CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Brandon Council was found guilty after 45 minutes of deliberation for the double murder and robbery at Conway’s CresCom bank.
No witnesses were called by the defense before closings statements were given on Tuesday. The jury was charged shortly after the verdict with deciding whether Council gets the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The penalty phase began with opening statements from prosecutors and the defense.
United States Attorney Everett McMillan said the prosecution will have testimonies from family members and friends of both victims. They will also have testimony from those connected to Council’s robberies in North Carolina.
Defense Attorney Bill Nettles said their testimonies will focus on highlighting Council’s troubled childhood, and hardships he faced at a Dobbs Youth Development Center.
The two victims murdered were Donna Major and Katie Skeen. Their death shook the community. Just before 36-year-old Katie was killed, Pastor David Lyle says she had started a foundation called Miles for Miles in memory of Pastor Kenneth Davis’ son, who was also shot and killed in October 2016.
Lyle said foundation was for troubled youth and she was working to raise money and bring a center for at-risk kids to the area. “She was instrumental and very passionate about having a place for troubled teens to come and to get help and get straightened out and moved in the right direction, and we believe that legacy and that light she started is going to live on,” predicts Lyle.
Kathryn Barnhill, who banks at CresCom and also knew Donna and Katie, said “It’s just heartbreaking, because they were such godly, gracious women.”
Conway resident Jeannie Smith said, “But both these women were not just workers at CresCom Bank. They were wives and mothers who had children.”
“Coming into the bank, stealing money, stealing a car, killing two beautiful Christian women and leaving behind a total path of destruction to their families and also to this community, but we chose love,” said Pastor Lyle. “We chose to move forward with hope and joy and we will be better people for it.”
Trial will resume on Wednesday. Count on News13 for updates as they become available.