The Union Recorder

February 22, 2013

Ga. court will not seek death penalty in slaying


The Associated Press

MACON — District Attorney David Cooke says he will not seek the death penalty against a man accused of dismembering a law school student.

At a press conference Thursday, Cooke said he spoke with relatives of 27-year-old Lauren Giddings, who was dismembered in June 2011. Cooke says her father suggested he avoid seeking capital punishment against 27-year-old Stephen McDaniel because his family is uncomfortable with the death penalty. He said life in prison would be an acceptable punishment.

Authorities say McDaniel was the woman's next-door neighbor and a classmate at Mercer University. Her torso was found in a trash bin near her apartment and police have not recovered the rest of her remains.

McDaniel has pleaded not guilty and Cooke says eliminating the death penalty will move the case to trial sooner.

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