Tuesday, September 14, 2010

3rd Times the Charm

by SAM

Just to think, if DNA advancements were never made this case would have never gotten any closure. A case that was over 20 years old finally got solved using DNA that was not able to be used in the first two trials. It was a good thing that he was able to be called back to active duty and be tried, because if not he would have litterally gotten away with murder.

A soldier aquitted of three murders more than 20 years ago in civilian court was convicted by a military jury on Thursday because of DNA tests that were not available in the earlier trial. The soldier, Master Sgt. Timothy B. Hennis, 52, had been recalled to active service specifically to face the military court at Fort Bragg, N.C. He had initially been convicted of raping and murdering Kathryn Eastburn and killing her two young daughters in 1985 in Fayetteville, N.C. But the North Carolina Supreme Court called for a retrial, saying the testimony had been weak. That second trial, in 1989, ended in acquittal. In the years since then, DNA identification technology improved, and a subsequent test linked Mr. Hennis to Ms. Eastburn’s body. Mr. Hennis could not be tried again in state court under rules of double jeopardy, but could be tried by a military jury for the crime, which occurred while he was stationed at Fort Bragg. The military had taken up the case in 2006 after a cold-case detective at the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office had materials from Ms. Eastburn’s autopsy tested for DNA and there was a match to Mr. Hennis, The Fayetteville Observer reported.

In this case he only got convicted again because he was able to be called back to active duty and tried in military court. Double jeopardy would have saved him if this was not the case. It seems like something should be done to prevent this from even being able to happen.


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