Local

Filings in Brandon Conner's capital case reveal evidence in pretrial dispute

Motions filed in the capital murder case of a Columbus man accused of killing his wife and infant son before setting their house afire in 2014 reveal some evidence in the case.

Brandon David Conner faces the death penalty if convicted in the Aug. 21, 2014, deaths of 32-year-old girlfriend Rosella "Mandy" Mitchell and their 6-month-old son Dylan Conner, whose charred bodies were found in their burned 1324 Winifred Lane home.

Investigators said Mitchell was stabbed. They did not say how Dylan died, but they called his death a "homicide."

Conner is represented by Columbus attorneys Mark Shelnutt and William Kendrick, who have filed dozens of motions to be heard before Judge William Rumer this week and the week of Feb. 15-19.

Among those filings are motions to suppress evidence patrol officers found on Conner after the homicides, when they noticed him sitting in his 2001 BMW 740i on Cedar Avenue off Wynnton Road.

The officers said they saw that Conner was "nervous, shaking, sweating profusely, and had blood on his face and clothing," according to prosecutors.

After questioning him, police charged him with making false statements to law enforcement and impounded his car.

Police by policy search suspects before putting them in a patrol car. Searching Conner, they found "a bloody glove,

a bloody baby wipe, and two lighters in his pockets," according to filings by District Attorney Julia Slater.

Investigators then got a warrant to search the BMW, in which they found "a knife and bloody clothing," Slater wrote.

In moving to suppress such evidence, Conner's defense attorneys have argued police had no probable cause to detain and search him, because he had done nothing to arouse suspicion, as his car "was lawfully parked outside his place of employment, Davis Broadcasting on Cedar Avenue in Columbus ."

Prosecution filings also show tests from the crime scene revealed evidence gasoline was used in the arson.

Among the defense motions are filings asking Rumer to:

Suppress evidence police got from Conner's cellphone and laptop.

Declare Georgia's murder statute unconstitutional.

Find Conner's indictment insufficient.

Allow no witness to say the manner of death was homicide.

Order prosecutors to show no photographs depicting the victims before the crime, nor any autopsy photos taken afterward.

Find that African-Americans and other minorities were not sufficiently represented on the grand jury that indicted Conner.

Ensure Conner wears no jail uniform or shackles at trial, as that could prejudice the jury.

Bar prosecutors from seeking the death penalty because it would violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

Issue a gag order prohibiting prosecutors from publicly discussing the case.

Conner's indictment alleges he stabbed Mitchell in the throat and torso with a knife that had a blade longer than 3 inches. His malice murder charges allege he deliberately killed his girlfriend and child, and his felony murder counts accuse him of killing the mother and infant while committing the felony offense of aggravated assault.

  Comments