet on the guilty or not, this really pushes to the extreme the concept of reasonnable doubt and what is reasonnable doubt.

There is obviously doubt in this case, but what I dont get is why Hennis did not clearly explain in the third trial the circumstances of his sexual relation with the victim I mean this is a serious blow to his credibility.

Can anyone comment this?

Gettaalife on September 18, 2010:

Wow! U people got a lot of time on ur hands!!!

DefiantOne on September 18, 2010:

DNA doesn't lie, sorry. If Tim Hennis refused to admit to an affair with Mrs. Eastman, then he hung himself. His semen didn't get inside her by accident.

The reason he didn't admit to an affair is because there was none. There is doubt in this case, but not reasonable doubt. The preponderance evidence points to guilty beyond reasonable doubt. It really is that simple.

Off to death row, goodbye.

Polyglot on September 17, 2010:

One more point, for those who think he was having an affair with her...if your life was on the line, wouldn't you admit to an affair if it could account for why your DNA was found on the body? As for being railroaded... what would be their purpose? Some vendetta by the detectives who sent the DNA off for analysis? Just doesn't add up.

Polyglot on September 17, 2010:

Of course the comments are all from Woodwoman! She is the person who wrote the article and is defending her info! There is so much evidence that points to Hennis' guilt that only the ignorant would doubt it. The MOST damning of all is the DNA. Contamination? Come on! As Woodwoman said, how else would it have gotten inside of Katy?

Terry on September 17, 2010:

I support you 100 per cent woodwoman.

Fort Bragg Roommate on September 17, 2010:

I was stationed at Fort Bragg from 1981-1984. Timothy was my first roommate at E Company 505, 82nd Airborne. He was a tall guy..about 6'4". We were a TOW Company. Tank Killers. We called him "Big Bird" because of his blonde hair and how tall he was. He was 3 years older than myself (which at that time was 20). Timothy went on to Riggers School and was re-assigned to another unit. I lost contact with him during that time. I left Fort Bragg in 1984 to go to Fort Gordon and then onto Germany. The 20/20 show tonight astounded me. I hadn't heard of the murders so I am unbiased in this case. Timothy was very laid back. I could describe him as lazy but we all ribbed each other pretty bad back them. I never witnessed any type of bad temper that was described in the show. My personal opinion is that Tim is probably being railroaded. He was seeing a married woman when I was his roommate but I could not specifically say it was Mrs. Eastman. In response to some of the above comments, Timothy was married at the time of the murders so I can understand him not saying that he was having an affair with Mrs. Eastman...I mean..who would? Besides a 25 year old semen sample what else would link him? What about the male DNA under all of the girls fingernails (not being Timothy's)? I also went to the Dragon Club on Post and picked up women not knowing if they were married or not. I really do find it hard to believe that he committed these murders. We were trained well to kill the enemy at Fort Bragg. I just can't see him snapping and killing Mrs. Eastman and the other two children.

EataBiggon on September 17, 2010:

Is Marista's last name Hennis??

GrimReaper on September 17, 2010:

Anyone who thinks this psycho is innocent, must be living in fantasy land !! He is guilty as HELL and will burn in the lake of fire. I bet Lucifer can't wait until they stick the needle in this MONSTER!!! Lol, lmao

ZKj on September 17, 2010:

I just watched 20/20 tonight and it sure looks like this scumbag Hennis is guilty.I hope he meets his maker soon and it doesn't drag on for years.

marista on September 17, 2010:

Looks like these comments are all from Woodwoman. Anything better to do?

RoBo on August 27, 2010:

I attended part of the military trial. The jury got it right. Patrick Cone's eyewitness testimony and the composite drawing, plus the DNA are conclusive. But there was more. Anybody who still thinks he's innocent is an idiot.

woodwoman (author) on May 08, 2010:

Tim Hennis said during his first and second trials that the only time he was in the house or met any of its occupants was when he came to get the dog. Was he lying then? They didn't test Pat Cone for DNA because that test was not available at the time of the murders. The rest of your questions/points are jammed up in one huge paragraphs and I couldn't get through them all. I guess we'll just have to say Hennis' DNA got inside Mrs. Eastburn by magic.

As for Jeffery McDonald, oh puleeeze!

ABNPARALEGAL on May 08, 2010:

I prayed for his acquittal, and I still do so. I sat in this military trial and was disgusted with the disrespect given to the Hennis family by local Cumberland County Prosecutors who spoke out loudly during the trial when they decided to come in during closing arguments. I am a person who believes that although you may have lied about having sex with Katie; this does not make you a murderer. I am just not convinced that he killed Katie, Erin and Cara.

I am in awe that a man who came into the Winn Dixie with scratches on his face was not brought in and DNA'd after the murders; there was a Winn Dixie directly behind the ATM used by the murderer; why would Hennis have been wearing a white t-shirt and BDU bottoms while using that ATM (white t-shirt was not the uniform at that time); why did the detectives not follow protocol when questioning Patrick Cone, he was a person who would have done anything to please cops at that time since he was in a closed car and may have felt obligated to give them a positive ID; why was Timothy Hennis the only guy in the line up wearing a black jacket; why did they decide to allow Patrick Cone to recant his sworn affidavit about how he was unsure if he actually saw Hennis that night; why was there so many lies about what the weather was like that night by Seefeldt; why didn't the medical examiner find any popcorn in the stomachs of the children if they supposedly ate it that night at the Seefeldts; do you really think someone who wears a size 12 shoe could seriously squeeze their foot into a size 9; why did CC release that house before the defense had the opportunity to process it themselves; why did the Army not provide the money required for the defense to pay expert witnesses; why did the Panel make it known they had already made their minds up after day 3 of the army trial; why were the panel members NOT corrected for falling asleep during the trial; why did Patrick Cone tell his friends that he was drunk that night, but lied on the stand that he wasn't drinking that night he supposedly saw Hennis walking down the driveway; where the hell is David Hill who lived across the street and told the cops he saw some guys in a Blue Van parked outside for many nights before the murders and the night of the murders; why would Julie Czerniak cut all ties with Jeffrey MacDonald after the murders; why didn't it ever come out that Julie's step-brother had the exact same car as Hennis; why didn't it come out that the phone calls received by the Eastburns could have been by a person who thought Julie Czerniak lived at the Eastburn home instead of just being the babysitter (she was a drug informant for CC); why didn't the medical examiner take a swab of the area in between Katie Eastburns legs; why did the Seefeldt's lie about having the baby handed to them outside the window, when it was Julie the baby was handed too; why didn't the cops find out who's white chevette was parked down the street by the used car lot for 3 days after the murders; why was there NO blood found in Hennis' car, on his jacket, or his shoes; why didn't they bring in the men who saw Katie hanging out at the Dragon Club on post; why didn't they get fingerprints off of the door jams and door knobs; why weren't the photos of the bulletin board from the crime scene allowed into evidence; why weren't they allowed to bring up the license plate number written down by neighbors, Julie and Katie allowed into evidence; the plate was a NY license number and it belonged to a middle eastern guy; Oddly enough, the Radtke's testified that the person they saw was not white, not black, but someone with a slight tan face; even though Charlotte Kirby was a bit insane on the stand, why discount the fact that she was also receiving threatening phone calls after she saw someone that early morning while delivering newspapers...and the list I have goes on.

I am just left with so much doubt, and when it comes to a person's life, we must be certain beyond a reasonable doubt that they committed the crime. I just wish people would stop forgetting this concept.

Sadly enough, we will never know for sure. I would much rather set a guilty man free than to send an innocent man to death row. Maybe after committing suicide, Mr. Vanstory has found the true answers to all these questions.

Timothy obviously had sex with Katie; however I still can not be sure beyond a reasonable doubt that he was the killer, and the Army's Courts Martial certainly was not fair and unbiased.

woodwoman (author) on May 05, 2010:

That doesn't look likely, Chad.

Chad on May 05, 2010:


woodwoman (author) on May 03, 2010:

Thanks jjb for your comment. It seems you are in the military legal system or have contacts who are. Your information is appreciated.

jjb on May 01, 2010:

Dr. John Butts, NC Chief Medical Examiner, testified during the Court Martial that at 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.

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