On April 8, a military jury in Fort Bragg, North Carolina found Master Sgt. Timothy Hennis guilty of three counts of premeditated first degree murder after less than three hours of deliberation. A sentencing hearing is scheduled to begin this Friday and conclude the following Monday. Hennis could be sentenced to death or life in prison for the 1985 murders of Kathryn Eastburn and two of her daughters.
This was Hennis' third murder trial. He was originally convicted in 1986 in civilian court and sentenced to death but the North Carolina Supreme Court granted him a new trial at which he was acquitted in 1989.
The 1993 book on the Eastburn case Innocent Victims by Scott Whisnant spawned a cable television miniseries. Interestingly, author Whisnant does not believe Hennis to be guilty of the murders, feeling instead that the person responsible has a much deeper and darker psychosis than Hennis.
See my earlier posts on this case HERE and HERE.
Jeffrey and Colette MacDonald in 1969 (top) and MacDonald in 2007
The Fourth Circuit Court is going to hear an appeal on the triple murder case involving former Army physician and surgeon Jefffrey MacDonald. Lawyers for MacDonald argued that new DNA evidence and a witness statement by a former federal marshal claiming that a prosecutor threatened a witness show MacDonald is innocent of the brutal crimes that spawned the bestseller Fatal Vision, as well as a miniseries by the same name.
Federal prosecutors argued that the DNA test results (showing a hair found under the fingernail of Kristen MacDonald did not match any member of the MacDonald family) cannot be considered by the appeals court at this time, that the threat claims lack merit and that MacDonald is merely rehashing old evidence from previous unsuccessful appeals.
The panel is expected to decide within a few weeks whether or not MacDonald will be granted a new trial.
MacDonald is serving three life terms for the 1970 murders of his wife Colettte and daughters Kimberley and Kristen at their Fort Bragg, North Carolina home, just six months after the shocking Tate-LaBianca murders by the Manson Family. MacDonald has always claimed a drug-induced quartet of hippies slayed his family and attacked him.
See my earlier posts on this case HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE,