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Federal judge rules: Prosecutors can seek death penalty against defendant in Henning Post Office murders

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that prosecutors can seek the death penalty against Chastain Montgomery, charged with the Henning Post Office murders.

Attorneys for Montgomery had asked U.S. Dist. Judge Jon McCalla to rule that the defendant, a prison corrections officer, is “mildly mentally retarded” and therefore constitutionally protected from a death sentence.

But McCalla sided with U.S. Atty. Ed Stanton and prosecutors Tony Arvin and Lorraine Craig, who argued that someone with that impairment couldn’t have excelled at Montgomery’s high-stress jobs, including guarding mentally ill prisoners at the Lois M. DeBerry Special Needs Facility.

Read more: Federal judge rules: Prosecutors can seek death penalty against defendant in Henning Post Office murders » The Commercial Appeal.