Defense: McDaniel doesn’t have to prove his mental health

Telegraph staffApril 6, 2012 

Lawyers representing the man accused in the June slaying of Lauren Giddings filed a written argument Friday to buttress their position that Stephen McDaniel shouldn’t be required to prove he won’t harm himself if released on bond.

Bibb County Chief Superior Court Judge S. Phillip Brown expressed concerns at a Tuesday bond hearing when McDaniel’s attorneys didn’t present evidence regarding McDaniel’s mental health. The 26-year-old has been locked up in the Bibb jail’s infirmary since his July 1 arrest.

McDaniel’s attorneys argue that they haven’t found case law supporting Brown’s interpretation of the law that would require McDaniel to prove his mental health to receive a bond, according to a supplement to the defense’s bond motion filed Friday.

Although McDaniel is eligible for bond on a murder charge, bond also must be set in two other cases against him before he could be released from jail. He is charged with 30 counts of sexual exploitation of children and two counts of burglary.

Prosecutors have requested the bond for the murder charge be set at $2.5 million with requirements that McDaniel be confined to his home with an ankle monitor and not be allowed to have unsupervised access to children.

McDaniel’s attorneys argued that a bond higher than $100,000 would be akin to denying bond for McDaniel because his family wouldn’t be able to afford it.

McDaniel is accused in the death and dismemberment of Giddings, his 27-year-old neighbor and Mercer University law school classmate. Police found Giddings’ torso in a trash bin outside her Georgia Avenue apartment building June 30.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398. To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.

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