Lilburn man pleads guilty, sentenced to life for murdering - CBS46 News

Lilburn man pleads guilty, sentenced to life for murdering graduate student

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Stephen McDaniel, 28, pleaded guilty to the murder of Lauren Giddings, his neighbor and classmate at Mercer University.

As part of the deal, McDaniel revealed in a written statement how he killed Giddings, and what he did with her body.

Police found her dismembered torso in a dumpster outside her apartment in Macon, GA in June 2011.

After arresting McDaniel on an unrelated burglary charge, they found evidence in his apartment as well as on his computer and camera of the crime.

According to the prosecuting attorney, David Cooke, the internet search history on McDaniel's computer showed he had been gathering information about Giddings online.

Investigators also found videos and pictures on McDaniel's camera dated the morning of Giddings' disappearance.

"The case took a turn for the worst for McDaniel when the computer evidence started coming out, and it just kept coming," said Frank Hogue, the attorney representing McDaniel. "They were continuing to find more and more evidence related to his computer and camera, and finally he agreed that was enough to get a conviction."

The plea deal was brokered over the weekend. In addition to getting McDaniel's admission of guilt, it prevents him from appealing his conviction.

"Even if Stephen McDaniel had been found guilty, we never would have known exactly what happened to Lauren, we never would have known how she died, or what became of her body," said Cooke.

McDaniel will be up for parole in 2041. Cooke says, it's likely McDaniel will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

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