Attorneys prepare for Columbus man's upcoming death penalty case

Attorneys prepare for Columbus man's upcoming death penalty case
Published: Jun. 28, 2018 at 6:34 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2018 at 7:09 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A Columbus man's death penalty trial is set for October 1, but last minute changes are threatening to delay the trial even more.

Brandon Conner is accused in the August 2014 murders and arson of his girlfriend, Rosella Mitchell, and his six-month-old son, Dylan in their Winifred Lane home.

While repairs continue at the Columbus Government Center, Judge William Rumer was forced to hold the latest status conference in Harris County.

Attorneys agreed Thursday to pool a group of 500 people in order to find fair and non-partisan jurors on this death penalty case.

Conner's defense attorneys Mark Shelnutt and William Kendrick are arguing over the photographs prosecutors intend to introduce during the trial, DNA evidence, and what they believe are incriminating impact statements from witnesses.

This trial has been pending for four years. Attorneys on both sides continue to prepare for the upcoming date.

"It puts everything in an entirely different category under the law. There's an actual procedure that governs how death penalty cases are to proceed," said  Shelnutt.

Currently being held in the Harris County Jail, Conner faces charges of murder, aggravated battery, first-degree arson, and using a knife to commit a crime.

Rumer set another status hearing for  Friday, July 6 at 2 p.m. The next hearing will be held at Recorder's Court.

While the case is set for October, officials said the uncertainty of the Columbus Government Center courtroom repairs could delay the trial as late as December.

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