Murder

Lauren Giddings

It has been a few weeks since we last wrote at length about the investigation into the murder of Lauren Giddings. As you may recall, Giddings was a recent graduate of Mercer Law School whose decapitated torso was found on June 30 in Macon, Georgia.

A former neighbor and classmate of Giddings, Stephen M. McDaniel, 25, has been charged with her murder. McDaniel is being held at the Bibb County jail, where he has been for several weeks.

There have been a few recent developments in the case — nothing major, but still worth noting….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Lauren Giddings Murder Investigation: Some Updates”

Jason Smiekel

It’s not every day that a lawyer is accused of murder for hire. But that’s what happened earlier this month, when Illinois lawyer Jason W. Smiekel was accused of trying to put a hit out on a former client — who also happened to be the ex-husband of Smiekel’s current girlfriend (or fiancée).

Last week, the feds unveiled the indictment against Jason Smiekel (who was originally charged by complaint). At his arraignment last Wednesday, Smiekel pleaded not guilty to seven counts of using interstate facilities in a murder-for-hire scheme.

Since his arrest, we’ve heard from friends and colleagues of Jason Smiekel, 29, who claim that he’s getting a bum rap. They claim that blame for this unfortunate series of events should be located… elsewhere.

“How come no one is talking about his ‘girlfriend’?” asked one reader. “She needs to be questioned as well.”

So, let’s talk about that girlfriend — the one that an ATL tipster described as a “hot hot hot blonde”….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Chicago-Area Lawyer Accused of Murder for Hire Pleads Not Guilty
(And ATL readers come to his defense.)

Burt Reynolds

* I know we’re a little tight for money, but we should find some money in the budget to make sure faded American stars are bailed out of the housing crisis, just like the banks were. [Monsters & Critics]

* Illinois’s redrawn legislative districts draw legal fire. I have an idea: let’s use Illinois as a laboratory for direct sponsorship of Congressional seats. I recognize the distinguished gentleman from Pizza Hut. [WSJ Law Blog]

* If anybody at Citi would like to sue for stress due to the fire drill there today, there are a bunch of out-of-work lawyers who would love to help you. [Dealbreaker]

* Prosecuting your own stalker: it’s a good story. This being the most I’ve read in a Marie Claire, however, I need to go hunt something and eat its liver to rebalance my hormones. [Marie Claire]

Stephen Mark McDaniel

* Here’s a chatwrap with Amy Leigh Womack and Joe Kovac, two reporters who have been covering the Stephen McDaniel / Lauren Giddings case down in Macon. The last time I remember Macon being this relevant to my day-to-day life, John Rocker was involved. [Macon Telegraph]

* Having to purchase legal services from a Wal-Mart that looks like a Neiman Marcus is probably something that happens in Hell. But it can’t be much worse that having to buy your clothes in a place where you buy your food. [An Associate's Mind]

* Lady lawyers: looking for a way to spend that spring bonus or partnership draw? Here are ten handbags that cost five figures. [Fashionista]

Stephen McDaniel

We realize some of you are getting Stephen McDaniel fatigue. We apologize if that’s the case, but CHECK YOU CALENDAR: it’s August.

Aside from the stock market craziness that could signal a second recession, and perhaps the London riots, we are in a slow news period. And the story of Stephen Mark McDaniel, the 25-year-old Mercer Law School graduate accused of killing a comely classmate, Lauren Giddings, is just about the most interesting story out there.

If you’re not interested in this story, nobody is forcing you to read our coverage (which we tend to put up after regular business hours anyway). But if you are as interested in this fascinating case as we are — and our traffic stats suggest that you are very, very interested — then read on for the latest developments….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “More on Stephen McDaniel: A Missing Bar Prep Session, and Possible Fiber Evidence”

Stephen Mark McDaniel

In prior coverage of Stephen Mark McDaniel, the Mercer Law School graduate accused of murdering his former neighbor and classmate, Lauren Giddings, we alluded to several emails that Stephen McDaniel sent to some of his classmates. Some students found the emails, which reflected McDaniel’s conservative political views, to be strange or disturbing.

Thanks to the kindness of several tipsters, we now have copies of some of the emails sent around Mercer Law by Stephen M. McDaniel. We will now share them with you, so you can judge for yourself whether there is anything in this correspondence that is troubling or problematic….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Collected Writings of Stephen McDaniel”

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….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Has Stephen McDaniel Been Framed in the Lauren Giddings Murder?”

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”

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