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Defense argues against death penalty in shootings

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Documents filed in federal court say a former prison guard charged with killing two Tennessee post office workers should not face the death penalty because the punishment is unconstitutional.

In a motion filed Tuesday, defense attorneys for Chastain Montgomery argue that the federal death penalty violates his right to due process and right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.

Defense lawyer Michael Scholl said that because the death penalty is so rarely used in federal court, it is being applied in an arbitrary and random manner in this case.

Montgomery has pleaded not guilty to killing Paula Robinson and Judy Spray during an October 2010 robbery of the Henning post office.

Federal prosecutors said in March that they plan to seek the death penalty at trial.