Stephen McDaniel, the Georgia man on trial for the grisly murder of a law-school classmate from Maryland in 2011, pleaded guilty to malice murder Monday morning.
In exchange for his plea, McDaniel will receive a sentence of life in prison.
The Macon Telegraph reported McDaniel, 28, of Lilburn, GA, confessed to strangling, then dismembering neighbor Lauren Giddings on June 26, 2011.
Giddings, from Laurel, Md., was a Mercer University Law graduate who lived next door to McDaniel in a Georgia Avenue apartment building in Macon, GA. McDaniel and Giddings were reportedly law school classmates at Mercer.
Giddings graduated from Agnes Scott College in Decatur and worked in Atlanta for a year before entering law school.
McDaniel included a detailed confession with his plea, according to the Telegraph. In the statement, McDaniel wrote he was wearing gloves and a mask when he used a master key to enter Giddings’ apartment during the overnight of June 25-26.
He stood over Giddings while she was sleeping. “As I took another step, the floor creaked, and she awoke. She sat up in bed,” he wrote, according to the newspaper.
McDaniel’s said in the statement he strangled Giddings in the bedroom, and at one point, she pulled off his mask. She recognized him and asked him to stop, but he continued choking her.
McDaniel admitted to dismembering Giddings, wrapping her torso in plastic and dumping it in the apartment complex’s trash bin, where it was found by police on June 30. He wrote he put the rest of the body in plastic bags and threw them away at the dumpster at Mercer’s law school across the street.
The Telegraph reported McDaniel will have to serve at least 30 years before parole consideration.
Sexual exploitation of children charges against McDaniel, stemming from a police search of his apartment, were dropped as part of the plea.
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