Murder

Stephen McDaniel

Revelations continue to spill forth regarding Stephen Mark McDaniel, 25, the recent Mercer Law School graduate accused of killing his former classmate and neighbor, Lauren Giddings.

On Saturday, the Macon Telegraph reported on a theory that Stephen McDaniel was framed for the murder of Lauren Giddings. This theory was advanced by McDaniel’s mother, Glenda McDaniel, who steadfastly maintains her son’s innocence. As commentator Kenny Burgamy aptly noted in the Telegraph, “A mother’s love is instinctual, unconditional and forever.”

Yesterday the Telegraph followed up with a detailed profile of Stephen McDaniel, looking at his childhood, family background, and college years. It’s a great read; check it out in full over here.

To whet your appetite, let’s cover the highlights….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Portrait of the Accused as a Young Man (Plus a reader poll: innocent?)”

Reema Bajaj wins the race to the courthouse.

Today we bring you two tales of Chicago-area lawyers accused of naughtiness. Chicago is a beautiful city in the summer, but some of its attorneys are facing ugly allegations.

Ladies first. What’s going on with Reema Bajaj, the rather attractive Illinois lawyer accused of prostitution? We’ve mentioned Bajaj here and there over the past few weeks, but we haven’t had hard news about her since June. Is her case any closer to resolution?

Apparently so. A plea deal is near, according to the Daily Chronicle, and Bajaj is scheduled back in court on August 31. As you may recall, Reema Bajaj has been charged with two misdemeanors and one felony. If she pleads guilty to just a misdemeanor, can she keep her Illinois law license? Readers, please enlighten us.

Let’s hear more about Reema from one reader who knows her personally — don’t worry, he’s not a customer — and then learn about another twentysomething Chicago lawyer accused of more-serious criminal conduct….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What Is Up With Chicago-Area Lawyers? Updates on Reema Bajaj and Jason Smiekel”

Stephen McDaniel

In our coverage of Stephen Mark McDaniel, the 25-year-old Mercer Law School graduate who has been charged with the murder of Lauren Giddings, his former classmate and neighbor, we have repeatedly stressed that McDaniel remains innocent until proven guilty. We have pointed to past examples of individuals who were viewed by the public as almost certainly guilty of particular crimes, but who turned out to be innocent — such as Gary Condit and Richard Jewell, to say nothing of the numerous prisoners who have been freed thanks to DNA evidence.

It is therefore appropriate to ask at this time: Has Stephen McDaniel been framed for the murder of Lauren Giddings?

Let’s look at some of the theories — and the evidence — suggesting this might be the case….

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Stephen 'Hacksaw' McDaniel

In last night’s story about Stephen Mark McDaniel, the recent Mercer Law School graduate accused of murdering his former neighbor and classmate, Lauren Giddings, we tried to come up with a Nancy Grace-style nickname for the accused. Inspired by Tot Mom, Nancy Grace’s moniker for Casey Anthony, one reader suggested “Chain Mail Man” (based on McDaniel’s penchant for wearing chain mail to his law school classes).

In light of new evidence that has come to light, however, a better nickname has emerged for Stephen McDaniel. Until a superior option presents itself, the defendant may occasionally be referred to in these pages as “Hacksaw McDaniel.”

What is the basis for this new handle? Let’s take a look at the arrest warrant for Stephen M. McDaniel, which lays out the gruesome particulars….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Plot Thickens: Say Hello to ‘Hacksaw McDaniel’”

Stephen McDaniel

I just realized that I share several things in common with Stephen Mark McDaniel, the recent Mercer Law School graduate who has been charged with the grisly murder of his former classmate, Lauren Giddings.

During law school, I served as vice-president of my law school’s Federalist Society chapter. So did Stephen McDaniel (under Lauren Giddings, who served as president).

Through the Federalist Society, I got to meet one of my heroes, Justice Clarence Thomas. So did Stephen McDaniel, who expressed his admiration for Justice Thomas’s integrity.

I once aspired to be a prosecutor and a federal judge. So did Stephen McDaniel, who hoped to serve as a prosecutor on his way to realizing his dream of serving on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Stephen McDaniel’s mother, Glenda McDaniel, once asked her son whether romance was possible between him and any woman. My mother has posed similar questions of me.

Lauren Giddings

And this, thankfully, is where the similarities end. My hair, while sometimes problematic, doesn’t look like the result of “a grizzly bear banging Bob Marley’s mom” (as one ATL tipster described McDaniel’s mane). In law school, I wore khakis and button-down shirts to class, not chain mail (which doesn’t sound very comfortable). I have never been accused of burglarizing apartments (to steal condoms). And I’ve certainly never been accused of murder.

As we reported last night, Stephen M. McDaniel, 25, has been charged with the horrific murder of Lauren Giddings, 27, a bright and beautiful recent graduate of Mercer Law. Giddings’s decapitated torso was found on June 30. The search for the rest of her remains continues.

Let’s take a closer look at this deeply disturbing case….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Closer Look at Stephen McDaniel, Lauren Giddings, and Mercer Law School”

Stephen McDaniel

A recent graduate of Mercer Law School in Macon, Georgia, Stephen Mark McDaniel, has been charged with murder, according to inmate information posted tonight on the website of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office. As you may recall, Stephen McDaniel was a neighbor and classmate of Lauren Giddings, the slain Mercer Law graduate whose torso was found on June 30, inside a trash bin just outside her apartment building.

McDaniel, 25, was previously identified as a person of interest in the killing of Lauren Giddings, 27. He is currently being held in Bibb County jail, having been charged with two counts of burglary in an unrelated case.

Bibb County jail records are how the murder charge against McDaniel came to light. Let’s take a look at Stephen McDaniel’s inmate information sheet….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: Stephen McDaniel Charged With Murder of Lauren Giddings”

* This whole debt crisis has been a little like Deal or No Deal, except that show had a much better host. Howie Mandel can get people to make a deal with the banker in under 60 minutes. Obama? Not so much. [POLITICO]

* Real life intellectual property matters be damned, because even virtual horses need to eat. If a PETA group doesn’t exist yet in Second Life, I have a feeling that one soon will. [Wall Street Journal]

* Reality shows rule, but I’m not sure if an execution can compete with Jersey Shore. The only thing I want to see die on TV is dignity, but our own David Lat has some other interesting ideas. [New York Times]

* New Mercer Law students are moving into the apartment complex where pieces of Lauren Giddings were found. Why would you sign a lease with a place that’s so stabby? [Macon Telegraph]

* B*tch has balls if she’s willing to go to war with Oprah over an acronym. Before you can OYP (Own Your Power), you might want to OYT (Own Your Trademark). [Daily Intel / New York Magazine]

A week and a half ago, we told you about the death of a Mercer Law student. The student has now been officially identified as Lauren Giddings, a recent Mercer Law graduate who was back in Macon studying for the bar.

The body was found dismembered. Our sources say that the body was decapitated. Police still haven’t found all of the body parts.

We have an update from Macon. Our sources are telling us that the police have two persons of interest, but law students are still being questioned….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Update On a Mercer Law Student’s Untimely Death”

As many of you already know, if you don’t want to use email, you can send tips to Above the Law by text message. The number to use is 646-820-TIPS (or 646-820-8477).

That number, which is hooked up to our Google Voice account, also accepts voice mails. We strongly prefer text-based tips, via email or text message, over voicemail tips (which require us to listen and transcribe). But you can leave us voicemails if you like.

In the wake of the Casey Anthony verdict, one reader left us a, um, very interesting voice-mail. Check it out — it’s under 10 seconds….

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The verdict in the Casey Anthony case reflected the lack of forensic evidence and heavy reliance on circumstantial inferences. There was no evidence of a cause of death, the time of death, or the circumstances surrounding the actual death of this young girl. There was sufficient circumstantial evidence from which the jury could have inferred homicide. But a reasonable jury could also have rejected that conclusion, as this jury apparently did.

Alan Dershowitz, in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece about the Casey Anthony verdict. (For thoughts along similar lines in defense of fair Casey, see Elie’s recent post.)

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