US District Court for SC files response to Brandon Council’s motion for new sentencing trial, says it should be denied

Grand Strand Crime

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The United States District Court for the District of South Carolina has filed a respond to Brandon Council’s motion for a new sentencing trial, saying his motion should be denied.

“Defendant’s Motion should be denied because the two issues raised therein were properly addressed by the Court in the first instance, and they are otherwise without merit,” state documents obtained by News13, which were filed Friday. “The basis of Defendant’s first argument – that the Government’s aggravating factors of pecuniary gain and targeting innocent victims were inherently contradictory and thus no rational jury could have found both existed – was flatly rejected by this Court.”

Earlier this week, News13 reported that Council had filed the motion asking for a new sentencing trial or acquittal based on contradictory statements regarding Council’s motives.

Council was sentenced to death on Oct. 3 for the deadly 2017 CresCom bank robbery during which time he shot and killed Katie Skeen and Donna Major. The trial lasted almost three weeks and it took the jury about five hours to deliberate.

Council’s federal death sentence was the first this year in the United States.

On September 24, Council was found guilty after 45 minutes of deliberation for the double murder and robbery.

Skeen’s husband, Tracey Skeen, and mother, Betty Davis, spoke during the penalty phase of Council’s trial.

Victim impact statements from Major’s children Heather, Doug and Katie were also given during the penalty phase.

Council’s trial was delayed on September 20 after his defense requested a competency hearing.

On September 23, Council was examined by a psychologist and psychiatrist and found competent to stand trial for the double-murder. Trial resumed on September 24.

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