McDaniel trial postponed to January, may be delayed further

Telegraph staffJune 18, 2013 

The trial date has been postponed for the man accused in the June 2011 slaying and dismemberment of Lauren Giddings.

Stephen Mark McDaniel, previously scheduled to go to trial in September, now is facing a Jan. 6, 2014, trial date, said David Cooke, Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney.

Motions hearings in the case will be held the week of Sept. 16.

Cooke said the postponement was necessary to ensure that the court has an adequate opportunity to hear and consider motions filed in the case.

The best week for scheduling the motions hearings begins Sept. 16 and the next time available for the trial is Jan. 6, 2014, he said.

A month has been set aside for the trial, Cooke said.

Prosecutors still are awaiting test results from evidence shipped to the FBI’s crime lab in Quantico, Va.

Although Cooke said he hasn’t received an estimate for when the testing will be complete, he said, “they’re making progress.”

FBI cases, such as the April 15 Boston bombing, take priority when it comes to which evidence is tested first at the lab, he said.

“I’m hopeful everything will be tested in time for the January trial date,” Cooke said.

But it is possible that the trial date could be postponed again if results aren’t returned in time to prepare for trial.

McDaniel, 27, is charged with murder. Prosecutors previously sought the death penalty in the case, but removed capital punishment earlier this year.

Floyd Buford, one of McDaniel’s lawyers, said the defense will be ready for trial in January.

“My client very much wants to get into court and to get this in front of a jury,” Buford said.

McDaniel is being held at the Bibb County jail on $850,000 bond.

Giddings’ torso was found in a curbside trash bin at her Georgia Avenue apartment June 30, 2011. The rest of the 27-year-old Maryland native’s remains have not been recovered.

One of her two sisters, Kaitlyn Wheeler, reached by phone Tuesday, said, “I just hope we’re getting closer to the trial. ... We all look forward to the day when we’re not in the news anymore.”

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398. To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.

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