Man charged for Conway bank murders makes offer to feds

Photo of Brandon Council from the Florence County Detention Center

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The man charged for murdering two women during a robbery at the CresCom Bank appeared in federal court in Florence Monday.

Brandon Michael Council faces both state and federal charges for the deadly bank robbery in August. On September 22,  a federal grand jury in Columbia returned an indictment for Council for armed bank robbery resulting in death, use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in death of a person in such a manner to constitute murder and felon in possession of a firearm. According to the US attorney general, Council could receive life without the possibility of parole or death for the first two federal charges.

In October, the accused murderer pleaded not guilty to the federal charges. Despite the not guilty plea entered in court this fall, documents filed Monday note that an offer was submitted that entails Council pleading guilty to the charges in exchange for multiple life sentences.

Monday, Council was scheduled for a pre-trial status conference in Florence where officials planned to discuss the timeline for the federal trial,  including a date when the government must decide whether or not they will be seeking the death penalty. The government  proposed a deadline of April 30, 2018, for the decision to seek the death penalty.

Judge R Bryan Harwell ruled against establishing a court- ordered deadline in the conference on Monday.

Council’s defense argued that they have not had enough time to work on the accused murderer’s defense. In the new court order filed Monday, the defense said “the Government appears to be rushing this matter through the authorization process at almost unprecedented speed.”

The decision made in court Monday leaves the matter to up to the Department of Justice and notes that a court- imposed timeline for the case will only be created if a notice is filed by the US Department of Justice.