Man charged in death of dismembered woman

Aug. 4, 2011 at 12:20 PM
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MACON, Ga., Aug. 4 (UPI) -- A 25-year-old Georgia law school graduate has been charged with the murder of a fellow graduate whose body was found dismembered, authorities said.

Stephen Mark McDaniel was charged with killing Lauren Giddings, 27, cutting up her body with a hacksaw and trying to hide her remains in late June, officials said, The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph reported.

Tests revealed McDaniel's DNA on the hacksaw, found along with the saw's packaging at his apartment, next door to Giddings' apartment, law enforcement officials said.

Authorities said they found Giddings' torso in a trash bin next to her apartment building in Macon on June 30, but have yet to find the rest of her remains after searching landfills in Bibb and Twiggs counties, vacant lots and a riverbed, the Telegraph said.

McDaniel and Giddings graduated from Mercer University's Walter F. George School of Law in May.

Floyd Buford, McDaniel's lawyer, requested a commitment hearing, which has been scheduled for Aug. 17.

Before a hearing, Buford said McDaniel "is adamant that he is innocent of these charges. He is disappointed the charges have been placed on him."

McDaniel has been jailed since July 1 on unrelated burglary allegations.

Giddings' father, Bill Giddings, who lives in Maryland, said, "Even the people that have known (McDaniel) in the past three years, they never saw it coming. ... Stephen seemed to be harmless."

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