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Chilling Internet Postings Linked to Stephen McDaniel

Stephen McDaniel

It seems that Stephen Mark McDaniel just can’t catch a break. First the recent Mercer Law School graduate gets accused of murdering his former neighbor and classmate, Lauren Giddings. Then he’s hit with lurid charges of child pornography possession. He has been in Bibb County jail for almost two months, and the incarceration has been taking its toll on him.

And now, according to the Macon Telegraph, Stephen McDaniel is being fingered as the author of some exceedingly creepy postings to internet message boards. If the claims of his authorship are true, they will definitely not help his case.

We’ve called the postings “chilling” and “creepy,” but you don’t have to take our word for it. Check them out for yourself….

The Telegraph claims to have verified McDaniel’s authorship of the postings. Here’s what the paper reports:

Internet discussion board postings written by Stephen Mark McDaniel as recently as the three days before Lauren Giddings’ dismembered torso was discovered provide a glimpse into the thoughts of the man accused in her killing….

Using the moniker “SoL,” the poster writes of his being desensitized to violence and gore. He writes of movies depicting people being disemboweled and dismembered alive.

“SoL” appears to stand for Son of Liberty. In his first year of law school on a student message board, McDaniel refers to himself as a “true-born Son of Liberty.”

You can look back at some of McDaniel’s “Son of Liberty” messages over here.

By the way, “SoL” is not a great handle, for reasons identified by Mark Herrmann. It seems that SoL is now, well, SoL.

In a post from 2010, “SoL” writes of how he’d kill religious demonstrators planning to attend the funeral of a fallen soldier.

“I’d go outside, grab my kit out of the car, pop in a fresh mag, and proceed to slaughter the entire, bigoted group, never once doing so much as uttering a sound. When they are all dead (and they do need to all be DEAD), I’d sit down on the ground, with my gun several paces away from me, and just rock back and forward on the ground, eyes wide and blank.”

He goes on to write, “Afterwards, I’d remain in this state for at least a day — no talking, no communication, blank, unfocused stares. I do not fall asleep, either. Eventually, when some new stimulus is introduced (a family member I haven’t seen, a picture of my brother, or something like that), I shake my head from side to side, blink rapidly, and look around in a panicked manner, asking where I am, what’s going on, if my family is okay, why I’m there, and when they ask, I’d say I had no memory of anything that happened after I arrived at the service.”

Near the end of the post, he writes, “They probably initiate charges, at which point the family will need to get a lawyer to argue that I had no knowledge of my actions and were not acting of my own volition when I acted. Keep the story consistent, and whenever I am asked about what happened, I look down and put a sad look on your face, relating what I was TOLD happened (as you have no memory of it). I might end up institutionalized for a while so they can try to figure out what caused the blackout, and they may take my guns from me as well as the ability to purchase more, but if I stuck to the story, it’s doubtful I’d end up in prison.”

The post ends with the line, “Of course, this is all hypothetical.” The last word is typed in bold.

You can find the full posting over here (do a “find” on the page for 153820,” the number of the posting).

According to the timestamp, the posting was from Friday, July 30, 2010. So it was written before the January 2011 shootings apparently committed by Jared Lee Loughner, which is what came to mind when I read SoL’s screed.

This posting by SoL also reminded me of the arrest warrant for Hacksaw McDaniel, in which authorities alluded to prior statements by the defendant talking about getting away with murder. But if you look back at the specific wording of the warrant, it claims that McDaniel “previously commented that he could commit murder and provided details of methods to avoid detection which are similar to the facts and circumstances surrounding the killing of Lauren Giddings.” So it would seem that the warrant is referring to other alleged statements by McDaniel; talking about getting away with murder by feigning insanity is not the same thing as “provid[ing] details of methods to avoid detection.”

In other Stephen McDaniel news, he appeared in court yesterday on the child pornography charges. Here’s a report on the proceedings:

Fifty-five days in isolation at the Bibb County jail appeared to be taking their toll on a drooping Stephen McDaniel as he trudged into the lockup’s magistrate courtroom Wednesday for the third time this summer….

Escorted by deputies, a pale, blank-faced McDaniel almost staggered into the room, shuffling, as if shackled at the ankles, which he wasn’t. His arms hung still at his sides, his shoulders hunched forward. He stared ahead as he walked, not glancing to the side or in the rear of the room where eight members of the media were gathered to observe the proceedings….

In light of the musings by “SoL,” one wonders whether the blank face and hunched shoulders were real or feigned.

In Wednesday’s hearing, which lasted all of 3 minutes, the pony-tailed McDaniel didn’t speak. He nodded when asked if he understood the charges. His lawyer, Floyd Buford, answered questions on his behalf.

After the hearing, Buford said his client — listed in a booking file as 6 feet tall, 150 pounds when he was first jailed in the wee hours of July 1 on a pair of burglary charges — has since lost 17 pounds.

“He’s not doing well,” Buford said.

And he’ll probably be doing even worse by the time this whole process is over. We’re at just the beginning of what is surely going to be a long legal road.

Internet posts about death linked to Stephen McDaniel [Macon Telegraph]
McDaniel ‘not doing well,’ says attorney [Macon Telegraph]

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Stephen McDaniel

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