Killer Couples Premiered ‘Michelle Theer & John Diamond’ on Oxygen: Affair Leads to Murder of Air Force Capt. Marty Theer (September 3, 2016)

A frantic, distraught woman runs into a video rental store screaming that her husband has been shot. -Michelle Theer & John Diamond, Killer Couples

Killer Couples: S8 E5 Preview – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen

Killer Couples: S8 E5 After the Verdict – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen

Psychologist Debbie Layton-Tholl talks about her experience meeting with Michelle Theer. -Michelle Theer & John Diamond, Killer Couples

A lonely military wife and psychologist go searching for sex on the Internet with deadly results. -Michelle Theer & John Diamond, Killer Couples (S8,E5)

Investigation Discovery:

In 2000, Michelle Theer was an Air Force wife in the military town of Fayetteville until a fatal shooting made her a widow. The investigation into her husband’s death led police to the door of an Army Ranger – taking orders from very unlikely accomplices. -Fayetteville, Sins and Secrets (S2,E3)

Sexy psychologist and doting Air Force wife Michelle begins a swinging affair with Army Sgt. Diamond while her husband, Captain Marty Theer, is away. But all’s fair in love and war, and Marty’s return will remind them that love is a battlefield. -Sergeant Swinger, Scorned: Love Kills (S4,E1)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
Killer Couples: S8 E5 Sneak Peek – My Husband Has Been Shot! | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E5 Preview – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E5 After the Verdict – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E5 Bonus Clip – Michelle Was Villified by the Media | Oxygen
Michelle Theer & John Diamond | Killer Couples | Oxygen (S8,E5)
Michelle Theer & John Diamond | Killer Couples | Oxygen (Amazon)
Fayetteville | Sins and Secrets | Investigation Discovery (S2,E3)
Fayetteville | Sins and Secrets | Investigation Discovery (website)
Fayetteville | Sins and Secrets | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S4,E1)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (website)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Air Force Capt. Frank Theer Murdered by Unidentified Gunman; Wife Michelle & Army SSG John Diamond Sentenced to Life in Prison (December 17, 2000)
Army SSG John Diamond Convicted of Murder of Air Force Capt. Frank Theer; Military Court Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (August 28, 2001)
Former Air Force Reservist Michelle Theer Convicted of Murder of Husband Frank Theer; Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (December 3, 2004)
Sins and Secrets Premiered ‘Fayetteville’ on Investigation Discovery: Michelle Theer & John Diamond Left a Permanent Mark on Community (January 26, 2012)
Scorned, Love Kills Premiered ‘Sergeant Swinger’ on ID: Air Force Captain’s Murder Reveals Wife’s Evil Intent, Adultery & Greed (October 4, 2014)
Scorned, Love Kills: 6 Active Duty Military Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

Scorned, Love Kills Premiered ‘Sergeant Swinger’ on ID: Air Force Captain’s Murder Reveals Wife’s Evil Intent, Adultery & Greed (October 4, 2014)

Sexy psychologist and doting Air Force wife Michelle begins a swinging affair with Army Sgt. Diamond while her husband, Captain Marty Theer, is away. But all’s fair in love and war, and Marty’s return will remind them that love is a battlefield. -Sergeant Swinger, Scorned: Love Kills (S4,E1)

In 2000, Michelle Theer was an Air Force wife in the military town of Fayetteville until a fatal shooting made her a widow. The investigation into her husband’s death led police to the door of an Army Ranger – taking orders from very unlikely accomplices. -Fayetteville, Sins and Secrets (S2,E3)

Oxygen:

A frantic, distraught woman runs into a video rental store screaming that her husband has been shot. -Michelle Theer & John Diamond, Killer Couples

Killer Couples: S8 E5 Preview – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen

Killer Couples: S8 E5 After the Verdict – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen

Psychologist Debbie Layton-Tholl talks about her experience meeting with Michelle Theer. -Michelle Theer & John Diamond, Killer Couples

A lonely military wife and psychologist go searching for sex on the Internet with deadly results. -Michelle Theer & John Diamond, Killer Couples (S8,E5)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S4,E1)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (website)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Fayetteville | Sins and Secrets | Investigation Discovery (S2,E3)
Fayetteville | Sins and Secrets | Investigation Discovery (website)
Fayetteville | Sins and Secrets | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Killer Couples: S8 E5 Sneak Peek – My Husband Has Been Shot! | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E5 Preview – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E5 After the Verdict – Michelle Theer and John Diamond | Oxygen
Killer Couples: S8 E5 Bonus Clip – Michelle Was Villified by the Media | Oxygen
Michelle Theer & John Diamond | Killer Couples | Oxygen (S8,E5)
Michelle Theer & John Diamond | Killer Couples | Oxygen (Amazon)
Air Force Capt. Frank Theer Murdered by Unidentified Gunman; Wife Michelle & Army SSG John Diamond Sentenced to Life in Prison (December 17, 2000)
Army SSG John Diamond Convicted of Murder of Air Force Capt. Frank Theer; Military Court Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (August 28, 2001)
Former Air Force Reservist Michelle Theer Convicted of Murder of Husband Frank Theer; Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (December 3, 2004)
Sins and Secrets Premiered ‘Fayetteville’ on Investigation Discovery: Michelle Theer & John Diamond Left a Permanent Mark on Community (January 26, 2012)
Killer Couples Premiered ‘Michelle Theer & John Diamond’ on Oxygen: Affair Leads to Murder of Air Force Capt. Marty Theer (September 3, 2016)
Scorned, Love Kills: 6 Active Duty Military Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

September: U.S. Department of Defense Casualties Report (2010)

xl_deptofdefenselogo

09/30/2010:  DOD Identifies Air Force Casualty: Mark Forester, 29, Afghanistan, Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina

09/29/2010:  DOD Identifies Marine Casualty: Ralph Fabbri, 20, Afghanstan, Camp Pendleton, California

09/28/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualties: Mark Simpson, 40, and Donald Morrison, 23, Afghanistan, Fort Hood, Texas

09/27/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualties: William Dawson, 20, and Jaysine Petree, 19, Afghanistan, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska

09/27/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualty: Marc Whisenant, 23, NCD, Kuwait, Florida Army National Guard

09/27/2010:  Missing WWII Naval Aviators Identified

09/27/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualties: John Carrillo Jr, 20, and Gebrah Noonan, 26, NCDs, Iraq, Fort Stewart, Georgia

09/27/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualty: Clinton Springer II, 21, NCD, Afghanistan, Fort Drum, New York

09/24/2010:  DOD Identifies Marine Casualty: Anthony Rosa, 20, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/23/2010:  Missing WWII Soldier is Identified in Germany

09/22/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualties: Robert Baldwin, 39, Matthew Wagstaff, 34, Jonah McClellan, 26, Joshua Powell, 25, and Marvin Calhoun Jr, 23, NCDs, Afghanistan, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

09/22/2010:  DOD Identifies Navy Casualty: Brendan Looney, 29, NCD, Afghanistan, West Coast Based SEAL Team

09/22/2010:  DOD Identifies Navy Casualties: David McLendon, 30, Adam Smith, 26, and Denis Miranda, 24, NCDs, East Coast Based SEAL Team

09/22/2010:  Missing WWII Soldier is Identified

09/22/2010:  DOD Identifies Air Force Casualty: Michael Buras, 23, Afghanistan, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada

09/21/2010:  DOD Identifies Marine Casualty: Joshua Ose, 19, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/20/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualty: Joshua Harton, 23, Afghanistan, Fort Drum, New York

09/20/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualty: Paul Carron, 33, NCD, Afghanistan, Vilseck, Germany

09/20/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualty: Barbara Vieyra, 22, Afghanistan, Fort Hood, Texas

09/20/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualty: Timothy Johnson, 24, Afghanistan, Fort Carson, Colorado

09/20/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualty: Ronald Grider, 30, Afghanistan, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

09/20/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualties: Eric Yates, 26, and Jaime Newman, 27, Afghanistan, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

09/20/2010:  DOD Identifies Marine Casualty: Scott Fleming, 24, Afghanistan, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii

09/18/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualty: Deangelo Snow, 22, Afghanistan, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

09/17/2010:  DOD Identifies Air Force Casualty: Daniel Sanchez, 23, Afghanistan, Hurlburt Field, Florida

09/17/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualty: Aaron Kramer, 22, Afghanistan, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

09/17/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualty: John Burner III, 32, NCD, Iraq, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

09/16/2010:  DOD Identifies Air Force Casualty: James Hansen, 25, NCD, Iraq, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida

09/16/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualty: Ryan Hopkins, 21, NCD, Iraq, Fort Carson, Colorado

09/16/2010:  Army Releases August Suicide Data

09/10/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualty: Todd Weaver, 26, Afghanistan, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

09/09/2010:  DOD Identifies Marine Casualty: John Bishop, 25, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/09/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualties: Philip Jenkins, 26, and James McClamrock, 22, NCDs, Iraq, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii

09/09/2010:  DOD Identifies Marine Casualty: Jesse Balthaser, 23, Afghanistan, Twentynine Palms, California

09/08/2010:  DOD Identifies Marine Casualty: Philip Charte, 22, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/07/2010:  DOD Identifies Marine Casualty: Ross Carver, 21, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/07/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualty: Jason McMahon, 35, Afghanistan, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

09/07/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualty: Diego Montoya, 20, Afghanistan, Fort Hood, Texas

09/03/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualties: Vinson Adkinson III, 26, Raymond Alcaraz, 20, Matthew George, 22, and James Page, 23, Afghanistan, Bamberg, Germany

09/03/2010:  DOD Identifies Marine Casualty: Joshua Twigg, 21, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/02/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualties: Mark Noziska, 24, and Casey Grochowiak, 34, Afghanistan, Fort Carson, Colorado

09/02/2010:  DOD Identifies Marine Casualty: Christopher Rodgers, 20, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/01/2010:  DOD Identifies Marine Casualty: Cody Roberts, 22, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/01/2010:  DOD Identifies Marine Casualty: Joseph Bovia, 24, Afghanistan, Okinawa, Japan

09/01/2010:  DOD Identifies Army Casualties: Dale Goetz, 43, Jesse Infante, 30, Kevin Kessler, 32, Matthew West, 36, and Chad Clements, 26, Afghanistan, Fort Carson, Colorado

09/01/2010:  U.S. Soldier MIA from Korean War Identified

Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives by Tanya Biank (February 7, 2006)

Army Wives Lifetime

Army Wives, a Lifetime television series based on the non-fiction book written by Tanya Biank.

In Their Name:
Colette, Kimberley & Kristen MacDonald, Fort Bragg (Feb. 17, 1970)
Michael James & Jackie Burden, Fayetteville, NC (December 7, 1995)
Captain Frank ‘Marty’ Theer, U.S. Air Force (December 17, 2000)
Lt. Col. Rennie Cory, U.S. Army, Fort Bragg (April 7, 2001)
Pfc. Gary Shane Kalinofski, U.S. Army, Fort Drum (March 4, 2002)
Army Spouse Teresa Nieves, North Carolina (June 11, 2002)
Army Spouse Jennifer Wright, North Carolina (June 29, 2002)
Army Spouse Marilyn Styles-Griffin, North Carolina (July 9, 2002)
Army Spouse & Veteran Andrea Floyd, North Carolina (July 19, 2002)
Major David Shannon, U.S. Army, Fort Bragg (July 23, 2002)
Sgt. Erin Edwards, U.S. Army, Fort Hood (July 22, 2004)
Sgt. Ronna Valentine, U.S. Army, Fort Bragg (May 21, 2005)

Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives or Army Wives by Tanya Biank was an excellent read. I first heard about the book when I was researching the 2002 Fort Bragg murders of Teresa Nieves, Jennifer Wright, Marilyn Griffin, Andrea Floyd and Major David Shannon. I ordered it from Amazon and threw it in a pile with all my other military crime books until I saw a Forbidden: Dying for Love episode about the murder of Army spouse Jennifer Wright. The show didn’t mention it but I knew Jennifer’s murder was one of five homicides at Fort Bragg that occurred within a two month period in 2002. I learned more about Jennifer Wright from Investigation Discovery than what’s available on-line. And at the time, the national media was quick to speculate whether war & violence, frequent deployments or anti-malaria drugs were to blame. But after the Army investigated itself, it determined that the high operational tempo after September 11, 2001 placed a great strain on already troubled marriages.

In other words, some form of domestic abuse, financial issues, and adultery in some cases were to blame for stained marriages. I researched the five murders and the motives were similar in four of the cases. Arguments were a pre-cursor to the murders and three out of four of the spouses wanted to leave the relationship. Was rejection the trigger? Domestic violence experts agree leaving the relationship is the most dangerous time. In Major Shannon’s case, it appears that the motive was greed, pure and simple, as greed is one of the most common motives for female killers. Major Shannon’s wife Joan stood to gain a large amount of money from his Serviceman’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI) if he died. This time the Army was most likely correct but unfortunately things haven’t changed to this day. There have been many more victims of domestic violence in the military since 2002 and this book inspired me to honor each and every one of them.

The author Tanya Biank grew up in a military family and covered military issues at Fort Bragg as a reporter for the Fayetteville Observer. Tanya was able to give us a realistic perspective of what was going on at Fort Bragg during the time period right before and after September 11, 2001. Tanya was the one writing about the rash of homicides for the local newspaper during the summer of 2002. As a result of Tanya’s reporting, the main stream media picked up the story and it went national and international. Fort Bragg was forced to answer to a frenzied pack of media outlets and in typical fashion, the Army investigated itself and found themselves not responsible. Although Tanya reported in the book that Congress authorized $5 million for domestic violence programs in the military that year. And on December 2, 2002, President Bush signed into law an act that makes domestic violence protective orders enforceable on military installations.

Tanya was the perfect person to write about Fort Bragg. She had a great understanding of the various perspectives and this was revealed in the book. She talked about how September 11th changed things for both the service member and the families. I found myself feeling thankful for the education about Fort Bragg’s missions and how they fit into the big picture. They train hard for a reason. They are some of the first on the front lines and some of the families have no idea where they are going or how long they will be gone. Unexpectedly, I experienced a myriad of emotions as I read along. Emotions about 9/11, emotions about what was happening at my own squadron, and emotions around the notifications of death. My Commander and a Chaplain informed me of my father’s unexpected death. And my colleagues helped me get home safely. I realized this was standard protocol while reading this book.

I couldn’t put the book down once I started, despite the emotions and memories it triggered. Tanya Biank did a great job of enticing the reader to learn more about the individual and the family, and just when you least expected, the unexpected would happen. It reminded me of my own life and how hard it was to put mission before self year after year when all one was doing was stuffing down the pain. But like those in the book, we don’t seek counseling because it’s considered a career ender. We don’t trust the system so most of us just keep our troubles to ourselves. And for those who want to maintain a security clearance, we know they are going to ask the question about mental health treatment. I understand why the question has to be asked because it’s important to identify someone with suicidal tendencies or anger problems but it prevents the rest of us from asking for the help we need, until it’s too late.

Tanya talked about the unusually high crime rates in Fayetteville and she said its civilians who commit most of the crime. She admitted Fort Bragg was under the shadow of the the murders of Colette, Kimberley & Kristen MacDonald in 1970 because former Captain Jeffrey MacDonald, despite being found guilty, swears he’s innocent. As recently as December 2018, MacDonald was denied a new trial by a federal appeals court and he continues to be the subject of both media and true crime programming. Tanya also talked about the racially motivated murders of Michael James & Jackie Burden in 1995. Army privates James Burmeister and Malcolm Wright were found guilty of the crime. This too made national news and the Army was forced to weed out any perceived Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and skinheads. The media speculated the Army was full of them; turns out this random attack by Fort Bragg soldiers was an isolated incident.

After researching the five Fort Bragg murders in 2002 on-line, I realized that Tanya’s book was the most comprehensive discussion of the incidents. The book gave us an inside look at the people involved and the way it unfolded real-time. Tanya shared that the military likes to keep their problems under wrap because of the way the media speculates. I can see why they would be annoyed with how scandals are reported. Once the information is out there, it’s hard to fight off the perception. But the bottom line is the acts of a few don’t represent the whole. Unfortunately, I could write book after book about clusters of domestic violence related homicides in the military since 2002. This book made me realize how long the military has known about the problems and that throwing money at the problem doesn’t fix it. We need real solutions that save lives.

Editor’s Note: Tanya Biank’s book Under the Sabers inspired the creation of Army Wives on Lifetime television. After reading the book, I can understand why the series was created in 2007. I included links to the show below if you are interested in watching the series. It was cancelled after seven seasons. 

Related Links:
Tanya Biank (Official Website)
Under the Sabers | Tanya Biank | Macmillan
Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives
Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives
Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives Kindle Edition
Under the Sabers by Tanya Biank (Kirkus Review)
Season 1 | Army Wives | Lifetime Television | Amazon (2007)
Season 2 | Army Wives | Lifetime Television | Amazon (2008)
Season 3 | Army Wives | Lifetime Television | Amazon (2009)
Season 4 | Army Wives | Lifetime Television | Amazon (2010)
Season 5 | Army Wives | Lifetime Television | Amazon (2011)
Season 6 | Army Wives | Lifetime Television | Amazon (2012)
Season 7 | Army Wives | Lifetime Television | Amazon (2013)
‘Army Wives’ Deployed as Lifetime Series
Lifetime embraces ‘Wives’ amid show cuts
A Sneak Peek at “Army Wives”
Home front key to “Army Wives”
‘Army Wives’ Still Holding Down The Fort
Lifetime’s popular ‘Army Wives’ has a local ties
Lifetime Cancels ‘Army Wives’ | The Wrap
‘Army Wives’ cancelled by Lifetime | Entertainment Weekly
‘Army Wives’ canceled by Lifetime; retrospective special planned
Lifetime’s ‘Army Wives’ Cancelled After Seven Seasons, Will Wrap Run With Special
Fort Meade: Military spouse writes book about servicewomen
Army Wive: Where is the Cast Now?
Army Wives | ABC | Season 1-7

Air Force Spouse Kathryn Eastburn & Daughters Cara & Erin Found Murdered in Fayetteville, NC Home; Youngest Toddler Jana Discovered Unharmed (May 9, 1985)

The murder of a military wife and two of her young daughters in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1985 was still making headlines twenty-five years later. The loss of his children and his wife Kathryn would forever haunt former Air Force Captain Gary Eastburn. Katie captivated him from the moment they met and the two got married shortly before Gary joined the United States Air Force. Eleven years later, Captain Eastburn was stationed at Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina as an Air Traffic Control supervisor. By then, the couple had three daughters: five year old Cara, three year old Erin, and Jana who was just under the age of two. They lived on Summerhill Road near the Fort Bragg Army post.

In the spring of 1985, Gary Eastburn was nearing the end of a training program at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. Every Thursday night, Gary called Kathryn from the barrack’s payphone. One week, he couldn’t reached Kathryn and after frantically calling her for a couple days unable to reach her, Gary asked a neighbor to check in on his wife. The neighbors had grown concerned as well when they noticed that the newspaper had not been picked up for a couple days and they heard a child crying. They called the police who went into the Eastburn’s home and discovered Kathryn, Cara, and Erin had been murdered and the youngest toddler, Jana, was crying and severely dehydrated. They would learn that the baby was only hours from death.

The Fayetteville Police Department investigators discovered that Kathryn Eastburn had been raped and murdered. Her underwear had been cut off her, her blouse and bra were ripped opened, her throat was slit, and she had multiple stab wounds. Erin was found in her mother’s room stabbed to death and her throat slashed. And Cara was found in her own bed as if she was hiding underneath a blanket. She too had been stabbed multiple times and her throat was cut. Police believe the surviving toddler was in her crib for nearly three days before neighbors found her. Gary Eastburn received the dreadful call that there had been a death in the family while he was still at Maxwell. Investigators asked him to return home immediately because detectives wanted to give him the news in person.

Desperate police turned to the only living witness, Jana, to see if she remembered anything. The police took Jana to a child psychologist to determine what, if anything, she might know. The police deduced that the child heard the killer but could not identify him; she was just too young. An older Jana admits that she doesn’t remember anything now either. Police theorized that the baby was young and couldn’t identify the intruder which is probably why she was spared. In the meantime, a neighbor came forward claiming he saw a man leaving the Eastburn residence around 3 a.m. and was able to give a description of a suspect who drove a white Chevrolet Chevette. Kathryn also told Gary about a man who came and looked at the family dog they were trying to find a home for. His name was Timothy Hennis and the composite drawing inspired by the neighbor looked just like him.

Timothy Hennis was questioned and asked to give hair, blood, and fingerprint samples. When the detectives escorted Hennis back to his car, they discovered he drove a white Chevrolet Chevette. Later that night, Timothy Hennis was arrested. Hennis was an Army Sergeant stationed at Fort Bragg. Someone had used Kathryn’s stolen ATM card and a witness identified Hennis as the person who used the ATM right before she did at the time of the transaction. At every turn, the evidence overwhelmingly brought them back to Hennis. The prosecutors were puzzled why Hennis would commit such a heinous crime given he had no history of violence. They learned that he had approached a woman for sex that same night and theorized that when he was rejected, he decided to target Kathryn Eastburn.

A trial began roughly a year after the murders in 1986. Hennis’ attorney was quick to point out that the prosecution didn’t have any physical evidence linking Hennis to the murders to include fingerprints, hair, and foot prints. This was at a time before there was any routine DNA testing, therefore even semen found in Kathryn’s body led police nowhere. There was a significant amount of physical evidence showing that a male suspect was in the Summerhill Road house and it wasn’t Gary Eastburn or Timothy Hennis. Hennis’ attorney also pointed out that there was no possible way someone could leave that house without transferring evidence to their personal belongings. On July 4, 1986, the jury returned it’s verdict and Timothy Hennis was found guilty on all counts. Four days later, Hennis was sentenced to death.

While Timothy Hennis was sitting on death row, he received a letter from someone claiming to have committed the crimes. This person appeared to show remorse because Hennis was serving time for his crimes. In spite of the verdict, Hennis’ attorney and wife Angela continued to claim that Hennis was not the killer. As a result, Hennis’ attorney fought to have the murder conviction overturned and filed an appeal. The attorney felt he did not provide adequate representation in the first case and admitted that it was a heavy burden to carry. In a precedent setting decision, the Supreme Court overturned the guilty verdict. It found the prosecutors used information to inflame the jury, a graphic parade of disturbing images taken at the crime scene. After two years on death row, Hennis was awarded a new trial.

The second trial began in 1989, four years after the murders. The prosecution’s case was still strong and the star witness was back to swear that he saw Hennis leaving the Eastburn home on the night in question. In this new trial, the defense delivered compelling theories of their own. They produced a witness who claimed to have seen another man (not matching the description of Timothy Hennis) near the Eastburn home. The defense also reminded the jury there was no physical evidence connecting Hennis to the murders. Additionally, they opined there were others who could have committed the crimes including the person who wrote to Hennis while he was in prison. And in this case, Hennis took the witness stand and denied having anything to do with the murders. On April 19, 1989, a jury found Timothy Hennis not guilty on the triple murder charges and set him free.

Gary Eastburn wasn’t convinced of Hennis’ innocence because he never once apologized to the family for their loss. The verdict just didn’t sit right with Gary and he strongly believed that Hennis was guilty despite the jury’s decision. Gary admits he was angry after the verdict but he knew he had to let it go for his health. A month after Hennis was released from prison, ‘A Current Affair’ paid Hennis and his wife to appear on the program. Hennis suggested the prosecution wanted to pin the murder on anyone so they could get it out of the news; he also denied committing the murders. Timothy Hennis was free and for over twenty years no new suspects emerged. Whoever committed the murders in Fayetteville had gotten away with murder until one day a cold case detective took another look at the case.

After the murders, Gary Eastburn was transferred to a military base north of London, England where he met an English nurse and married her in 1991. Jana was 8 years old and now had a step-mother. Timothy Hennis returned to his family and resumed a career in the Army which often took him away from home. He served in the first Desert Storm war, he served in the war in Somalia, he got promoted multiple times, and had nothing but good marks from military leadership. Journalist Scott Whisnant wrote a book called ‘Innocent Victims’ which was later featured as a television movie. The point of view of the book was that Timothy Hennis was not guilty of these crimes. Investigators never read the book or saw the show. They claimed they were not interested in fiction; instead they were annoyed and pissed.

Twenty years later, new detectives were working on cold cases and decided to take a second look at the Eastburn murders. A cold case investigator found the one clue that could lead them to the killer, a vaginal swab from Kathryn Eastburn. In the 1980s, DNA testing was not available but now it was and they sent it to the lab. The lab testing revealed that the vaginal swab from Kathryn was a match to Timothy Hennis’ DNA. Still, Hennis’ attorney wasn’t convinced because he didn’t understand how someone could commit such a heinous crime then go twenty five years without committing another one and also lead an exemplary life. Billy Richardson believed the sample may have been contaminated and he pointed out that the lab that conducted the testing had been called into question on numerous occasions.

Author Scott Whisnant also believed that something was wrong and Hennis couldn’t have committed these crimes. He asked: “How could he be guilty of this? How could he fool everyone all these years?” Meanwhile, investigators contacted Gary Eastburn to inform him they got a match to Timothy Hennis. Eastburn admitted he had given up hope and the new information was overwhelming. But one thing stood in the way of justice: the Constitution. Hennis had been found not guilty by the State of North Carolina and they were prohibited from trying him a second time because of the double jeopardy clause. But the State found a loophole and because Timothy Hennis was a retired Army soldier, the Army could try him. They ordered Hennis out of retirement and back into uniform to stand trial in the military justice system.

Hennis retired in Washington state in a community near Seattle which was a shock to Gary Eastburn because that’s where he and his wife had settled and Jana and her boyfriend had settled. They learned that Hennis lived 30 minutes away from them. Jana was shocked he lived so closely to them because he was walking free in a community near her. But the Army would soon move Hennis; he was ordered back to Fort Bragg to face triple murder charges. After two decades of freedom, Hennis was being tried for the murders of Kathryn, Cara and Erin Eastburn, a third time for the same crime, except this time in a military court martial. If convicted, Hennis could again face the death penalty again. Hennis’ attorney was stunned that in America, Hennis could be charged for a third time for the same crime.

Billy Richardson referred to the double jeopardy clause in the US Constitution and reminded the public it doesn’t say anything about jurisdiction. He tried to get a federal court to intervene on the issue but failed. And in this third Hennis trial, there would be a new witness, Jana, the only survivor that night. She wanted the jury to know how this crime impacted her life. The trial began in the spring of 2010 and Timothy Hennis’ wife and grown daughter continued to stand by his side. They believed he was innocent. Hennis’ new attorney, Frank Spinner, argued at trial that the facts of Hennis’ life do not paint the portrait of a man who could commit such a heinous crime. He questioned how a man who led such an exemplary life could be the same person who would commit three murders in one night.

Timothy Hennis served his country with distinction, raised his family, and never committed another crime in the twenty five years after the Eastburn murders. And yet on one single night, Hennis slaughtered a family? The prosecutors said the motive didn’t matter because there was DNA linking Hennis to the murders. Spinner reminded jurors that DNA does not mean a case is open and shut. He argued that the DNA does not mean Hennis raped and murdered Kathryn Eastburn because Hennis admitted to consensual sex with her. Hennis suggested Kathryn was lonely while her husband was away at training. Gary Eastburn was angry the defense would have the audacity to suggest that Kathryn was a ‘whore’. Hennis’ old attorney Billy Richardson shared that Hennis denied having sex with Kathryn twenty years ago.

IMG_5116

Kathryn and Gary Eastburn

The military panel didn’t believe Timothy Hennis and they found him guilty of the murders of Kathryn, Cara and Erin Eastburn. Hennis was lead away in handcuffs and for the second time in his life, he was sentenced to death. Timothy Hennis maintains his innocence, filed an appeal, and is fighting for a reversal of his conviction. Gary and his daughter Jana spoke to the press minutes after the verdict and expressed empathy for Timothy’s family despite their belief that justice was finally served. Jana Eastburn admitted she feels more at peace knowing that Hennis is behind bars. As of 2011, Timothy Hennis appealed his conviction and challenged the federal ruling regarding the double jeopardy clause. Timothy Hennis remains on military death row at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

Source: 20/20 on ID ‘Witness’

In 1985, a young military wife and two of her three little girls are viciously murdered in their home. In a twisted case filled with unusual suspects, the man who gets convicted goes free. But nothing is what it seems. -20/20 on ID

MJFA Links:
Air Force Spouse Kathryn Eastburn & Daughters Cara & Erin Found Murdered in Fayetteville, NC Home; Youngest Toddler Jana Discovered Unharmed (May 9, 1985)
A Military Jury Delivered a Guilty Verdict in a Death Penalty Trial to Retired Army MSG Timothy Hennis for the Triple Murders of Kathryn, Cara & Erin Eastburn (April 8, 2010)
In 3rd Trial, Retired Army MSG Timothy Hennis Sentenced to Death by Military Court Martial for the Murders of Kathryn, Cara & Erin Eastburn in Fayetteville, NC (April 15, 2010)
Four Service Members on Military Death Row at Fort Leavenworth, Army Private John Bennett was Last Military Execution by Hanging in 1961
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death and Suicide at Fort Bragg, North Carolina (US Army)

Related Links:

1986
Death sentence sought
Jury in Hennis trial visits area where murder victims lived
Hennis Receives Death Sentence

1988
STATE of North Carolina v. Timothy Baily HENNIS

1989
Triple murder retrial to start
Witness firm on identification of murder suspect
Witness shaky on identifying Hennis

1996
Reversal of ‘Victims’: Made-for-TV Justice
ABC explores ex-city man’s prison plight MUG: Hennis BOX: On TV “Innocent Victims” airs at 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday on ABC, Rochester cable channels 5 and 6

2007
GI cleared in 1989 faces murder court-martial
Accusations follow ex-soldier
Expert links soldier to 1985 killings
DNA hearing wraps up
Acquitted of murder, he now faces Army justice
Ex-soldier faces trial in decades-old deaths
Army to try soldier who was acquitted of 1985 slayings

2008
3 capital murder trials to put Army in spotlight

2009
Army holds hearing for soldier charged in 1985 murders

2010
Judge Delays Murder Trial For Recalled Soldier
Rochester native accused in N.C. triple murder
Why ‘exonerated’ needs to be used sparingly
Federal judge: Hennis court-martial can proceed
Soldier acquitted in 3 deaths faces military trial
Soldier acquitted in 3 deaths faces military trial
Hennis court-martial begins at Fort Bragg
Twenty-five years later, third trial begins in triple slaying
Hennis Trial Underway
Army presents its case in trial over 1985 killings
Hennis jury shown clothes of victims
Army expert: DNA from scene matches NC soldier
Friends, family testify for convicted NC soldier
Family testifies in Hennis sentencing
Military jury finds Hennis guilty of murder
Jury considers death for Hennis
Soldier Gets Death Sentence in Military Court after Civil Acquittal
Ex-Lakewood resident gets death in 1985 slayings
Soldier gets death sentence in 1985 Fayetteville triple slaying
Soldier sentenced to die for 1985 triple murder
For 2nd Time, Man Sentenced to Death for Murders
Prosecutor Emphasizes DNA in Hennis Closing
At 3rd Trial, Sergeant Guilty of 1985 Triple Murder
In 3rd Trial, Conviction in Murders From 1985
Military Jury Finds Hennis Guilty of Murder
Hennis found guilty of decades-old murders
Military Jury Convicts Soldier of Murder 20 Years After his Civilian Acquittal
Soldier’s family pleads for jury to spare his life
25 years later, widower recalls slain family
Father, daughter tell of pain 1985 triple murder caused
A murder conviction, but pain still felt
Tim Hennis case to be featured on 20/20

2011
NC soldier: SBI lab problems should mean new trial
Court-martial murder conviction appealed
Ex-Soldier Convicted Twice of Eastburn Triple Murder Appeals Again
Three Trials for Murder: In the name of justice, did the military sidestep double jeopardy?

2012
‘Unusual Suspects’: Military Man Convicted & Sentenced To Death Twice, Acquitted Once 
Court Rules Against Ex-Soldier in NC Triple Murder
Fort Bragg commander approves Timothy Hennis conviction, death sentence
An Execution Draws Closer
Timothy HENNIS, Petitioner–Appellant, v. Frank HEMLICK; Patrick Parrish, Colonel; Lloyd J. Austin, III, General; John McHugh, Honorable, Respondents–Appellees
Timothy Hennis v. Frank Hemlick et al. (US Court of Appeals)

2013
Nidal Hasan, and the 5 other men on the military’s death row

2014
Master sergeant on death row files new petition
Former Fort Bragg soldier again appeals conviction
Master sergeant on death row files new petition
What to Watch on Sunday: CNN’s ‘Death Row Stories’ looks at Hennis case in NC
Triple murder suspect goes from guilty to innocent and back to guilty
NC triple murder suspect goes from guilty to innocent and back to guilty

2015
10 Mysteries Resolved By Unbelievable Surprise Twists
CNN special with local attorney set for tonight
Timothy Hennis seeks relief in federal court; former Fort Bragg soldier questions Army’s jurisdiction in court-martial
Timothy Hennis case: Federal judge dismisses latest appeal
On military death row, execution is anything but guaranteed
Fair and Impartial? Military Jurisdiction and the Decision to Seek the Death Penalty
TIMOTHY B. HENNIS, Petitioner, v. ERICA NELSON, Commandant, USDB-Ft. Leavenworth, Respondent
Setting the Right Example: Removing the Military Death Penalty

2016
Eastburn Murders Expose a Loophole in the Law
Army court upholds death sentence of former Bragg soldier
Appeal by former Fort Bragg soldier who murdered mother and 2 daughters was rejected in military court
Timothy Hennis’ death sentence fits his gruesome crimes, court rules
Army CCA affirms death for Hennis
Army court upholds death sentence of former Bragg soldier
A look at the 6 inmates on US military death row

2017
Court-martialing retirees? ‘Fat Leonard’ cloud still looms for many current and former sailors
Hennis lawyers argue for more resources in murder appeal
Innocent Victims: The Horrific Eastburn Family Murders
The Eastburn Family Murders and The Three Trials of Staff Sergeant Tim Hennis
Army moves closer to first execution in 50 years; Ronald Gray on death row since 1988
Tim Hennis and the Eastburn Murders
Episode 3: The Case of Timothy Hennis | Death’s Door
The Many Trials of Tim Hennis
Episode 28: The Eastburn Family Murders | In Sight Pod
028 The Eastburn Family Murders | In Sight: A True Crime Podcast
United States v. Timothy Hennis | US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
US Appellee v. Timothy B. HENNIS, Master Sergeant, United States Army, Appellant | US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

Death Penalty Information Center:
Description of Cases for those Sentenced to Death in U.S. Military
Former Death Row Inmate Acquitted in One Court, Now Convicted in Another

Video Links:
3 People on Death Row Who May Be Innocent Part 2
Unusual Suspects: Mother’s Day Murders (Investigation Discovery)
20/20 on ID: Witness | Investigation Discovery
Death Row Stories: Hennis Trailer | CNN
I did the crime…you’re doin’ the time | Death Row Stories | CNN
Death penalty case’s ‘Perry Mason moment’ | Death Row Stories | CNN
Timothy Hennis Double Jeopardy | Death Row Stories | CNN
Timothy Hennis | Death Row Stories | Netflix
Innocent Victims | ABC Television Movie

Book:
Innocent Victims: The True Story of the Eastburn Family Murders (Google)
Innocent Victims: The True Story of the Eastburn Family Murders (Amazon)