McDaniel attorneys seek reconsideration of bond

Telegraph staffApril 13, 2012 

Attorneys representing the man charged with the June 2011 slaying of Lauren Giddings filed a motion Friday asking a judge to reconsider the $850,000 bond set in the case this week.

Stephen McDaniel, 26, is charged with murder, 30 counts of sexual exploitation of children and two counts of burglary.

McDaniel’s attorneys ask that a hearing be held to allow them to further discuss the bond amount set for McDaniel. They contend the amount is “excessive” and a violation of McDaniel’s constitutional rights, according to the motion.

“We’re just asking the court to take another look at it,” Floyd Buford, one of McDaniel’s lawyers, said. “We certainly can’t make the $850,000. There’s just no way. We’re gonna ask the court to lower that.”

The attorneys also want to present evidence that McDaniel poses no “significant danger” to his siblings and to show that a plan can be devised to assure the judge that McDaniel can abide by the other special conditions associated with his release.

Bibb County Superior Court Chief Judge Phillip Brown has ordered that McDaniel submit a plan describing how he would abide by conditions of his release, which include wearing an ankle monitor, being confined to his parents’ home, not having unsupervised contact with children, and not having access to electronic communication devices or weapons.

“The concern the court had about the minor children,” Buford said, “we feel like we can resolve that issue.”

McDaniel, if released, would be allowed to travel to attend court and see his attorneys. He also would be allowed to use a cell phone or computer to communicate with his lawyers and parents.

To be released from jail, where he’s been held since July 1, McDaniel must be granted a bond in his other two cases and post bond.

District Attorney Greg Winters has said McDaniel is not automatically entitled to bond on the sex charges because he was indicted within 90 days of his arrest.

At a hearing last week, prosecutors requested that bond on 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 have 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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