• Defendant competent so SC death penalty trial can continue

    FLORENCE, S.C. (AP) - A judge has ruled the death penalty trial of a man charged with killing two South Carolina bank employees during a robbery should continue because the defendant is mentally competent.

    The federal judge halted Brandon Council's trial Friday after his lawyers said they weren't sure he understood the charges against him.

    But the defense lawyers said in court Monday that a psychologist and a psychiatrist examined Council over the weekend and found him mentally competent.

    Authorities say Council killed a teller and manager at CresCom Bank in Conway in August 2017.

    Council's lawyers say he is guilty, but they are fighting to keep him from facing the death penalty.

    Jurors are set to return to the courthouse Tuesday. Prosecutors have rested their case in the guilt phase.

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