McDaniel Hearing Adjourns Without a Ruling on Bond | News
Both the defense and the prosecution proposed bond for Stephen McDaniel on murder charges but differed drastically on the amount at a Superior Court hearing in Macon on Tuesday.
McDaniel is accused of murdering his former neighbor and fellow Mercer Law School graduate Lauren Giddings.
The defense asked for bond of no more than $100,000.
The defense says McDaniel is entitled to bond because it took more than 90 days to get an indictment after his arrest.
Bibb County District Attorney Greg Winters said he did not contest McDaniel's right to bond but argued that it be set at $2.5 million. He cited a previously-undisclosed element of the prosecution's case.
He asserted that McDaniel posted an obscene comment under an alias on an Internet message board. Winters said McDaniel, using the alias of "SOL", or Son of Liberty, wrote about "my sexy neighbor... she has wanted my ____ for 4 years."
"Make her a special drink called a Mickey Finn. She's out cold. I finally lose my v-card. Oh no, she O.D.'d and died. I barbeque her arms and legs to celebrate losing my v-card. Not into organ meat, throw her torso out. Lose it on TV while the cops are discovering her remains."
Investigators found Giddings' torso in a trash bin outside her Macon apartment complex on June 30, 2011.
Prosecutors have said McDaniel first drew their attention through his emotional interviews with TV reporters on the morning Giddings' body was found.
McDaniel was arrested early the next morning on two charges of burglarizing apartments in the complex. He was charged with murder a month later. He was also charged with possessing child pornography. Investigators say they found it on thumb drives in McDaniel's apartment.
Superior Court Judge Phillip Brown heard arguments on the bond motion. He said he wanted time to consider the request and adjourned the hearing without ruling.
Brown said one consideration is whether McDaniel poses a danger to himself. The judge said he might want to hear from mental health professionals who have examined McDaniel.
Hogue, the defense attorney, said McDaniel is "perfectly healthy" and has no thoughts of suicide. He said there's no need for testimony from a psychologist.
Hogue said the most critical time for McDaniel would have been in the months after his arrest -- and he made no attempts on his life.
He said there was no place safer for McDaniel than his home, and, "if he wanted to kill himself, he could do it in jail."
The defense entered 20 exhibits intended to show that McDaniel would not be a flight risk because of his family's ties to Lilburn and Gwinnett County dating to the 1700s. His mother Glenda submitted an affidavit noting that as a child, her son belonged to a church, sang in choir, played violin and graduated from high school in Lilburn.
While the prosecution agreed McDaniel was entitled to bond, Hogue said $100,000 was all McDaniel's family could afford. He said McDaniel was entitled to "reasonable" bond. Knowing that his family would be "destitute" if he jumped bail was all the incentive he needed to appear for trial, the defense attorney said.
Winters, the district attorney, reviewed details of the case previously disclosed to support the higher bond request: women's underpants with Giddings' DNA were found in McDaniel's bedroom along with a key to Giddings' apartment.
Winters said investigators found a saw with Giddings' remains on it and found packaging for the saw in McDaniel's apartment.
The hearing began with McDaniel's arraignment on murder charges. Hogue said McDaniel entered a written plea of not guilty. McDaniel was seen signing a document as he stood at a lectern facing the judge.