The man accused of a double-murder at a Conway CresCom bank had his trial delayed until September 2019 — almost a year later than federal prosecutors wanted to try the case.
The move is a surprising change for the federal judge, who initially set Brandon Council’s trial for January 2019, and stressed a desire to hear the case at that time.
Council, of Wilson, NC, was indicted in September on charges of 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. He is accused of shooting Kathryn “Katie” Davis Skeen and Donna Major while robbing the CresCom Bank in Conway on Aug. 21, 2017.
Both Skeen and Major worked at the bank.
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Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
During an April hearing, federal prosecutors called for a trial that would have taken place this month. They argued they were using a timeline similar to the Dylann Roof case.
Defense attorneys strongly objected to that idea, saying it was too fast for a death penalty case. At that time, they argued for an April 2019 hearing.
Judge Bryan Harwell split the difference between the two requests and set Council’s trial for January 2019. He also pressed attorneys on issues that could possibly delay that date. Attorneys from both sides said they felt they could have their work done before January, barring any new information.
Council’s attorneys recently asked for a delay in the January trial date. They argued that federal investigators recently turned over evidence, lawyers have far to travel to interview witnesses, and attorneys need time to go over the evidence.
As a result, Harwell ruled Wednesday that Council’s trial will be delayed until September 2019.
Harwell also approved a new schedule for juror selection. Starting in May 2019, questionnaires will go out to 2,000 potential jurors. The pool will be whittled down over several months until a jury is found for the September trial date.