For 2nd Time, Man Sentenced to Death for Murders

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The case against Hennis in the two previous trials relied largely on eyewitness testimony. One neighbor said she'd seen a white Chevy Chevette, the same car that Hennis drove, parked near the Eastburns' home, and another neighbor said he'd noticed a man, later identified as Hennis, leaving the crime scene at about 3 a.m., soon after the murders were believed to have taken place. Someone else said she'd seen someone she later identified as Hennis using an ATM card that detectives had traced back to the Eastburns.

But eyewitness testimony can be problematic, and in the earlier trials as well as at the court martial, Hennis' defense attorneys raised questions about the witnesses who had identified him.

This time, though, Army prosecutors had DNA evidence linking Hennis to the rape and the murders.

In the defense's closing arguments, attorney Frank Spinner urged jurors, out of passion, not to convict his client. He noted that there was no blood, fingerprint or fiber evidence that connected Hennis to the crime and that Hennis had been seen working on a dollhouse, presumably for his young daughter, at the time bank transaction records showed the stolen ATM card had been used.

Spinner even suggested that it was possible there was no rape, but rather that Eastburn and Hennis had had consensual sex a couple days before she and her children were murdered by some other unknown person or persons.

Hennis Found Guilty of Triple Murder

The military jury rejected the defense's arguments, and in April 2010, found Hennis guilty on three specifications of premeditated murder.

Hennis is now on death row at an Army facility in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., while his lawyers plan his appeal. The case could eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

While the case goes on for Hennis and his family, it's finally over for the Eastburns.

"My heart goes out to them. I can certainly relate to the pain they're feeling," said Gary Eastburn. "I ... hope none of you feel that I'm gloating over this. ... I just feel that justice has finally been done."

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