A man who robbed the female postmaster at the Whiteside Post Office in Marion County at gunpoint and briefly held her hostage was sentenced Monday morning to serve over 79 years in prison.
Michael Lewis Knight asked by Federal Judge Sandy Mattice if he had anything to say, replied, "I don't have anything to say, your honor."
Judge Mattice then sentenced the 39-year-old Knight to serve 955 months in federal prison.
A federal jury on April 6 had convicted Knight on all counts in the case. A number of the convictions were ordered to be served consecutively.
Judge Mattice said, "Armed robbery is bad enough. Taking a victim hostage and making her fear for her life is something that can't be tolerated by society."
The judge said he did not believe Knight could be rehabilitated "given his criminal history and the particular details of this incident."
Knight had been convicted of burglarizing the same small post office in 1999 when he stole cash, blank money orders and the money order machine. He was convicted of the robbery of the post office at Pelham, Tn., in 2002.
Authorities said Knight got out of prison in January 2010 and had been working at U.S. Stove in Bridgeport, Ala.
On May 22, a man wearing a ski mask and gloves who was brandishing a handgun, vaulted the counter and demanded that the female postmaster, give him cash, the money order machine and blank money orders.
The robber placed the stolen items in a white canvas mail pouch and told the postmaster to give him her truck keys. He then ordered her to get into the passenger side of the vehicle and he drove her about a mile away. He then got out of the vehicle and ordered the postmaster to walk down into a creek bed with him. He proceeded to walk her through the water until they came to a bridge.
The robber told her to stay where she was for 15 minutes or a man he was working with - who he claimed was sitting across the street - would shoot her.
The robber kept the postmaster's keys, but fled on foot.
Several witnesses who live near the post office reported seeing a white Ford Explorer Sport Trac with a black bedliner parked near an area they referred to as "The Cave".
It was found that the robber got away with $2,458 in cash and stamp stock along with the money order machine and approximately 190 blank USPS money orders.
Authorities checked out Knight and found that he is 6'1", 200 pounds and has hazel green eyes - matching the description of the robber. He had previously served in the military. The victim said she thought from his mannerisms that the robber was military.
Knight's probation officer said he did drive a white Ford Explorer Sport Trac.
It was learned that five of the stolen USPS money orders had cleared the bank and were deposited in a series of three transactions in a Bank of America checking account opened by Knight. The deposits were made by Knight at the Bank of America branch on Gunbarrel Road at the walk-up ATM machine. Video was obtained showing Knight's vehicle and face as he drove by the drive through in his white Ford Explorer Sport Trac.
On June 5, 2010, ATM photos were obtained from the SunTrust Bank ATM at the Walmart on Gunbarrel Road showing Knight checking his Bank of America account balance in which authorities said he had deposited the money derived from the stolen money orders. Knight appeared to be accompanied by two white females. Surveillance photos were obtained showing Knight and two females entering the Walmart and later leaving it and getting back into his vehicle.
Another stolen money order from the Whiteside Post Office was cashed at the BB&T Bank in Athens, Tn. A video of the transaction showed a white Ford Explorer Sport Trac. A bank teller identified Knight's photo as the one who cashed the money order.
Knight was charged with robbery of a post office, carrying and brandishing a firearm during a federal crime of violence, and bank fraud.