Death Penalty Sought for Henning Post Office Murders

Death Penalty Sought for Henning Post Office Murders

The U.S. Attorney handling west Tennessee cases says he'll push for the death penalty against Chastain Montgomery, charged with murdering two post office employees in Henning, Tennessee in October 2011.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The U.S. Attorney handling west Tennessee cases says he'll push for the death penalty against Chastain Montgomery, charged with murdering two post office employees in Henning, Tennessee in October 2011.

Montgomery confessed to police that he and his son did it. His son was killed in a police shootout in February of 2012.

It takes a big case for the feds to push for the death penalty. This is a big case - one that will also tie up the court system for most of this year, and possibly years to come.

Lawyer Michael Scholl had just finished talking with his client Chastain Montgomery. It's not easy, he says. Montgomery, according to his lawyer, has an IQ of about 65 or so.

"I can't really comment as far as our conversations or how we...you know...it's our position that he's grasping very little. I can't disclose what we talk about or his level of understanding there."

The last time we were able to see Chastain Montgomery in public was February 2012; he showed up in Mason, Tennessee where after a shoot out with police, his son was killed. This is also where Montgomery confessed, saying he and his son killed two postal employees in October of 2011.

Judy Spray and Paula Robinson were murdered. It was a robbery, and Montgomery told cops it wasn't worth it; they had less than $20 in cash in the register.

The feds say it was a crime that was built for the death penalty.

"I don't think it was really a surprise to us. That's the nature of these types of cases," Scholl said.

Montgomery confessed when he was first arrested before changing his plea to not guilty. So what his lawyer has to do is find a jury that knows nothing at all about Montgomery, or the murders, or his confession.

"You'd be surprised at the number of people you get in your jury pool that really don't follow it on the news, or didn't follow it. They may have seen one thing about it, and didn't keep up with it. We find plenty of jurors around here who know very little about these individual cases."

The first hearing isn't even scheduled until September. Michael Scholl says it could take years to get through all the legal issues, and it will end up costing millions of taxpayer dollars.

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