Crime

Lawyers quiz potential jurors ahead of Brandon Council’s double-murder trial

Family of slain women leave Federal Court

Family and friends of two women killed in a Conway bank robbery leave the John L. McMillan Federal Building in Florence, S.C. following the arraignment of Brandon Michael Council. Council, 32, of Wilson, N.C., was arraigned on federal charges for
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Family and friends of two women killed in a Conway bank robbery leave the John L. McMillan Federal Building in Florence, S.C. following the arraignment of Brandon Michael Council. Council, 32, of Wilson, N.C., was arraigned on federal charges for

Potential jurors for Brandon Council’s federal death penalty trial now face in-person questions from attorneys as the sides work to find a panel to hear the case.

Council was in federal court in Florence on Monday as jury selection continues. What started with thousands of potential jurors is now down to hundreds. Council faces the death penalty for his alleged role in a double-murder and robbery at the Conway CresCom bank in 2017.

Lawyers for the government and the defense quizzed a handful of jurors, mainly about their thoughts of the death penalty during Monday’s proceedings. Lawyers asked people if they believe they could sentence someone to death and whether they believed that is the only punishment for felony murder.

Council wore a gray sports coat, khaki pants and a blue and white striped shirt as he listened to the questions. He looked straight ahead and showed no emotion as he heard people talk about his possible future. Several defense attorneys and experts joined him at his defense table.

The jury selection process is expected to take most of the week. Once it is complete, the guilt phase of the trial will start. If convicted, Council then faces sentencing and the same jury will decide whether he should be executed or spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Defense attorneys have previously offered a plea deal that would see Council serve life in prison, but it was rejected.

Council, of Wilson, N.C., was indicted 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 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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Alex Lang is the True Crime reporter for The Sun News covering the legal system and how crime impacts local residents. He says letting residents know if they are safe is a vital role of a newspaper. Alex has covered crime in Detroit, Iowa, New York City, West Virginia and now Horry County.
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