FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) – The government has fired back at a convicted killer’s motion for a new sentencing trial.
Brandon Council’s defense attorneys filed a motion, requesting a new sentencing trial or an acquittal of his death sentence. The government filed a response on Friday saying the request should be denied because the issues raised are without merit.
A federal jury sentenced Council to death on October 3 after he was found guilty of killing Donna Major and Katie Skeen during the 2017 CresCom bank robbery in Conway.
Council’s defense argued that the government provided two contradictory aggravating factors during closing arguments that tainted the jury’s decision. The defense said the government made the argument that Council killed Skeen and Majors for monetary gain, but they said the government then argued that Council didn’t need to kill the two employees in order to complete the bank robbery.
The government argues that the defense provides no evidence as to why the two arguments are contradictory.
“Defendant offers no relevant legal authority, nor any sound basis, to explain why the pecuniary gain factor actually conflicts with the innocent victims factor, and thus why the jury could not have found – as it did beyond a reasonable doubt – that both factors exist,” the court document states.
The defense also argued in the motion that it was unconstitutional when the federal court said that the state of South Carolina can determine how Council will be executed.
The government says that the judgement on the execution came from the Federal Death Penalty Act which is valid and complies with the Constitution.
WMBF News will bring you updates when the court makes a ruling on if whether Council should get a new sentencing trial.