COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Chattahoochee Circuit District Attorney Julia Slater announced on Monday that her office will seek the death penalty for a man accused in the August 2014 murder of his girlfriend and infant son, and the arson of their home.
On April 14, a Muscogee County grand jury indicted Brandon Conner, 35 on murder, arson and other related charged on the two deaths. On Monday, Slater filed a notice of the state of Georgia intent to seek the death penalty.
The reason for the filing to seek the death penalty were listed by Slater during a press conference:
- Conner committed murder during the commission of another murder, both of which are capital offenses.
- Conner committed the murders during an aggravated battery.
- Conner committed the murders in "an outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhumane manner."
"I found in this case that the statutory aggravating circumstances necessary to seek the death penalty," Slater said. "I also carefully considered the facts and circumstances of the murder, the strength of the evidence available, and the law applicable in this case."
Slater did not discuss any details about this case or the reasons further to seek the death penalty.
Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren said that he believed Slater's decision the seek the death penalty is "strong" and supports the filings.
"I think this sends a very strong message for individuals that are coming into our community and killing our citizens," Boren said. "We're with her [Slater] and we stand in support of her."
Conner is accused of killing his girlfriend, Rosella Mitchell, and his 6-month-old son, Dylan, on Aug. 21, 2014 before setting the home they lived in on Winifred Lane on fire.
The two were found dead following a house fire on Aug. 21. Mitchell was found burned beyond recognition with stab wounds to her torso and neck.
Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said in December 2014 that Dylan Conner's manner of death was homicide. The cause of death was an inflicted violent injury prior to the home he was in being set on fire. However, due to the extensive burns to his body, the exact cause of those injuries is still unknown.
Conner turned himself in to police on Aug. 26, 2014 following a murder warrant.
The night of the fire, Conner was pulled over by law enforcement and arrested for an unrelated crime. He was described as sweaty, nervous and covered in blood. A search of the Lexus he was driving revealed more bloody clothes and a knife.
When Conner's family was reached for comment, his father, Carl Conner declined. Slater said during the press conference that the family asked to respect their privacy.