HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson looked determined as he sat at his desk inside the Conway courthouse, discussing what led up to suspected murderer Brandon Council's arrest and where the case will go from here.
Richardson will lead the prosecution for the state charges Council is facing in connection with Monday's deadly CresCom Bank robbery in Conway. Among the list of charges is two counts of murder for victims Donna Major and Katie Skeen.
Council appeared before a federal court judge in Greenville, N.C. on Thursday. A reporter for a WMBF sister station said the 32-year-old suspect volunteered to return to South Carolina, even after a local prosecutor warned him of the possibility of the death penalty.
The question now is where does the case go from here? In documents obtained by WMBF News, Council admitted to killing both of the victims and robbing banks in both Conway and Wilson, N.C.
Richardson said with Council volunteering to come back to South Carolina, he wouldn't be surprised if he was in the state as early as Friday. According to the solicitor, the suspect will be in federal custody due to him facing federal and state charges.
This case is expected to be tried quicker than most high-profile cases, according to Richardson. He said his office coordinates with federal and North Carolina offices.
Richardson said two U.S. attorneys work out of the Conway office and he believes this will help expedite the trial.
Due to two sets of charges, Council will face two different trials. Richardson said the suspect will have his day in court, and it doesn't necessarily matter which trial happens first.
"Wherever we can get the best bang for the buck, the quickest, the best sentences, we make that determination here, we run it through our federal partners and they have been great to work with. Ultimately, who tries Council first, you know, I don't know right now," Richardson said. "We will both run at the same speed - as fast as we can initially. There will be a time someone will go first on their charges. It may be the feds, it may be the state. It's two different entities and we're both working together at this point."
Although Council has admitted to his charges, Richardson said it's highly unlikely he will plead guilty in the courtroom. Admitting to police, he added, is not an official plea.
When and if the case does go to trial, Council will be in Conway for state charges against him. There, according to Richardson, he will face an Horry County jury, unless the defense makes a motion to move the case to another location because of its high profile.
Richardson said he's looking at all of the evidence before considering the death penalty, noting it was "improper" to discuss it at this time.
According to Richardson, he helped to look for the stolen white Chrysler - a key piece of evidence in the case - before it was found Wednesday afternoon in Greenville, N.C.
The Chrysler belonged to one of the victims and was stolen after Council reportedly robbed the CresCom Bank in Conway on Monday. Richardson said he and law enforcement involved in the search couldn't believe it was not located in the Horry County area.
Members of the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division and other agencies were canvassing the Loris area Wednesday before it was found later that day in North Carolina. However, Richardson said he wants to be clear the Chrysler was dumped and was not the car Council was sighted in with two others prior to his arrest.