CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – The person of interest in the double-murder and bank robbery in Conway on Monday is in custody. Brandon Michael Council was arrested in Greenville, North Carolina Wednesday, along with two other people, authorities there confirmed.
During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson announced that warrants for two counts of murder were being processed for the suspect.
Additionally, Council will face charges of entering a bank with the intent to steal, grand larceny, armed robbery, possession of weapon during a violent crime and being a felon in possession of a pistol, Richardson said.
In addition to the suspect, Conway Police Lt. Selena Small said the white Chrysler 200 he reportedly left the bank in had also been located.
According to Richardson, authorities were searching for the Chrysler in the Loris area on Wednesday. He added he never thought the vehicle would be retrieved in Greenville, N.C. along with the suspect, noting law enforcement expected he would have dumped the car along the way.
As far as the next steps, Richardson said they will start extradition paperwork to bring Council back to Horry County. However, it could be complicated due to N.C. charges the suspect is facing in connection with a separate bank robbery.
Since the Conway robbery involved two deaths, Richardson said North Carolina authorities could yield to Horry County's prosecution due to the more severe nature of the crime.
Another complicating issue is that federal laws were broken since two bank employees were killed inside the bank. Richardson said he is working with the U.S. District Attorney in reference to this issue and the possibility is there that the suspect could also face federal charges.
As far as the death penalty, Richardson said it is improper to talk about it at this stage.
Council, 32, from Wilson, NC, was wanted for questioning in connection with the murder of two CresCom bank employees during a bank robbery at the CresCom Bank in Conway on Monday afternoon. He was also wanted for a bank robbery in Wilson, North Carolina on August 11.
At about 12:07 p.m. Wednesday, someone called 911 and said they recognized Council from the news, and saw him in a white Mercedes with two other people, according to Chief Mark Holtzman with Greenville Police. An officer spotted the vehicle on Memorial Drive, followed it, and initiated a traffic stop. The car pulled into the Baymont Inn and Suites, and Council tried to run. He was apprehended, and two others with him, a male and female, were detained.
There was no sign of the white Chrysler 200 driven by one of the victims who was killed during the robbery, Holtzman added.
Horry County Police initially confirmed that Council was in police custody via Facebook and Twitter, but later deleted the Facebook post and tweet.
Wednesday activity in Horry County
SLED agents were in the Loris area assisting the Conway Police Department with the investigation on Wednesday, confirmed SLED spokesman Thom Berry. Conway Police later stated that they have confirmed with SLED that nothing was found or confirmed in the Loris area.
'Person of interest' identified Tuesday
On Tuesday, the Conway Police Department identified Council as a person of interest in the investigation. Council was wanted by Conway Police for questioning, and was considered to be armed and dangerous, according to a Conway Police news release. Police believed he may have changed his hairstyle, and Conway Police released pictures of him with both long and short hair.
Council was wanted for a separate bank robbery in Wilson on August 11, according to police. A BB&T branch was robbed, but police said no one was injured in that robbery. Records show Council was released from prison on July 31, 2017 after serving a 7.5 year sentence for larceny over $1,000, and being a habitual felon, meaning he has been convicted of three or more felony charges.
Two CresCom employees killed identified
Also on Tuesday, the county coroner's office identified the two employees who were killed during the robbery: Donna Major, 59 years old, from Conway, and Kathryn "Katie" Skeen, 36 years old, from Green Sea.
"These women were not just workers at CresCom Bank, they were wives and they were mothers and they had children," said friend Jeannie Smith.
Conway Police Lt. Selena Small said the robbery occurred around 1:15 p.m. Monday at the branch located in the 1200 block of 16th Avenue in Conway.
According to Small, the suspect may have left in a white Chrysler, with a license plate number IZM457 and tinted windows.
Agents with the FBI have been called in to assist with the investigation, along with other agencies.