Attorneys for the man accused of killing and dismembering a Mercer University law school classmate and neighbor have filed motions asking a judge to set bonds the 27-year-old can meet.
Bibb County Judge S. Phillip Brown set a $850,000 bond for Stephen McDaniel in April 2012, but his lawyers have argued the amount is too high.
McDaniel is charged with murder in the June 2011 slaying of 27-year-old Lauren Giddings. Authorities found Giddings’ torso in a trash can outside the Georgia Avenue apartments where Giddings and McDaniel lived.
In a motion filed Monday, McDaniel’s lawyers argue the judge should reconsider their client’s bond because prosecutors removed the option of the death penalty from the case in February. They also say the $850,000 amount is “tantamount to having denied bail” and is excessive.
“It’s simply too high,” lawyer Franklin J. Hogue said Monday.
Hogue and lawyer Floyd Buford wrote in the motion that they want to present additional evidence that McDaniel doesn’t pose a danger to his siblings, who live with his parents in Lilburn, and that a plan can be developed to provide assurance that McDaniel won’t flee or pose a danger to others.
In a separate motion, Buford and Hogue are asking that a judge set a bond for the 30 counts of sexual exploitation of children charges against McDaniel.
McDaniel is accused of possessing child pornography on a flash drive police found in his apartment.
In order for McDaniel to be released, a bond must be set and met for the murder and sexual exploitation cases, along with two burglary charges levied against McDaniel, Hogue said.
Hogue said the total bond for both cases must be much lower than $850,000 to be within McDaniel’s family’s reach.
If a bond is not set in the sexual exploitation case or reduced in the murder case, Buford and Hogue also requested that they be allowed to pick him up at the Bibb County jail each Friday at 9 a.m. and take him to their offices so he can help work on his case. They propose that they will return McDaniel to jail by 5 p.m., according to one of the motions.
District Attorney David Cooke said prosecutors will argue in opposition to the motions.
“Given the facts of the case, we don’t think it’s appropriate that Mr. McDaniel walk out of the jail,” Cooke said Monday.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.