U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Western District of Tennessee
Western District of Tennessee
For Immediate Release
August 12, 2014
Edward L. Stanton III, United States Attorney
Contact: USAO Office
Chastain Montgomery, Sr. Sentenced to Life in Federal Prison for Robbery and Murder of Henning Postal Workers
Memphis, TN – Chastain Montgomery, Sr., 50, of Lavergne, TN, was sentenced to consecutive life sentences in federal prison for the murders of United States Postal Service employees Paula Robinson and Judy Spray, announced Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee; Thomas Noyes, Inspector in Charge of the Charlotte Division, United States Postal Inspection Service; and Mark Gwyn, Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
On May 22, 2014, Montgomery pled guilty to the seven count superseding indictment and avoided facing the death penalty for his crimes.
“The senseless and heinous murders of Paula Robinson and Judy Spray have left an irreplaceable void throughout the entire community,” said U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton. “I want to commend the tireless efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement who assisted with the investigation and prosecution of this case. The life sentence without the possibility of parole imposed upon Chastain Montgomery, Sr. today will hopefully bring justice and a meaningful measure of closure to the Spray and the Robinson/Croom families.”
“Today’s sentence of Chastain Montgomery, Sr. once again shows the determination of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to bring criminals to justice who take the lives of postal employees,” stated Inspector in Charge Thomas Noyes. “The cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement was second to none. We are fortunate to have such determined law enforcement partners who are willing to work countless hours to see these criminals identified and prosecuted.”
“We sincerely hope today’s sentencing brings some small sense of justice for the families and friends of Paula Robinson and Judy Spray,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn. “Though it will probably never fully bring closure, we are thankful the cooperation of law enforcement will ensure the man responsible will never go free.”
According to the facts alleged in the superseding indictment and revealed during subsequent hearings, on October 18, 2010, Montgomery, Sr. and his son Chastain Montgomery, Jr. drove from Nashville, TN to Henning, robbed the United States Post Office, and then murdered Sales and Service Associate Robinson and Rural Carrier Associate Spray.
Following their crimes, they returned to Nashville. Eight days later, Montgomery, Jr. stole a Nissan Frontier pick-up truck in Smyrna, TN and used it as the getaway vehicle following their robbery at gunpoint of Southeast Financial Credit Union in Lavergne, TN on October 29, 2010.
One month later on November 29, 2010, the pair stole a Chevy Venture minivan and used it as a getaway vehicle following the robbery at gunpoint of Mid-South Bank in Smyrna, TN.
On February 14, 2011, the pair made plans to leave the Middle Tennessee area. Montgomery, Jr. carjacked a man and stole his Chevrolet pick-up truck, driving it from Nashville to Mason, TN. During the journey he was observed by Chief Deputy Sheriff Mike Smothers of the Haywood County Sheriff’s Department, who began a vehicular pursuit.
Chief Deputy Smothers reported that Montgomery, Jr. began driving at an excessive rate of speed and veered into other lanes in what appeared to be an attempt to cause an auto accident. Chief Deputy Smothers was joined in his pursuit by Mason Police Chief J. C. Paris.
When Montgomery, Jr. entered the town of Mason, he exited his vehicle and began shooting at members of law enforcement and innocent civilians outside a nearby market. Chief Deputy Smothers returned fire and struck Montgomery, Jr. who died at the scene.
Law enforcement immediately cordoned off the crime scene and began processing evidence. While doing so, officials noticed Montgomery, Sr. cross the crime scene barrier and begin moving toward the Chevy truck driven by his son. He was taken into custody and transported to the Tipton County Sheriff’s Department. While there, Montgomery, Sr. was interviewed by United States Postal Inspectors and made a full confession to all of his crimes.
Law enforcement confiscated a number of weapons and other items from the Mason crime scene, including the Ruger 9mm pistol and the Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol used to kill Robinson and Spray; a .45 caliber Glock pistol; a .380 pistol; two Mossburg 12 gauge shotguns; a Remington 12 gauge shotgun; a Springfield 9mm pistol; a Rossi .357 Magnum revolver; large amounts of ammunition; ski masks and latex gloves.
In addition to the prison sentence, Senior United States District Judge Jon Phipps McCalla ordered Montgomery to serve five years of supervised release plus restitution. There is no parole in the federal system.
This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service; the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; the Tennessee Highway Patrol; 25th District Attorney General Mike Dunavant’s Office; the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department; the Tipton County Sheriff’s Department; the Haywood County Sheriff’s Department; the Mason Police Department; the Henning Police Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the United States Secret Service; the Tennessee Department of Correction; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Lavergne Police Department; the Smyrna Police Department; and the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.
United States Attorney Edward L. Stanton III; Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Arvin; Assistant U.S. Attorney Lorraine Craig; Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart Canale; and Capital Case Section Attorney Michael Warbel represented the government.