Former South Pittsburg Mayor Mike Killian was sentenced Thursday to serve six months in federal prison and 12 months of home confinement in connection with a long-running illegal gambling operation.
Judge Curtis Collier, saying that "all have to obey the law whether we agree with it or not," also ordered him to pay a $30,000 fine.
Barry Cole, who managed the operation, was sentenced to three months in prison and six months of home confinement. He must pay a $3,000 fine.
Killian, who is the brother of Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, said, "I'm guilty here. I am very sorry that I have embarrassed my wife, my children and my grandchildren. I am very sorry that I have embarrassed my hometown."
He added, "This was always something on the side, but it got out of hand."
Killian said, "When I saw my name on a sheet from the United States of America, it was a tough day for me. That was my country."
He said, "It is not true that I had the only gambling operation in that county."
Attorney Lee Davis said Killian did not use the mayor's office to shield the gambling operation in any way.
Prosecutor Mark Angehr said Killian made hundreds of thousands of dollars from the operation at his Lotto Mart in South Pittsburg. He said he showed "avarice, greed and arrogance in repeatedly breaking the law."
Attorney Davis said if Killian had to go to prison that the Lotto Mart might have to close and his fireworks business would surely close. Prosecutor Angehr said Killian had other resources to help with his finances and said he had almost a year to prepare for the possibility of going to prison.
Attorney Mike Little said Cole, 53, has taken a job with an oil company since his arrest. He said he, like Killian, had no prior criminal charges.
He said that prior to 10 years ago he had never placed a bet in his life, but he got into gambling after losing a job.
Attorney Davis said South Pittsburg residents knew about the gambling, but continued to elect Killian to office for four times. He said gambling "is somewhat culturally accepted in that community."