Convicted murderer, Stephen McDaniel files petition for new trial

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) -Stephen McDaniel, the man who pleaded guilty to killing Mercer Law Student, Lauren Giddings, wants new and fair trial.

McDaniel filed a Habeas Corpus petition in Richmond county Tuesday.

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Wednesday morning, his father, Mark McDaniel, held a news conference to discuss Stephen filing a Habeas Corpus petition.

Mark says Stephen isn’t saying he is innocent, he is just saying he deserves another trial.

The petition was filed against Judge Howard Simms, the Superior Court, and Bibb County for four different reasons.



The first ground focuses on when McDaniel was questioned by Macon Police about the incident just moments after he learned that a woman’s body was found during a television interview. In the document, investigators described McDaniel in ‘catatonic’ state. McDaniel now believes he was incapable of making decisions because he was in a state of shock.

The second ground deals with the District Attorney’s office’s failure to provide McDaniel with requested documents in preparation for trial. Being a recent graduate from Mercer Law School, McDaniel wanted to do his own research before the trial, but he claims he didn’t get the documents in a timely manner from the D.A.’s office, creating unfairness.

The third ground focuses on Judge Simms being ‘prejudice’ towards McDaniel. McDaniel says Simms participated in the investigative stage of the case.

The fourth ground mentions his defense attorneys failed to look at and present material that McDaniel provided to them.

District Attorney David Cooke held a news conference Wednesday afternoon in response to the Habeas Corpus filed by McDaniel.

“I think it shows that when we found something that we didn’t think was necessarily proper, we immediately provided it to his attorneys to seek whatever remedy if any, they thought was appropriate and they thought it had no effect on anything about the case so they didn’t do anything,” said Cooke.

“I do know that while he was here at the request of his defense attorneys, as well as the court, he was given special consideration to the point of having a laptop computer in his cell where he could aid in his own defense,” said Bibb County Sheriff David Davis in response to the petition.

McDaniel’s father says his family stands behind him in this decision to pursue a case against the state.

“Our hope is the Habeas will get a fair hearing and we’re hoping that the truth will come out, that’s all we’re hoping,” said Mark McDaniel.