Stephen McDaniel Hearing Could Reveal New Evidence in Lauren Giddings Case

6:36 AM, Aug 26, 2011   |    comments
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Stephen McDaniel at a court appearance.

We plan to show the complete hearing on at 9:30 a.m.


Stephen McDaniel is scheduled to appear in court at 9:30 a.m. on allegations that he killed his neighbor and fellow Mercer Law graduate, Lauren Giddings.

Earlier this month, Macon police charged him with felony murder. 
McDaniel has been in jail since July 1, when he was accused of two burglaries.

A commitment hearing on the felony murder charge is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the Bibb County Courthouse.

Macon defense attorney Franklin Hogue is not involved in the case, but he described what might happen at the commitment hearing:

He said the judge has three options.

  1. He could dismiss the felony murder charge against McDaniel;
  2. He could reduce the charge;
  3. Or, the judge could rule that there is enough probable cause to let the state try to send the case to trial.

"It just means, is it more likely than not that a crime has occurred and is it more likely than not that this person was involved in it?" Hogue said. 

To prove that, prosecutors will have to present evidence, and possibly reveal new details.

"There'll be a police officer there, probably the lead agent, hearsay is allowed so the agent can just come and sum up their findings in the investigation and have to do that under oath in open court," Hogue said.

That gives McDaniel's attorney, Floyd Buford, his first chance to hear the prosecution's case.

"What the defense usually does is just listens very carefully during the testimony of the police officer and then bases the questions asked off of what you hear right there on the spot," he said.

The hearing ends when the judge says he's heard enough to make a ruling.

If the case goes to trial, Hogue says it's "ripe" for a change of venue request.

"The measure is this - is it possible that Stephen McDaniel can get 12 fair and impartial jurors in Bibb County?" Hogue said.

Buford has not said whether he'll request the venue be moved if his client's case goes to trial. Hogue says if he were McDaniel's attorney, he would make that request.

"This is the type of case where that's a real possiblity."


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