Law School Graduate Charged|in Classmate’s Gruesome Murder

     MACON, Ga. (CN) – A recent law school graduate murdered and dismembered a classmate after telling his roommate “how he would go about the perfect murder,” and bragged “that he would never get caught,” the slain woman’s parents claim in court.
     William and Karen Giddings sued Stephen Mark McDaniel for the wrongful death by homicide of their daughter Lauren Teresa Giddings, in Federal Court.
     McDaniel is in the Bibb County Jail, charged with premeditated murder and possession of child pornography, the parents say in the complaint.
     The complaint states: “Beginning at least by the fall of 2007, McDaniel plotted to commit what he called the ‘perfect murder.’ In 2007, McDaniel told his college roommate how he would go about the perfect murder. McDaniel said that after he killed someone, he would dismember them and then scatter the parts throughout the woods so that no one would ever find them. McDaniel bragged to his roommate that he would never get caught.
     “McDaniel told his roommate that he has no conscience and that he relishes power. McDaniel said he would establish dominance over his victim and that he wanted to feel the power of having someone’s life in his hands. McDaniel told his roommate that he would use chloroform to subdue his victim.
     “In June 2011 and at various points prior to June 2011, McDaniel acted upon his depraved plan, took steps in preparation for murder and dismemberment, chose his victim and pursued his motive and intent to commit murder.
     “Specifically and as further alleged herein, McDaniel brutally murdered and dismembered his law school classmate and neighbor, Lauren Giddings, in Macon, Georgia during the period between June 25, 2011 and June 30, 2011.”
     Giddings was McDaniel’s next-door neighbor in a Macon apartment complex. They were members of the same law school class and both had graduated in May 2011.
     The complaint states: “Unbeknownst to Lauren Giddings, McDaniel pursued his long held and depraved motive to dominate and kill another human being and he made preparations to pursue his plan to subdue, murder and dismember Lauren Giddings and to attempt to hide the evidence so that he would not get caught.
     “Prior to June 30, 2011 and for the purpose of committing his ‘perfect murder,’ McDaniel purchased a Stanley brand hacksaw. McDaniel unwrapped the hacksaw in his apartment at 1058 Georgia Avenue and left the hacksaw packaging in his apartment.
     “Prior to June 30, 2011, McDaniel acquired the components to make chloroform, including bleach.
     “During the weekend of Father’s Day in 2011, on or about June 19, 2011, McDaniel visited a 63-acre plot of woods owned by his grandfather, Hollis Browning, west of Macon in Pike County, south of Molena, Georgia (between Macon and LaGrange). McDaniel visited the property to inspect the woods on the property by car. McDaniel surveyed the property for locations where he could scatter dismembered body parts through the woods in accordance with his murder plan.
     “On June 23, 2011, a surveillance video camera captured McDaniel looking at boat anchors at Wal-Mart. McDaniel does not own a boat. McDaniel was inspecting anchors as a possible device to submerge body parts.
     “Prior to June 30, 2011, McDaniel stole a master key to all apartments at Barrister’s Hall and was in possession of that key as well as a duplicate key to Lauren Gidding’s apartment. He was not authorized to have a master key or a duplicate key to Lauren’s apartment.
     “According to a drive-thru surveillance video from a Zaxby’s fast food restaurant in Macon, Georgia, Lauren Giddings made a food purchase at Zaxby’s at 6:30 p.m. on June 25, 2011. That is the last known video footage ever taken of Lauren Giddings alive.
     “Thereafter, during the period of June 25, 2011 to June 30, 2011, Stephen McDaniel murdered and dismembered Lauren Giddings.
     “During the early morning of June 30, 2011, Lauren’s friends became concerned that they had not heard from her and came to her apartment. Her friends were aware that she had hidden a spare key. McDaniel heard them outside the adjacent apartment and uncharacteristically joined them outside. In the three years that Lauren and Stephen had been neighbors, no one recalls McDaniel ever emerging on any prior occasion to join Lauren’s friends during one of their frequent visits. When Lauren’s friends came to Lauren’s apartment on June 30, they were tailed by McDaniel the entire time. Several hours later on the morning of June 30, 2011, one of Lauren’s law school classmates called the Macon Police Department and officially reported Lauren Giddings missing. A police investigation ensued.
     “On the morning of Thursday, June 30, 2011, Laruen Giddings’ torso was found wrapped in five plastic bags in a trash can located in the parking lot for the Barrister’s Hall apartments at 1058 Georgia Avenue. The head, arms and legs had been severed from her torso. To date, the torso is the only part of Lauren’s body that has been recovered.
     “Shortly after finding Lauren Giddings’ torso, the Macon Police interviewed McDaniel. During the interview, Detective Patterson observed ‘a red mark on the left side of [defendant’s] face near his nose’ and asked defendant if he had any other marks on his body. McDaniel ‘lifted his T-shirt and revealed what appeared to be two fresh scratch marks on the right side of his stomach. The scratch marks were approximately three to five inches in length.'” (Brackets in complaint.)
     The complaint continues: “On June 30, 2011, McDaniel consented to a search of his apartment by cadaver dogs trained to detect the scent of human remains. The cadaver dogs detected the scent of human remains in the bedroom and bathroom of McDaniel’s apartment and in Lauren Giddings’ apartment.
     “On the afternoon of June 30, 2011, McDaniel was interviewed by a local television station and the interview was recorded. During the interview, McDaniel was advised that police had found a body on the premises. McDaniel went into shock and asked to sit on the ground. McDaniel believed that the trash containing the torso would have been picked up by the garbage service, thereby disposing of that evidence. He was shocked that the torso had been found.
     “The apartment below McDaniel’s on the first floor of Barrister’s Hall was empty at the time of the murder and dismemberment. McDaniel accessed the empty apartment with the stolen master key. McDaniel used the refrigerator in the empty apartment to store the dismembered torso until he could dispose of it. The refrigerator contained blood stains bearing Lauren Giddings’ DNA.
     “The police conducted an examination of Lauren Giddings’ apartment with the chemical luminol for traces of blood. The examination in Lauren Giddings’ bathroom revealed blood spatter on the walls of the tub and above to a height of approximately 4 feet.
     “The police also examined the bathtub in Lauren Giddings’ apartment and found scrape and saw marks on the bathtub consistent with the marks that would be left by a hacksaw or other weapon being used to dismember a body.
     “On July 2, 2011, McDaniel’s hacksaw was located hidden in a storage closet at 1058 Georgia Avenue bearing the DNA of Lauren Giddings. The store packaging for McDaniel’s hacksaw bearing Lauren Giddings’ DNA was found in McDaniel’s apartment during the murder investigation.
     “A pair of Lauren Giddings’ underwear stolen from her apartment by McDaniel and bearing Lauren’s DNA were found in McDaniel’s apartment during the murder investigation.
     “A thumb drive of pictures of Lauren Giddings that was stolen from her apartment by McDaniel prior to her murder was found in McDaniel’s apartment.
     “On August 2, 2011, McDaniel was charged with the premeditated murder of Lauren Giddings.
     “During the murder investigation, McDaniel’s electronic storage media was found to be filled with child pornography and he was charged with possession of child pornography, as well as murder.”
     In conclusion, the parents say: “Consistent with his perverse hope to get away with the perfect murder, McDaniel refuses to confess, refuses to provide any details concerning where he disposed of the dismembered parts of the body of Lauren Giddings and displays no conscience and remorse whatsoever. He has committed a craven, criminal and horrendous act, depriving a vibrant young woman of her promising life and depriving her parents of the joy and companionship of the rest of her life.”
     The parents seek punitive damages for wrongful death, intentional infliction of emotional distress and unlawful interference with the right of burial.
     They are represented by Kristin Miller of King and Spalding in Atlanta.

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