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  1. #1
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    Federal Death Penalty Trial Date Set for Chastain Montgomery, Sr. in 2010 TN Post Office Killings



    Chastain Montgomery is a former state corrections officer whose grandfather was the first black mayor of Henning and best friend of "Roots" author Alex Haley.

    But now, following a bizarre series of events last week, the 47-year-old Montgomery was indicted Thursday on charges that he and his teenage son were responsible for the shooting deaths of two postal employees last October in Henning.

    Flanked by federal, state and local law enforcement officers at a news conference in the federal building, U.S. Atty. Ed Stanton called the killings of Paula Robinson and Judy Spray "cold, calculated, unspeakable acts of violence."

    The six-count indictment says Montgomery and his 18-year-old son robbed the post office on Oct. 18 and then shot the two women to death.

    The charges of killing federal employees carry punishment of up to death.

    Montgomery, who is from LaVergne, Tenn., placed himself in the center of an intense five-month investigation when he bolted through police crime-scene tape on Monday Feb. 14 in Mason where his fugitive son had just been killed in a shootout with police.

    Chastain Montgomery Jr., 18, was killed after authorities said he carjacked a man in Nashville earlier that morning and then led officers on a two-county chase that ended at U.S. 70 and Tenn. 59.

    Authorities said the younger Montgomery got out of the vehicle brandishing two guns and began firing at officers.

    They returned fire and killed Montgomery, who also was wanted on attempted murder charges stemming from the Jan. 4 shooting of a 17-year-old acquaintance in Nashville.

    As officers conducted their on-site investigation last week in Mason, the elder Montgomery bolted through crime-scene tape and tried to enter the stolen vehicle that had been left running.

    When officers wrestled him to the ground and arrested him, they found dye-stained money on both Montgomery and his deceased son.

    The money, totaling more than $1,000, had been stolen from a bank, according to court documents in Tipton County.

    The elder Montgomery, who also had worked as a youth services officer for the Department of Children's Services, faces state charges of theft of property, tampering with evidence, harboring a fugitive and resisting arrest.

    Stanton would not comment Thursday on reports circulating at the scene last week that Montgomery implicated himself in the post office killings and that one of the weapons found on his dead son had been used in those killings.

    "This is a fast-moving train as this indictment was just returned this afternoon," Stanton said. "The investigators have been working tirelessly on this case since October."

    He would not comment on whether only one or both of the Montgomerys fired their weapons.

    "All six counts of the indictment allege that Chastain Montgomery Jr. aided and abetted his father in each of these unspeakable acts of violence," Stanton said.

    Robinson, 33, was a retail clerk at the post office, and Spray, 59, was a rural letter carrier.

    Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent John Mehr said the victims' families "have suffered terribly" and that he and other law enforcement officers hope the indictment and prosecution of Montgomery will bring them justice and closure.

    Montgomery's grandfather, Fred Montgomery Jr., was elected in 1988 as the first black mayor of Henning at age 71. He also was a lifelong friend and frequent traveling companion of author Alex Haley, who died in 1992. For many years, Fred Montgomery served as a curator and tour guide at the Alex Haley Museum in Henning.

    He died in 2006 at age 89.

    The charges

    The federal grand jury indictment against Chastain Montgomery includes:

    Counts 1-2: Killing employees of the United States. (Life in prison or death.)

    Count 3: Robbery with a dangerous weapon. (Not more than 25 years in prison.)

    Count 4: Using a firearm to commit a crime of violence. (10 years to life.)

    Counts 5-6: Causing deaths of Paula Robinson and Judy Spray by use of a firearm. (Life in prison or death.)

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news...post-office-k/

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  3. #3
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    Defendant in Henning postal killings makes first appearance

    A former state corrections officer charged in last year’s killings of two postal workers in Henning made an initial appearance this afternoon in federal court here.

    Chastain Montgomery, in waist chains and shackles and wearing a white jumpsuit, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Charmiane Claxton it would probably be three more weeks before he hired an attorney. "I ain't talked to my family in three or four days," he said to explain the delay.

    Montgomery and his deceased son were named Thursday in a six-count indictment charging them with killing federal workers and using dangerous weapons in the commission of a robbery.

    Paula Robinson, 33, and Judy Spray, 59, were shot to death last Oct. 18 at the post office in Henning where they were employed.

    Nearly two dozen family members and friends of the two victims attended today's hearing, which lasted about 10 minutes. They had no comment as they left, but many were wiping tears from their eyes.

    The judge set March 14 as the date for Montgomery to report again. His detention hearing will be held when he has a lawyer. Federal prosecutor Tony Arvin said the government will oppose any release on bond for Montgomery.

    Prosecutors have not yet said whether they will seek the death penalty, a punishment rarely sought in federal cases here.

    Montgomery, 47, inserted himself into a police investigation on Feb. 14 when he charged through police lines in Mason, Tenn., at a crime scene where his fugitive teenage son had just been killed in a shootout with police.

    Authorities said the younger Montgomery was killed by officers after he emerged from a stolen car brandishing two guns and began firing at them.

    Dye-stained money stolen from a bank was found on Montgomery and on his deceased son, officials said.

    The younger Montgomery also was wanted on attempted murder charges stemming from a Jan. 4 shooting in Nashville.

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news...es-first-appe/

  4. #4
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    Attorneys appointed to represent defendant in Henning postal shootings

    Two attorneys have been appointed for a West Tennessee man charged with the shooting deaths last October of two postal workers in Henning.

    Since defendant Chastain Montgomery could face the death penalty, U.S. Dist. Court Judge Jon McCalla appointed two defense counsels, Michael Scholl and C. Anne Tipton.

    Montgomery is being held in federal custody without bond and a detention hearing is set for Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Charmiane Claxton.

    Montgomery, 47, and his deceased son, Chastain Montgomery Jr., were named two weeks ago in a six-count indictment related to killing federal workers and using dangerous weapons in the commission of a robbery.

    Paula Robinson, 33, and Judy Spray, 59, were shot to death Oct. 18 at the post office where they were employed.

    Montgomery’s son, 18, was killed in a shootout with police on Feb. 14 in Mason following a carjacking in Nashville.

    Federal prosecutors have not yet said whether they will seek the death penalty for the elder Montgomery.

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news...nt-henning-po/

  5. #5
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    Suspect in post office slayings: 'I lost it, man'

    MEMPHIS, Tenn.—A former Tennessee prison guard said in a videotaped interrogation that he and his son tried to rob a rural post office because they needed money and angrily shot two female postal workers multiple times after they found less than they expected: only $63.

    "I lost it, man," Chastain Montgomery Sr. told postal inspectors. "I started shooting. I shot the black lady."

    The video of the Feb. 15 interrogation was played Tuesday as evidence in a hearing for Montgomery, who faces six federal charges related to the Oct. 18 shootings of Paula Robinson, who was black, and Judy Spray, who was white.

    The father's hearing offered the first details of the slayings that happened inside a small red brick post office four months ago and shook the small west Tennessee town of Henning.

    Montgomery told two U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigators that he expected the post office the small West Tennessee town of Henning to have $25,000 when he and his 18-year-old son went to rob it because they were low on money.

    "I was going through a rough time," he said. "I didn't think I'd get caught."

    Montgomery told the investigators that after he shot Robinson, his son, Chastain Montgomery Jr., shot Spray. They then drove back to the Nashville area, where they lived, Montgomery said.

    Chastain Montgomery Jr. was killed in a Feb. 14 shootout with police in Mason after they tried to stop him in a stolen truck. The teen started firing at
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    officers with two guns before he was shot by a deputy from 57 yards away, authorities said.

    His father was arrested on evidence tampering and other state charges when he went to the crime scene and tried to get into the truck, authorities said. The father drove to the scene in a black Chevrolet Impala that matched the description of a car investigators identified as the possible getaway vehicle in the post office shooting, authorities said.

    Michael Scholl, Montgomery's defense attorney, entered a plea of not guilty. U.S. Magistrate Judge Charmiane Claxton ordered Montgomery held in custody until trial. He faces the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.

    Postal Inspector Dwight Jones testified that Robinson, a retail clerk, was shot five times with a .40 caliber handgun. Spray, a rural mail carrier, was shot four times with a 9mm weapon, Jones said. Only $63 was missing from the post office safe.

    A 9mm weapon used by the son in his shootout with police matched the 9mm used in the post office shootings, Jones said, citing a ballistics test done by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. A .40-caliber weapon recovered from the trunk of the father's Impala matched the one used to shoot Robinson, Jones said.

    In the videotape, Montgomery Sr. told investigators that he knew the Henning post office well and he and his son went to rob it the morning of Oct. 18. The man had been separated from his wife and the family was having money problems, he said.

    Montgomery said they drove around until they could find the right time to enter the post office. Montgomery said he jumped over the counter of the post office, with his son covering his back. The women were shot moments later.

    Relatives of the two women were in the courtroom on Tuesday. Some wept during the hearing.

    Prosecutor Vivian Donelson presented as evidence a written confession allegedly made by Montgomery. In it, he said he has "nothing else to live for."

    "I hope your family can ever forgive me, but if you can't, I understand," the written confession said.

    Investigators also asked whether Montgomery had robbed banks in the Nashville area in the past few months. Authorities have said that searches of both the son and the father turned up dye-stained cash. Montgomery did not confess to any bank robberies.

    The defense attorney asked Jones whether Montgomery had been given his medication for paranoid schizophrenia before his five-hour interrogation. Jones said he did not know.

    Scholl also questioned how the inspectors got the confession, which was only secured after they presented Montgomery with evidence against him.

    "They kept questioning Mr. Montgomery about the issues being investigated until Mr. Montgomery admitted his involvement," Jones said.

    http://www.montereyherald.com/news/c...nclick_check=1

  6. #6
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    Judge sets trial date in Tenn. post office shooting; defense to challenge video confession

    A defense attorney said Monday he will ask a judge to throw out a videotaped statement in which a former Tennessee prison guard acknowledged killing two postal workers during a robbery that netted $63.

    Michael Scholl told District Judge Jon McCalla on Monday that he wants to bar federal prosecutors from using at trial the videotaped and written statements made by Chastain Montgomery after his arrest in February.

    During a prior hearing, prosecutors showed excerpts of an interrogation by postal service investigators in which Montgomery, 47, said he needed money and decided to rob the post office in Henning with his 18-year-old son.

    Montgomery said he "lost it" and started shooting after he realized there was only $63 in the post office.

    Montgomery is charged with robbing the rural post office last October and, with his son, shooting workers Judy Spray and Paula Robinson.

    Chastain Montgomery Jr. was killed in a shootout with police Feb. 14. The father was arrested after showing up to the scene of his son's shooting in a car that investigators said was seen fleeing the post office four months earlier.

    Montgomery has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bond. He could face the death penalty if federal prosecutors decide to seek a capital sentence.

    McCalla set a projected trial date for April 2012. He also set a June 24th deadline for the defense to file its motion to suppress Montgomery's statements.

    http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/vi...-Ld-Writethru/

  7. #7
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    Feds ready to declare death penalty decision in Henning postal killings

    Federal prosecutors said this morning they are ready to meet with defense attorneys to discuss whether they will be seeking the death penalty for a West Tennessee man charged with killing two postal workers last October in Henning.

    The announcement came during a status report in the case of Chastain Montgomery who confessed to killing the workers during a series of videotaped interviews with authorities following his arrest in February.

    Defense attorneys intend to file motions to suppress the confessions, challenging whether Montgomery was properly advised of his rights to an attorney and his right to remain silent.

    Montgomery, 47, a former state corrections officer, admitted that he and his now-deceased son shot and killed postal workers Paula Robinson, 33, and Judy Spray, 59, in a robbery attempt last year at the Henning post office.

    He said they got $63.

    No arrests were made until February when his son, Chastain Montgomery Jr., 18, died in a shootout with law enforcement officers in Mason, Tenn., after he carjacked a vehicle in Nashville and led officers on a multi-county chase.

    The elder Montgomery was arrested when he arrived at the scene and crossed police crime-scene tape.

    This morning federal prosecutor Tony Arvin told U.S. Dist. Court Judge Jon McCalla that the government is ready to meet with the defense regarding their decision whether to seek the death penalty.

    No official announcement has been made, but Michael Scholl and C. Anne Tipton were appointed earlier this year as capital case-qualified attorneys, according to court documents.

    Arvin did not elaborate, but Scholl said later federal prosecutors have several procedural to address before the government officially can declare its intention to seek the death penalty, including approval by Justice Department officials in Washington.

    Both sides have said they will be seeking mental evaluations for Montgomery. Scholl said at a previous hearing that his client was taking Seroquel, a medication for paranoid schizophrenia.

    The tentative trial date is set for next April.

    Montgomery wore a lime-green jumpsuit in court, signifying that he is being held in segregation at the federal holding facility in Mason, Tenn.

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news...ision-henning/

  8. #8
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    Defense says suspect in Henning postal killings has mental issues that could bar death penalty

    A West Tennessee man charged with killing two postal workers in 2010 in Henning may be mentally retarded, his defense attorneys said Wednesday, which would block federal prosecutors from seeking the death penalty.

    Attorneys for defendant Chastain Montgomery said tests he was given as a youngster in Lauderdale County showed an IQ, or intelligence quotient, of 63 to 65 and that there also appears to be evidence of mental retardation since age 18.

    Generally, an IQ below 70 is evidence of mental retardation.

    U.S. Dist. Judge Jon McCalla said he thought the evaluation process was further along and that he was concerned with the slow pace since the indictment some 14 months ago.

    "This is not just a shot-in-the-dark procedure," defense attorney Michael Scholl replied, referring to an MRI brain scan soon to be done on Montgomery.

    Other tests already have been completed, Scholl said, adding that his client earlier had been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic.

    Federal prosecutor Tony Arvin said he is "always quite skeptical in death cases when someone claims to be mentally retarded."

    He said that when the defense report is completed, the prosecution will have its own mental evaluation done on Montgomery.

    The U.S. Attorney General's office in Washington then will decide whether federal prosecutors in Memphis should seek the death penalty, though the issue will be moot if Montgomery is found to be mentally retarded and thus legally ineligible for the death penalty.

    Montgomery 48, of LaVergne, a former state corrections officer, is charged with the shooting deaths of postal workers Judy Spray and Paula Robinson on Oct. 18, 2010, in Henning.

    His 18-year-old son -- Chastain Montgomery Jr. -- also was charged in the murders, but was killed in a shootout with law enforcement officers on Feb. 14, 2011, in Mason.

    The elder Montgomery was arrested when he bolted through police crime-scene tape after the shootout. He then confessed to killing the workers during a series of videotaped interviews with authorities. He said they got $63 in the robbery.

    McCalla reset the case for July when he said he expected the full mental evaluation report to be completed.

    "We have to do it right, but we need to do it expeditiously," the judge said. "If it's not ready then, it will be a great puzzle to me."

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news...illings-has-m/
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  9. #9
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    New indictments filed against confessed post office killer

    New indictments filed reveal details behind the violent plans of a former state corrections officer and his son nearly two years after the murders of two West Tennessee postal workers.

    The Commercial Appeal reported that the indictment filed this week showed that Chastain Montgomery, Sr. and his son had already robbed two banks.

    The indictment also revealed they may have been plotting another bank robbery following the deadly shootings of Paula Robinson and Judy Spray inside the Henning, Tennessee post office on October 18, 2010.

    Eight days after those murders, the indictment showed the Montgomerys stole a vehicle before robbing two banks in the Nashville area.

    On Valentine's Day last year, Chastain Montgomery, Jr. stole another vehicle in Nashville and drove to Mason, Tennessee with at least three loaded guns.

    The indictment showed his father followed in another stolen car with more guns, ski masks, and latex gloves.

    That was when police caught up with the two, ending in a shootout that killed the younger Montgomery.

    Chastain Montgomery, Sr. was arrested and later confessed to the post office shootings. He was indicted on the post office murders.

    The new indictment adds bank robbery counts and weapon charges.

    Chastain Montgomery, Sr. will undergo mental evaluation and an MRI bran scan this week to determine if he is eligible for the death penalty.

    http://www.wmctv.com/story/18725115/...-office-killer
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  10. #10
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    Man charged in 2010 killing of Henning postal workers is mentally retarded, defense lawyer says

    A West Tennessee man charged with killing two Henning postal workers in 2010 has two weeks to declare whether an insanity defense will be used, a federal judge told defense attorneys Thursday.

    Lawyers for Chastain Montgomery have told U.S. Dist. Judge Jon McCalla that they believe their client is mentally retarded, which would make him ineligible for the death penalty.

    Montgomery recently underwent an extensive mental evaluation at the request of the defense. McCalla said the results should be filed soon to move the case along.

    "We've got to get this ready for trial," McCalla said. "This case has number one priority."

    Defense attorney Michael Scholl said earlier that an evaluation of Montgomery as a youngster showed he had an intelligence quotient of 63 to 65. Generally an IQ below 70 is considered evidence of mental retardation.

    "There will be an MR issue in this case," Scholl told the judge. He added that he is waiting for test results to determine whether he will argue that Montgomery should be found not guilty by reason of insanity.

    Federal prosecutor Tony Arvin, noting that Montgomery was a correctional officer for some 20 years, said the government will be asking to have the defendant examined by its own mental health experts.

    A decision whether to seek the death penalty will be made by the U.S. Attorney General's Office in Washington.

    The mental retardation issue can be resolved with an agreement by federal prosecutors, by a motion filed with the judge or by the jury in trial.

    Montgomery, 48, who is from LaVergne, Tenn., is charged in the shooting death of Judy Spray, 59, and Paula Robinson, 33, on Oct. 10, 2010, at the Henning post office.

    His son, Chastain Montgomery Jr., 18, also was involved, authorities say, but was killed four months later in a shootout with police in Mason, Tenn., following a high-speed chase.

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news...ing-postal-is/
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