The man accused of killing two women in a deadly Conway bank robbery has been indicted on multiple federal charges that could carry a death sentence.
Thursday marks one month since the Aug. 21 robbery and killings at the Conway CresCom Bank. The branch remains closed.
Thirty-two-year-old Brandon Michael Council of Wilson, N.C., has been charged with armed robbery resulting in death, using a firearm in a violent crime that resulted in murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm - one month after police say he shot and killed Kathryn “Katie” Davis Skeen, and Donna Major inside the 16th Avenue CresCom Bank.
“A month has been a very brief period of time to even begin to absorb what’s happened to our community. Those losses are big,” said Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy. “I cannot imagine how people even closer to them than I feel.”
Blain-Bellamy often visited the branch to conduct her banking and said that she enjoyed the company of Skeen and Major on a weekly basis. Like her city, she was rocked by the violent robbery.
“That building itself is a source of pain. I frequented that as a customer, this specific branch,” she said, adding that she doesn’t care if that branch ever reopens. “Even if it does, I’m not certain that I’ll ever go there again.”
And one month later, the bank is still empty, with nothing but a sign on the door that reads “Closed until further notice. Thank you for the prayers for the families!”
Faded, brownish-yellow newspapers sit in front of the bank’s doors. Flowers that once lined the entrance, paying homage to the victims are no longer there.
But community members recently created a memorial at the site, painting angels on rocks along with uplifting messages to honor Skeen and Major.
“When I go by there, I see that rock memorial and it makes you realize when tragedy strikes, and we go through something like this, the community comes together and stands together and supports each other, and I think that’s something we can always learn from, is that’s critical for a community to thrive and survive from incidents like this,” said Lt. Selena Small, spokeswoman for Conway Police Department.
“Love has a way of seeping in and making a difference,” Blain-Bellamy said.
Council could receive life without the possibility of parole or death on two of the counts against him, according to a release from the office of U.S. Attorney Beth Drake.
The indictment alleges that Council planned to enter CresCom Bank to rob the bank and kill its employees. Shortly after entering the bank, Council drew a revolver and shot bank teller Major multiple times, Drake noted in the release.
Council then ran into a nearby office where he shot bank manager Skeen as she sheltered under her desk, the release states. Police say Council proceeded to take more than $15,000 in cash from the bank before fleeing in one of the victim’s cars.
Emily Weaver contributed to this report.