The federal trial is under way for a Pennsylvania man accused of kidnapping family members and robbing or attempting to rob banks and credit unions, including in Oak Ridge and Knoxville.
The trial for Michael Anthony Benanti, 44, of Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania, started with jury selection on Monday in U.S. District Court in Knoxville. It has continued this week.
Benanti and a co-defendant, Brian Scott Witham, 45, of Waterville, Maine, had been named in a 15-count indictment issued by a federal grand jury in December 2015. They were accused of kidnapping family members and robbing or attempting to rob three banks and credit unions in Oak Ridge, Knoxville, and Elizabethton. The Y-12 Federal Credit Union in Oak Ridge was one of the three financial institutions that was targeted.
Witham pleaded guilty March 1, 2016. He received a 42-year sentence and will be the star witness against Benanti, his co-defendant, according to Jamie Satterfield, a Knoxville News Sentinel reporter.
The trial for Benanti could last up to three weeks. Oak Ridge Today has not been able to cover the trial, but Satterfield has been covering it. You can see four of her News Sentinel stories here: [Read more…]