Stephen McDaniel petitions court to vacate conviction, plea in Giddings murder
On May 30th, McDaniel filed a habeas corpus petition
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The man convicted of killing Mercer Law student Lauren Giddings in 2011 is filing for the court system to vacate his conviction and guilty plea and release him from prison. Stephen McDaniel is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to murdering Giddings.
On May 30th, he filed a habeas corpus petition in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. The appeal claims, former District Attorney Greg Winters and his prosecution team illegally received forms that were a core part of the defense. McDaniel says a deputy with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office “removed Petitioner’s Legal Information Request Forms from the mail without lawful authority, copied and emailed them to D.A. Winters, who was handling the prosecution.”
In the filing, McDaniel says in January 2013, newly elected District Attorney David Cooke took office and notified defense attorneys about the theft of defense information. The filing goes on to say “the court was not notified and no corrective action was taken.”
McDaniel even claims a question from the prosecution was “taken almost verbatim from the stolen Defense Trial Preparations.” He also claims his defense attorneys “had paperwork to prove the State’s strategy originated with the stolen Core Opinion Legal Research.”
McDaniel says in his petition, he was not made aware of the the theft of the defense trial preparations when he pleaded guilty in April 2014. Therefore, he claims the conviction and sentence should be invalid due to mis-advice from his counsel and ineffective assistance of counsel.
This is not McDaniel’s first time petitioning the court. In February 2018, he filed a a Habeas Corpus petition, requesting a new trial.