Man charged with killing postal workers could get death penalty - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Man charged with killing postal workers could get death penalty

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(WMC-TV) - A former Tennessee prison guard charged with shooting and killing two post office workers during a robbery with his teenage son could get the death penalty.

Defense attorney Michael Scholl said he isn't surprised by the decision.

The U.S. government decided Friday that they are going to pursue the death penalty against Chastain Montgomery, Sr. They will officially file a formal notice by next Friday, March 15.

Montgomery was indicted by a grand jury in 2011 on two counts of killing a government employee in a shooting inside a post office in the small West Tennessee town of Henning.

The indictment said Montgomery killed Judy Spray and Paula Robinson during a robbery of the post office in October 2010 along with his son, Chastain Montgomery, Jr.

The 18-year-old Montgomery Jr. was killed in a shootout with police on Feb. 14, 2011 after a police chase, and his father was jailed on charges related to the shootout.

Montgomery has pleaded not guilty to the fatal shooting. Defense attorneys are challenging a confession Montgomery gave authorities after his arrest.

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

The defense is challenging the death penalty and have scheduled an Atkins hearing arguing that Montgomery is mentally disabled.

"We have a motion pending right now, concerning the suppression of that statement and it involves his mental health," said Scholl.

They said his IQ level is below 65, and that his confession of the crime to officials after his arrest would not be valid if he is mentally disabled.

"What we're saying is that he is a mentally disabled person and should not be executed," said Scholl.

Experts said that defense will be a challenge.

The defense believes Montgomery is mentally disabled. They will have to prove that he was mentally disabled before he turned 18.

Family members did not want to comment on the latest decision. Both sides have until June 14 to file any motions, another hearing is scheduled for Sept. 16.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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