Chastain Montgomery could face death penalty if convicted - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Former prison guard deemed mentally capable to face death penalty

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A judge ruled that Montgomery is mentally capable of standing trial in the case of a fatal shooting of two Mid-South post office workers. A judge ruled that Montgomery is mentally capable of standing trial in the case of a fatal shooting of two Mid-South post office workers.
His trial starts in April, but attorneys meet in court February 7. His trial starts in April, but attorneys meet in court February 7.

(WMC-TV) - Chastain Montgomery's mother said that when her son was a child he did not grasp basic tasks—getting dressed, grooming, cleaning the house—like his siblings did.

Despite other similar details of possible disability revealed in court documents Tuesday, a judge ruled that Montgomery, 49, is mentally capable of standing trial in the case of a fatal shooting of two Mid-South post office workers.

Investigators say Montgomery, with the help of his son, shot and killed Judy Spray and Paula Robinson during a Henning, Tenn. post office robbery in October 2010. Chastain Montgomery Jr., 18, was killed in a shootout with police a few months later. After a police chase, authorities jailed his father on charges related to the shootout.

Montgomery's defense attorneys argued he is not smart enough to be executed if convicted of the murders. Michael Scholl says his client took multiple IQ tests and on each one he scored below 70.

"What we're saying is that he is a mentally disabled person and should not be executed," said Scholl after the government announced they would pursue the death penalty.

According to the judge's order , the evidence in this case establishes that the former prison guard does not suffer limitations as described in Atkins vs. Virgina, which is a case where the Supreme Court of the U.S. ruled executing those with mental illness as cruel.

His trial starts in April, but attorneys meet in court February 7. Montgomery's defense will work to throw out his confession to the crime.

"He has difficulty, obviously, because of his mental health situation, understanding what's going on," said Scholl.

Picking a jury could prove difficult if potential members have not followed updates on this case.

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