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Guilty Plea: Georgia Man Confesses to Strangling, Dismembering Law Student

Stephen McDaniel of Lilburn will serve a life sentence in the grisly 2011 death of Lauren Giddings.

Stephen McDaniel. Bibb County Jail mugshot
Stephen McDaniel. Bibb County Jail mugshot

Stephen McDaniel, the Gwinnett man on trial for the grisly murder of a law-school classmate in 2011 in Macon, pleaded guilty to malice murder Monday morning.

In exchange for his plea, McDaniel will receive life in prison.

The Macon Telegraph reported McDaniel, 28, of Lilburn, confessed to strangling, then dismembering neighbor Lauren Giddings on June 26, 2011.

Giddings, from Laurel, Md., was a Mercer University Law graduate who lived next door to McDaniel in a Georgia Avenue apartment building in Macon. McDaniel and Giddings were reportedly law school classmates at Mercer.

Giddings graduated from Agnes Scott College in Decatur and worked in Atlanta for a year before entering law school.

McDaniel, a graduate of Parkview High School in Lilburn, included a detailed confession with his plea, according to the Telegraph.

In the statement, McDaniel wrote he was wearing gloves and a mask when he used a master key to enter Giddings’ apartment during the overnight of June 25-26.

He stood over Giddings while she was sleeping. “As I took another step, the floor creaked, and she awoke. She sat up in bed,” he wrote, according to the newspaper.

McDaniel’s said in the statement he strangled Giddings in the bedroom, and at one point, she pulled off his mask. She recognized him and asked him to stop, but he continued choking her.

McDaniel admitted to dismembering Giddings, wrapping her torso in plastic and dumping it in the apartment complex’s trash bin, where it was found by police on June 30. He wrote he put the rest of the body in plastic bags and threw them away at the dumpster at Mercer’s law school across the street.

The Telegraph reported McDaniel will have to serve at least 30 years before parole consideration.

Sexual exploitation of children charges against McDaniel, stemming from a police search of his apartment, were dropped as part of the plea.

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Robert Homer April 23, 2014 at 10:59 AM
His disgusting act deserves the death penalty or life with a chance for parole . If we are lucky another inmate might take care of the prolem .
jimmy a faircloth April 23, 2014 at 11:02 AM
life in prison is to good for this low life he should be tied to four horse and pulled apart this would be more fitting to life with parol in 30 years..
Cynthia Nettles April 23, 2014 at 12:39 PM
I'm so sick of bleeding hearts thinking that prison is good enough for these psychos! I just do not understand the mentality that if we, as a society, condone the death penalty that we are somehow barbaric, sick or vengeful. What is wrong with you??? Do you really think it makes us a better society for continuing to support people like this killer for the rest of their lives? Do you understand how much money that costs our country EVERY DAY? I understand that perhaps you feel that there are some innocent people sitting in prison right now and, for those few, we need to be cautious in exacting final justice. However, this psycho admitted that he did it...described it in detail...he is guilty...there is no doubt about that. Furthermore, there is NO...let me repeat that...NO help for him. There is no amount of rehabilitation, no drug, no shock therapy, no surgery, no magic drink...NOTHING...that will help him or change him. I have worked in a correctional setting for many years...with some of the worst criminals in history...(who, by the way, have since been executed)...I have seen them on a daily basis, talked to them, listened to them, watched their daily actions. Trust me when I tell you, there is NOTHING that will change them and I have not lost one second of sleep over their executions...in fact, the opposite is true...I sleep better knowing they are GONE...gone permanently...not just 'put away' for a while. I understand that you think you are being compassionate...you are not. It is a service to society, in soooo many ways, to be rid of them. THEY are the true animals...let me take that back...they aren't even animals...I have two dogs...they have never hurt anyone...I value their lives more than any one of these sick individuals. I can't call them people, I can't call them animals...both are above what they are. There really is no name for it...but I will assure you...they have NO place in society...even in an incarcerated society. Judge me if you will...call me harsh if you must...my opinion comes from seeing and knowing...and you can take my statements how ever you wish...but I know what I know...and you can take that to the bank.
Robert Wolfe April 24, 2014 at 04:05 PM
Crazy nut
Mark Burdman April 24, 2014 at 04:11 PM
What makes us better then this murderer is he gets a fair and open to public trial. He has the right to question his accusers and 12 unknown people have to agree before he is found guilty. He also is issued a lawyer if he can not afford one. No vengeance, Justice

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