Glenda McDaniel

Would you want this man as your roommate?

The cast of characters in the criminal case against Stephen Mark McDaniel, the 25-year-old Mercer Law School alumnus accused of killing his neighbor and classmate, Lauren Giddings, continues to grow. Last week, the existing players — the wild-haired defendant, his super-religious mother, the good ol’ boy defense lawyer, the handsome handyman, the 58-year-old law student — were joined by a fellow with the improbable name of Thaddeus Money. Who happens to be a financial advisor, amazingly enough.

Thad Money, a former roommate of Stephen McDaniel, came to public attention last week when his name was mentioned at McDaniel’s magistrate court hearing. In building their case against McDaniel, Macon police are relying in part on Money’s recollections of the defendant.

After the hearing, Thaddeus Money gave an interview to the Macon Telegraph. Let’s learn more about this young man, and hear what he has to say about his ex-roomie….

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Glenda McDaniel and Mark McDaniel, parents of Stephen McDaniel, arriving at court this morning.

Bad news keeps on coming for Stephen Mark McDaniel, 25, the recent Mercer Law School graduate accused of killing Lauren Giddings, his former neighbor and classmate. This morning a judge found probable cause in the murder case against McDaniel, which will now be bound over to Bibb County Superior Court. The judge also denied bail to Stephen McDaniel, who has been in Bibb County jail since July 1 (on unrelated burglary charges; he also faces kiddie porn charges).

We were fortunate enough to have a reader at this morning’s hearing. Let’s hear what this roving reporter has to say….

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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….

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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?)”

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….

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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….

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