Suspect in deadly Conway bank robbery enters not guilty plea during court appearance

Suspect in deadly Conway bank robbery enters not guilty plea during court appearance

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – The man accused of murdering two employees during a Conway bank robbery in August entered a not guilty plea Tuesday during his arraignment in the U.S. District Court in Florence.

Brandon Council, 32, of Wilson, North Carolina, was in the courtroom for roughly five minutes. He also waived his right to a bond and detention hearing.

Council faces two counts of murder in connection with the Aug. 21 CresCom Bank robbery, as well as one count each 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.

Officials with the Horry County Coroner's Office previously identified the two employees who were killed during the robbery as Donna Major, 59, of Conway, and Kathryn "Katie" Skeen, 36, of Green Sea.

Magistrate Judge Thomas Rogers previously made it clear to Council that this case makes him eligible to face the death penalty.

Council's indictment was filed on Sept. 20. The two attorneys representing the defendant said they have read through the indictment with their client.

Rogers said if Council chose to speak, anything he said could be used against him. The only thing the defendant said was "Yes sir" when the judge asked him if he understood the indictment.

Family and friends of both Major and Skeen did not attend Tuesday's hearing, whereas there were several rows filled during Council's initial appearance.

Wearing an orange jumpsuit, Council was escorted inside by the U.S. Marshal, with handcuffs around his hands and feet..

The prosecution has not yet announced if they will be seeking the death penalty against the defendant. Council remains at the Florence County Detention Center.

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