Today, Stephen McDaniel formally heard the state's decision to seek the death penalty against him for the murder of his neighbor, Lauren Giddings.
Wednesday's hearing lasted less than an hour, and McDaniel's attorneys made it very clear they plan to challenge the District Attorney's grand jury indictment. There is also a long list of issues surrounding the evidence in this case they plan to fight.
Giddings' boyfriend, friends, and several family members sat in the courtroom dressed in pink.
Giddings' cousin, Kathy Mann, said, "the reason we are here today is not because this is Stephen McDaniel's trial, because this is Lauren's trial.
McDaniel was not in his jail jumpsuit, but rather in a suit in tie. His attorney, Floyd Burford, now has a co-council, Franklin Hogue. Hogue was a professor of Giddings.
"That's his right. His prerogative," says Mann of Hogues decision to represent McDaniel.
During the hearing Judge S. Philip Brown listed of potential issues, including warrants and evidence seized, the defense may have an issue with; attorney Buford acknowledged several he would address in the trial, but would not elaborate.
"I really don't think it's appropriate for me to start talking about those issues," said Buford.
McDaniel did not speak at Wednesday's hearing. Judge Brown also asked about McDaniel's mental state. His attorneys said there was no issue.
According to Giddings' cousin, the family's main concern is getting the trail started, and they'll do their best to be at every hearing.
"We don't want to say anything that would be misunderstood as through we think he is guilty. We want a fair trial for him too. We want the person who killed Lauren to come to justice whoever that maybe," said Mann.
Arraignment in this murder case is set for February 7th. At Wednesday's hearing,Floyd Buford, also said he plans to file another conflict of interest motion against the D.A's office.