Thursday, a federal judge in Knoxville sentenced one of the two men convicted on charges connected to a string of bank robberies, including three in Tennessee, to 30 years in prison.
47-year-old Brian Witham pleaded guilty earlier this year to being part of the conspiracy to kidnap the family members of bank employees and hold them hostage while forcing the employees to try and take money from their employers. Witham testified against the ringleader of the plot, Michael Benanti, who was convicted earlier this year on charges connected to the crime spree and just last month received four life sentences plus an additional 155 years.
The first robbery in Tennessee occurred in April of 2015 at the Y-12 Federal Credit Union branch in Oak Ridge. The pair struck again in July of that year at a SmartBank in West Knoxville and their final attempted robbery took place in Elizabethton.