MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A former corrections officer charged with 2010 killings of two west Tennessee postal workers pleaded not guilty Wednesday to armed robberies at Southeast Financial FCU and MidSouth Bank weeks after the fatal shootings.
Chastain Montgomery made a brief appearance in federal court on charges he robbed the two institutions with his 18-year-old son weeks after they allegedly killed the two post office workers in the small, rural town of Henning in October 2010.
The bank robbery charges were added May 31 to an indictment that said the 48-year-old man and his son, Chastain Montgomery, Jr., shot the women with .40 caliber and 9mm pistols after robbing the red-brick post office of $63.
Police killed Chastain Montgomery, Jr., in a shootout in Mason in February 2011 after officers stopped him driving a stolen truck.
The elder Montgomery has pleaded not guilty to the killings, though he confessed to the shootings in a videotaped police interrogation after he was arrested.
Federal prosecutors are waiting for results of psychological evaluations before deciding whether they will seek the death penalty.
Prosecutors say Montgomery and his son stole a Nissan pickup truck to use as a getaway vehicle for the Oct. 29, 2010, robbery at the credit union in nearby Lavergne, 11 days after the killings in Henning.
A month later, the father and son robbed Mid-South Bank in Smyrna, using a stolen minivan as the getaway vehicle, the prosecutors say.
Chastain Montgomery, Sr., was arrested on Feb. 14, 2011, when he went to the scene of the Mason shootout and tried to get in the stolen pickup truck his son had been driving. The sheriff’s office in Tipton County, just north of Memphis, said the teenager had climbed out of the truck armed with two handguns and fired at officers several times before a deputy shot him dead.
The father was arrested when he reportedly ran through crime scene tape, ignoring the shouted warnings of officers, and headed straight for the truck, which was still running. Prosecutors say the elder Montgomery came to the Mason crime scene in the same vehicle the father and son used to flee the post office months earlier.
In the father’s vehicle officers found the .40 caliber pistol used in the Henning shootings, plus three 12-gauge shotguns, two more handguns, ammunition, ski masks and latex gloves, according to the indictment.