Statement released by Bibb County District Attorney David Cooke regarding the plans to drop the death penalty option against Stephen McDaniel in the Lauren Giddings murder case:
Today I formally withdrew the notice of intent to seek the death penalty in the case of State of Georgia v. Stephen McDaniel.
Recently I met with the family of Lauren Giddings, and discussed the case with them at length. At the close of the meeting, Laurens mother and father asked me to withdraw the death notice. Although they believe that Mr. McDaniel deserves to be punished to the fullest extent of the law, they recognize that withdrawing the death notice will allow the case to proceed in a more timely fashion, and will result in the State achieving justice for Lauren at a sooner date. In the interests of avoiding further delays, my office will not seek the death penalty for Mr. McDaniel.
While the family of a murder victim does not decide what action our office will take, I do consider their feelings in deciding how to proceed. After careful consideration of their request, I formally withdrew the death notice today.
We look forward to the day we bring this case to trial and achieve justice for Laurens family and the community.