Man sentenced to death for killing 2 women in Conway bank robbery wants new sentencing trial

Crime

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The man sentenced to death for killing two women during a Conway bank robbery wants a new sentencing trial.

Brandon Council’s attorney filed the motion on Monday asking for a new sentencing trial or acquittal based on contradictory statements regarding Council’s motives.

The motion states Council’s death sentences should be set aside and resentencing ordered because the court erred in allowing the jury to find and weigh “two inherently contradictory aggravating factors.” Those factors describe Council’s motive.

On the one hand, the request for a new sentence states, the jury was told his motivation to kill the women was not to complete the bank robbery, showing his “particular cruelty and callous disregard for human life.” On the other hand, the grand jury had established he killed to get the money. There is a contradiction in the motive, which is a determining factor in the sentencing, the motion claims.  

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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