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Lawyers for Stephen McDaniel to Ask for Bond Reduction

Stephen McDaniel’s attorneys are going to ask a judge on Tuesday to reconsider his $850,000 bond and the conditions of his release. McDaniel has been charged with murder in the June 2011 killing of 27-year-old Lauren Giddings. Giddings was a fellow graduate of Mercer University in 2011 and lived next door. On June 30, Giddings’ dismembered torso was discovered in a trash bin outside of her apartment on Georgia Avenue. The lawyers for McDaniel say that the bond is too high for his family to pay. McDaniel was also ordered to not have unsupervised visits with his younger siblings should he be released. That ruling was issued by Bibb County Superior Court Chief Judge Phil Brown.

A post from an internet message board will also be discussed at the hearing, according to Franklin J. Hogue, a lawyer for McDaniel. The post was read aloud on April 3 by District Attorney Greg Winters.

“It’s coming up, that’s for sure. … I’m gonna make a deal out of it,” Hogue said.

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Prosecutors in the case are asking for the death penalty and claim that the post was written by McDaniel using the screen name ‘SoL,’ which is short for ‘Son of Liberty.’ The post is graphic and sexually suggestive. The post mentions a ‘sexy neighbor’ who returns home ‘wasted from a graduation party’ and then the author invites her in for a nightcap called a ‘Mickey Finn.’ During the hearing on April 3, Winters explained to the court that the Mickey Finn is a drink ‘laced with drugs’ used to knock someone out. The post that was read during the hearing also said that the author had sex with the ‘sexy neighbor,’ who suffered a fatal drug overdose. The author of the post then discards the torso and ‘lose(s) it on TV while the cops are discovering her remains.’

Hogue first found out about the post at the April 3 hearing.

“The content of it made me suspect it wasn’t authentic,” he said. Hogue claims that McDaniel did not have any available time to write the post after he was interviewed by reporters on the sidewalk just outside the apartment complex where he and Giddings lived since 2008. Hogue said McDaniel became a person of interest in the killing shortly after speaking to reporters. Operator Chan website administrators contacted Hogue claiming they had spoken with someone who they thought authored the post.

If McDaniel is released, Brown ruled that he has to stay in his parents’ home in Lilburn and must wear an ankle monitor. McDaniel also cannot have access to any electronic communication devices or any weapons. McDaniel also faces 30 counts of sexual exploitation of children after police found a flash drive with child pornography in his apartment. There has yet to be a bond set for the sex charges or the two counts of burglary.

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