Hundreds pay respects to bank teller who was killed during alleged June 21 bank robbery in Mantachie.
Hundreds of area residents packed Waters Funeral Home in Baldwyn on Friday and Saturday to share grief and condolences with the family of Judy Guin, a Farmers and Merchants Bank teller who was killed during an attempted bank robbery on June 21 in Mantachie.
Visitation was held for Guin’s family on Friday, June 23. A standing-room only crowd gathered for her funeral on Saturday, June 24.
“There was love in miss Judy. She touched so many lives,” said a tearful Michael James, who was a close friend and church member with Guin and her husband Ray, who pastors Parker’s Chapel Baptist Church in Itawamba County. “She was truly, truly a special lady. Words cannot express how we’re going to miss this lady.”
During James’ eulogy for Guin, he shared how she had recently reached out to his family in their own time of grief following the death of his father. He said he went to the mailbox and there was a card in it from Guin. He read the personal note Judy wrote to him, and added the card will be one of his most cherished possessions from now on.
“Everyone who knew Judy knew she had a servant’s heart,” he said. “Even through all the sorrow and hurt, there’s still a little bit of joy within that I know I’m going to see my sister Judy again.”
Bro. Ronnie Geary also spoke at the funeral.
“Aren’t we glad today that God’s still in control?” Geary said. “A little country girl from Marietta never knew she touched so many lives. With the incident that happened Wednesday, she touched even more lives.”
Geary said the community rallying around the Guin family was important, but their strength through this trying time can only come from one source.
“This family could not go through what they’ve gone through without the grace of God,” Geary said. “You’ve suffered a loss, but let’s not let Satan defeat us.”
The alleged bank robbery attempt by Ashlee Blaine Smith, 28, of Pontotoc, remains under investigation. Friends and family members of Smith have been outspoken on social media, stating the actions Wednesday morning run completely counter to the girl they knew.
According to authorities, video surveillance shows Smith walked into Farmers & Merchants Bank on Wednesday morning and ordered the tellers to open the vault. She was following one of the tellers down a hallway when that teller ran out a side door of the bank. Smith then backed up, turned around, raised her gun and shot Guin.
Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson said there is no doubt in his mind after reviewing the video evidence that the shooting was intentional and not an accident.
Guin died of a single gunshot wound. Smith then left the bank and fled toward Saltillo in a black Chevrolet Tahoe. She was stopped just east of Downtown Saltillo by Saltillo Police and the Mississippi Highway Patrol. When Saltillo officers began to approach her vehicle, she killed herself.
Smith’s autopsy showed she died of a gunshot to the head.
What investigators are trying to piece together now is what led to the alleged bank robbery attempt. The events remain under investigation by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.