Here is the Fayetteville Observer’s post on the guilty verdict on 3 specifications of pre-meditated murder returned this AM in the MSgt Hennis capital court-martial (h/t to Friend).  The members deliberated for under 3 hours.  Sentencing begins Friday.

8 Responses to “MSgt Hennis Capital Penalty Phase to Start Friday”

  1. John Harwood says:

    Geez, the deliberations didn’t take long, did they? I’ve seen longer deliberations in a 1x coke use case. This guy’s life was on the line, and they gave him 3 hours?

  2. DC Steve says:

    They have things to do, people to see.

    But seriously, the real meat of the trial is only just beginning. If they deliberate for less than three hours, and also return a death verdict, I will share your concerns.

  3. anon says:

    Does this finding moot the unpremed instruction issue?

  4. Anonymous says:

    It would seem to, not that it appears to be a valid issue after yesterday.

  5. John O'Connor says:

    I’ve never been a big believer in the “courtesy deliberation” where members know what they are going to do but sit in the deliberation room to make it seem like a more difficult decision. If the members got in the deliberation room and everyone’s view was that he was guilty, I imagine you could talk through the evidence and vote that out in three hours.

    I need to stress, however, that I haven’t followed the evidence so am not commenting on the weight of evidence in this case. But if the members all thought the evidence of guilt was overwhelming, I see no value provided to the accused by sitting in the deliberation room a little longer.

    I know there is approximately a zero chance of this issue getting any traction, but I have doubts about the constitutionality of court-martialing persons on the retired list.

  6. manasa says:

    well for what its worth this will certainly be a test case for the constitutionality of courtmatialing persons on the retired list. Ofcourse there is no such recourse for any other employer under current civillian law.

    This further supporst my theory that you can get people in uniform to believe anything as a result of the tremendous prejudice going in. If the military said you did it then in most cases the panel operates from the premise that you must have done something to be sitting before them.

    Further, I guess according to the government and the federal courts, now that Hennis’s life is on the line he can now contest jurisdiction. What a travesty.

  7. anon says:

    Stunning decision, at least to me, for him not to testify. I’ve gotta believe the panel members wanted to hear him say he didn’t do it.

  8. JAE says:

    He likely didn’t testify because I believe he testified at his second NC trial (when he was acquitted) and patently denied any involvement. He would be crossed with the new DNA evidence that wasn’t available then. One interesting possibility is that he lied about (or omitted) the fact that he had consensual sex with Ms. Eastburn in his NC testimony because he thought that admitting to having sex with her would make it too easy to jump to the (incorrect in this scenario) conclusion that he was the murderer. Also has the ancillary benefit of saving his own marriage. Either way, once he denies any involvement and then the DNA surfaces, he is hosed.