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Second man sentenced in kidnapping/extortion/robbery spree

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.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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