Mercer Law Student's Murder: Classmate Charged

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 04, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A classmate of Lauren Giddings has been charged with the former Mercer Law student's murder in Macon, Georgia.

Giddings, 27, had just graduated from Mercer University's law school and was preparing for the bar exam when she went missing.

Stephen McDaniel, 25, was Giddings' neighbor and fellow Mercer Law classmate and recent graduate. He was already being held on separate burglary charges when he was charged for her murder by prosecutors, reports WMAZ-TV.

McDaniel had earlier come to the attention of prosecutors and law enforcement after he gave a televised interview about how he and a group of friends had entered Giddings' apartment looking for her after she had gone missing in late July.

McDaniel said that they had looked on Giddings computer, where her e-mail messages indicated she was afraid because she thought someone was breaking in, reports the ABA Journal.

Giddings' dismembered body was later found near her apartment, WMAZ-TV reports.

Prosecutors have charged McDaniel with felony murder, according to WMAZ-TV.

Felony murder charges usually arise when a death occurs during the commission of a felony. For example, if a death occurs during a violent criminal activity, such as burglary, robbery, rape or arson, the perpetrator could be charged with murder. This is true even for accomplices. If two culprits decide to rob a bank, and one shoots the bank teller during the robbery, the non-shooting accomplice can be charged with felony murder.

The felony murder charge might be indicative that prosecutors believe that Giddings' death arose out of another crime that was committed by McDaniel.

So far, it seems that no other suspects have been charged in Lauren Giddings' death. Though in a telephone interview, Giddings' father said that her daughter's fellow Mercer Law student's murder charge was a relief - but only to an extent, reports WMAZ-TV.

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