Brandon Conner avoids death penalty, sentenced to life in murder of girlfriend, infant son

Crime

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — A Columbus man who admitted killing his girlfriend and six-month-old son in 2014 was sentenced to life without parole Friday morning in Muscogee County Superior Court.

Brandon Conner, 42, had been facing the possibility of the death penalty since he was arrested the night of the crime.

In addition to the life sentences for the murders, Jude William C. Rumer added 5 years for possession of a knife while committing a felony and 20 years for arson. 

Conner violently stabbed his girlfriend, Rosella “Mandy” Mitchell, in the throat and torso, suffocated his son Dylan, then set the house on fire.

Rumer accepted the negotiated plea deal between District Attorney Mark Jones and Conner’s lawyers.

“I think it’s a good result in the sense that Brandon Conner will never be free again to harm anyone else again,” Jones said. “Period. So, it’s a victory.”  

Jones made his decision in consultation with Mitchell’s family members.

“Just talking with the family members, a majority of the family wanted life without parole and to get resolution,” the district attorney said. “Some of the family did want death. When I came into office, I found the file in the closet in a couple of boxes. It didn’t appear to have been worked on in many years.” 

Former District Attorney Julia Slater, who was unseated by Jones last year, said three attorneys in her office were actively working the case until the end of last year.

The bodies of Mitchell and the baby were found burned in August 2014 at their Winifred Lane home.

There was little question about guilt in this case Conner, who worked for a local broadcast company, was apprehended near the burned home with bloody hands, a bag of bloody clothes in his vehicle. DNA from that evidence tied Conner to the crime and Mitchell. 

Three of the victim’s family members watched the hearing but did not comment. 

“Obviously, I don’t care much for Brandon Conner and what he did to our community,” Jones said. “That said, it has already been seven years into the case, and I think the sooner you can get closure for a family on these things, the better.” 

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