Man accused of killing two Conway bank employees offered to plead guilty for life sentence, defense says

Man accused of killing two Conway bank employees offered to plead guilty for life sentence, defense says
Brandon Council

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – The man accused of shooting and killing two Conway bank employees during a robbery last August immediately offered to plead guilty to all charges and agree to a life sentence without the possibility of parole, according to new documents in his case.

Brandon Council made the plea offer because he and his defense attorney were "mindful of the concerns of the victims' families," states a response document filed Monday in federal court.

A notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Brandon Council was filed last Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Florence. He faces two counts of murder in connection with the Aug. 21, 2017 CresCom Bank robbery.

Council is accused of killing Donna Major, 59, of Conway, and Kathryn "Katie" Skeen, 36, of Green Sea.

In its notice of intent, prosecutors note the defendant, "displayed particular cruelty and callous disregard for human life by shooting both victims, who were unknown to him, multiple times at close range without warning and without provocation or resistance from the victims, in spite of the fact that such violence was not necessary to successfully complete the robbery of the CresCom bank."

On Friday, March 23, Council's defense filed a request to delay a status conference scheduled to take place on March 29 by two weeks. The request notes that the government has provided over 3,000 pages of discovery, and the defense is still in the "nascent stages of discovering and developing the facts and law applicable to this case."

The government responded by citing the scheduling of a previous high-profile murder case in South Carolina: United States v. Dylann Storm Roof, the man convicted of shooting and killing nine African-American parishioners at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2015. The response states the same scheduling order was used successfully in that case, and suggests a delay of one week, instead of two.

In the response document, Council's defense again asked for a two-week delay, arguing that an additional week beyond the one-week delayed conceded by the government does not constitute an unreasonable delay. The response also notes that fast speed at which the case is moving. The defense argued that the government submitted its intent to seek the death penalty for Council just seven months after the offense. In the Roof trial and another case cited, the intent to seek the death penalty was submitted 11 months after the offense.

Based on available case information online, it does not appear that a judge has made a decision on granting the continuance, as of Wednesday morning.

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