Defense, government move to dismiss weapons charge ahead of Brandon Council trial

Defense, government move to dismiss weapons charge ahead of Brandon Council trial

FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) – Attorneys for accused killer Brandon Council have filed a motion to get one of his charges dismissed ahead of his upcoming trial, and the government does not object.

According to the motion filed on Thursday, the count in question is being a felon in possession of a firearm. Attorneys state in court documents that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled back in June that to convict a person of being a felon in possession, the government must prove the defendant, “knew they were a convicted felon when they possessed the firearm or ammunition.”

In addition to the weapons charge, Council also faces two counts of murder in connection to the August 2017 robbery at Conway’s CresCom Bank in which employees Donna Major and Katie Skeen were killed.

“Count three alleges that the defendant, having been convicted of a felony, ‘knowingly did possess a firearm … and … ammunition,’” Thursday’s motion states. “That count of the Indictment simply alleges that a firearm was knowingly possessed. It does not allege that Brandon Council knew he was a convicted felon.”

In its response, the government states it does not oppose the court dismissing the charge, “as doing so will not impact the ultimate outcome of this case.”

The government has announced its intention to seek the death penalty for Council.

“It is of no consequence that potential jurors heard Defendant was charged with being a felon in possession. In his confession, which will be admitted in the guilt phase, Defendant discusses his time in prison at length,” the government’s response states.

On Monday, the first phase of jury selection began ahead of Council’s trial. Potential jurors who reach the next round will be called back Monday, Sept. 9.

The trial is set to begin in mid-September.

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