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McDaniel pleads guilty to murder: 'It is difficult for me to explain why I killed Lauren'

Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney David Cooke said Stephen McDaniel choked Lauren Giddings while she was sleeping in June of 2011. McDaniel pleaded guilty to her the murder Monday morning.
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Stephen McDaniel, the man accused of killing and dismembering Mercer law graduate Lauren Giddings, pleaded guilty to murder Monday morning.

As part of the plea deal, McDaniel will serve life in prison with the possibility of parole in 2041. He must also provide a written allocution detailing the events of the night Giddings was murdered back in the summer of 2011.

Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney David Cooke said the defense approached him about the plea deal a few weeks ago. Defense Attorney Frank Hogue told 41NBC McDaniel went with the plea deal because the evidence “mounting” against him. He added if the case went to trial, the jury most likely would have come back with a guilty plea without the possibility of parole.

Cooke said computer evidence showed McDaniel had an “obsessions with Lauren.” He told 41NBC's Skyler Henry McDaniel choked Giddings while she was sleeping on June 25, 2011.

Cooke believes McDaniel will spend the rest of his life in jail, even though he will be eligible for parole.

Giddings' family was in the courtroom. Her mother, Karen Giddings, addressed the court and said Lauren would have turned 30 last Friday on Good Friday. She said McDaniel has robbed our family and friends of so much.”

Cooke said Giddings' family now has justice.

The murder trial was set to begin with jury selection on Monday, April 28 in Henry County. McDaniel's defense team filed a motion to move the trial because it believed he would not get a fair trial in Bibb County.

Cooke said McDaniel's allocution he apologized to the Giddings family and doesn't deserve their forgiveness.

This story is developing. Check back for updates and get the latest tonight on the 41NBC News at 6.

Watch Cooke's full statement and the Giddings family address the court in the video player.


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