FORT BRAGG, N.C. – A retired Army master sergeant recalled to active duty so he could be investigated by the military in a 1985 triple slaying was charged Thursday with three counts of premeditated murder and one of rape in the deaths of an Air Force captain's wife and daughters.
Timothy B. Hennis had been convicted and sentenced to death 20 years ago in a state court, but was released after he was acquitted at a second trial.
The military recalled Hennis to duty Oct. 30 from his home in Lakewood, Wash., after the district attorney in Cumberland County gave new DNA evidence to military officials. State prosecutors couldn't reopen the case because of the constitutional protection against double jeopardy.
Hennis was convicted in 1986 of killing and raping Kathryn Eastburn and killing Erin and Kara Eastburn. Their throats were cut in their home near Fort Bragg while Capt. Gary Eastburn was at a training school in Alabama. Hennis had adopted the family's dog several days earlier.
The state Supreme Court granted him a new trial in 1988 after concluding his first trial was run unfairly and the evidence against him was weak. He was then acquitted in April 1989.
A decision on whether to seek the death penalty for the three murder charges hasn't been made, said 18th Airborne Corps spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Patterson.