A week before his murder trial was set to begin, Stephen McDaniel surprised everyone and pleaded guilty this morning to the murder of 27-year-old law student Lauren Giddings. You can read my prior post about Lauren’s murder and McDaniel’s upcoming trial HERE.
A statement that McDaniel wrote detailing the murder was read aloud in court today after the judge was informed that a plea deal had been made. In the statement, McDaniel gave details about what happened the night Lauren was killed.
McDaniel used a master key and entered Lauren’s apartment at about 4:30 AM on June 26, 2011, wearing gloves and a mask. From the statement:
“I walked to her bedroom door and stood there, observing her sleeping. As I took another step, the floor creaked, and she awoke. She sat up in bed.”
When Lauren saw him standing there, she told him to leave.
“I leaped across the bed onto her and grabbed her around the throat.”
“We tumbled out of the bed to the floor.”
During the scuffle, McDaniel wrote that Lauren pulled the mask off and said, “Stephen? Please stop.”
McDaniel said he strangled her until she stopped moving, and then moved her body to the bathtub, before returning to his apartment. Later that night, he returned to Lauren’s apartment and dismembered her. He wrapped her remains in several black trash bags and threw them in a dumpster across the street. He destroyed his mask, gloves and shirt, and then flushed them down his toilet.
He threw Lauren’s torso in the apartment complex trash can on June 28, where it was found two days later.
McDaniel said he attended class on June 28 and June 29. He said he was in a “dream-like delusional state” and believed Lauren was still alive when he helped her friends search for her. He claimed he was “unable to account for how I could have committed these horrible acts and, at the same time, also be able to carry on daily routines.”
McDaniel also said in his statement that he is extremely sorry and that he grieves for Lauren daily, but doesn’t expect her family to ever forgive him.
McDaniel was sentenced to life in prison for Lauren’s murder, and as part of the plea deal, prosecutors will dismiss the sexual exploitation of children and burglary charges against him.
At least Lauren’s family will be spared from having to sit through his trial, and there’s a solid chance McDaniel will never see the light of day again.
You can watch the hearing in the videos below, courtesy of 13 WMAZ: