LUMBERTON — Robeson County residents who tune into CNN on Sunday might see a familiar face.
Maj. Matthew Scott, who is currently an assistant district attorney with Robeson County, will be among those interviewed for CNN’s ongoing one-hour “Death Row Stories” series that begins at 10 p.m. Scott was one of four prosecuting attorneys in the 2010 retrial of Timothy Hennis, a Fort Bragg soldier convicted in 1986 of killing his wife and her two children. That verdict was overturned in 1989.
In 1986, Kathryn Eastburn and two of her children were found stabbed to death in their home in Fayetteville. Evidence indicated that Eastburn had been raped. A third child, a 22-month-old girl, was left unharmed.
In a rare move, Hennis, a former master sergeant with the U.S. Army, was tried again in 2010 after DNA evidence was found that was believed to link Hennis to the crime. Hennis was again convicted and received the death sentence.
Scott says that he was surprised to receive a call from CNN requesting the interview because of the amount steps the military requires media to take to allow military prosecutors to speak about a case.
“The producers must have really wanted the interview because there is such a lengthy process they make the media go through,” Scott said. “But they must have gone through the process because we were released to speak.”
For the interview all four prosecutors were flown out to New York. According to Scott, this was the second time he had been flown out for an interview with a major news outlet in relation to the Hennis case. In 2011 Scott was interviewed by “The New Yorker.”
“The interest seems to very much still be alive, and I think that is just because of the uniqueness of it,” said Scott, a Pembroke native. “The facts behind it, the history of it, all of that. It is the biggest case of my career, that is for sure.”
Since Hennis’ 2010 conviction, he has repeatedly petitioned for appeals, arguing that the Army lacked proper jurisdiction in the case. Thus far, all of Hennis’ appeals have been denied.
This will not be the first time that Hennis’ case has received national attention. In 1993 it was the subject of a true-crime book titled “Innocent Victims,” and in 1996 the ABC television network broadcast a mini-series of the same name based on on the book.
“Death Row Stories” is an ongoing series, broken into one-hour documentaries on the subject of different capital murder cases. The show features narration from actress Susan Sarandon, and is produced by Alex Gibney and Robert Redford.