Bibb County Superior Court Chief Judge S. Phillip Brown has assigned himself to preside over the death penalty case against Stephen Mark McDaniel, according to an order filed Wednesday.
McDaniel, 26, is accused in the late June death of his fellow Mercer law school classmate and neighbor Lauren Giddings.
Giddings’ dismembered body was discovered in a garbage can outside her Georgia Avenue apartment complex.
Prosecutors announced their intention to seek capital punishment in December.
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McDaniel also is charged with 30 counts of sexual exploitation of children.
Judge Edgar W. Ennis was recused from handling the murder case, but no reason was listed in the order.