The Creepy Neighbor
The Creepy Neighbor
Using a video camera duct taped to the end of a 6-foot wooden stick, Stephen McDaniel watched his victim, Lauren Giddings, on the evening he crept into her apartment and killed her. Both were students of the Mercer Law School in Macon, Georgia, but Lauren didn’t know that Stephen was obsessed with her, nor did she have any idea that obsession would lead to her violent death. Stephen McDaniel is the creepy neighbor that we all worry about. The one we’ve been told to avoid. The one we don’t make eye-contact with yet watch carefully from behind the closed window blinds. A story like this one sparks fear in all of us – you never know who might move into your neighborhood, and you certainly have no idea what they’re up to, or capable of, behind closed doors.
From the beginning, Stephen had been interested in Lauren. He had asked her out a couple times only to be rejected. She thought of him as the creepy next-door neighbor who rarely went outside. But of course, she had enough social grace to never outright say that to Stephen. Because he couldn’t have her, Stephen began to obsess over his neighbor. And that led to some secretive and troubling behavior in the apartment next door to Lauren’s.
Scott Benjamin, host
It’s difficult for me to explain why I killed Lauren and attempted to conceal my deed the way I did. … I know that it was very wrong; I am not delusional or without all morals or decency.
Stephen McDaniel, Killer
Payne Lindsey: The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are solely those of the authors and participants, and do not necessarily represent those of iHeartMedia, Stuff Media, or its employees. Listener discretion is advised.
From iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV, Monster presents, “Insomniac.”
Scott Benjamin: 00:26 I’d like to talk about a bad neighbor, and I’m not talking about just any ordinary bad neighbor, like somebody who allows their dog to bark both day and night or blocks your driveway with your car. No, I’m talking about a creepy, antisocial neighbor that turned out to be far worse than anyone ever expected. He was a predator and he selected the girl next door as his prey. As far as neighbors go, it doesn’t get much worse. A story like the one you’re about to hear sparks fear in all of us. You never know who might move in your neighborhood and you certainly have no idea what they’re up to or capable of behind closed doors. I’m Scott Benjamin and everything I’m about to tell you is real. This is Insomniac.
A killer was living among the students at Barrister’s Hall Apartments in Macon, Georgia. It was Thursday morning, June 30th, 2011, and it was garbage collection day. You make sure you get your trash to the curbside at the usual time and when the big truck rolls away after tossing your bags in the back, you’re relieved that you got rid of that week’s waste. At least, that’s what usually happens, but this particularly morning was a little different. Not only were the garbage men running a few minutes late, but just moments before the truck arrived, the bins were inadvertently blocked by a pair of Macon Georgia police cars that had pulled into the parking lot. The detectives were there to investigate a missing person’s report called in early that morning. Lauren Giddings, a 27-year-old recent graduate of Mercer Law School, hadn’t been by her friends or family since evening of June 25th, five days prior. The police weren’t intentionally blocking the trash bins. It was only by chance that they had parked where they did. When the garbage truck arrived moments later, the driver realized the containers were unreachable, so he simply smiled, waved at the detectives, and kept on driving to his next stop.
Moments later, the authorities knocked on the door of Stephen McDaniel, Lauren’s next door neighbor in the A unit apartment building. He was asked a few routine questions about his missing neighbor, then left alone as the police went about their work. It was several hours later, that same afternoon, when a very talkative Stephen McDaniel agreed to appear on the evening newscast during a curbside interview with a local television news station, WGXATV. Just a couple of minutes in, he was blindsided by the news. It changed his demeanor completely. He was visibly affected by the information the reporter was sharing with him. It was at that moment, that very public moment, that Stephen McDaniel knew he was in trouble, and thanks to the video crew there to document it, the entire city of Macon, Georgia knew it too.
Today’s episode is a little bit out of the ordinary in that we’re going to take a look at a killer who only claimed one victim. Now, that’s not in any way to downplay the fact that this person took a human life. However, I think you’ll find the way today’s case unfolds is just as interesting and horrific as any other case involving a serial killer. Some of the details are so unusual that the story almost seems like fiction, but it’s all real and it really did happen this way. Now, unless you’re from the southeastern part of the United States, or unless you happen to be really up on your true crime, there’s a good chance you’ve never even heard of this case. There’s really no mystery about who did the killing. There are no red herring suspects for us to introduce, no other leads to follow, and, in the end, there will be no doubt remaining that the real killer is paying the price.
You see, right from the beginning, it was evident that Stephen McDaniel was the primary person of interest in the murder of his neighbor, Lauren Giddings. You’ll understand why the detectives were almost immediately onto Stephen as we sort through the details. In fact, despite his best effort to pull off what he considered to be the perfect murder, Stephen McDaniel made it fairly easy for the detectives right from the beginning. He made several mistakes that he simply couldn’t hide and, like most other narcissistic killers who are captured, he quickly came to the crushing realization that he wasn’t necessarily smarter than everybody else, including his pursuers.
As we lay out the details of today’s case, I’d like you to keep this at the forefront of your thoughts. The authorities have a theory that Stephen McDaniel was a serial killer in the making, but because he wasn’t very good at it, they just happened to catch him after his first murder. Had they delayed in his capture, it’s likely there would have been more victims. As you listen to the rest of today’s episode, take note of some of Stephen’s peculiar behaviors and ask yourself if you agree. We’ll start in a town that sits about 84 miles southeast of Atlanta, one that goes by the nickname, “The Heart of Georgia,” the city of Macon.
Among the newest graduates of Mercer Law School in May of 2011 were two students that knew of each other, yet, as it turns out, didn’t know each other very well. For about three years the two lived right next door to one another. They even shared a common stairway to their second floor residences at the Barrister’s Hall Apartment Complex, right across the street from the college campus. Other than that, the two had nothing more in common. Lauren Teresa Giddings was a 27-year-old, blonde-haired native of Laurel, Maryland. She was known by her classmates, friends, and family as athletic, cheerful, outgoing, and social. She had ambitions of putting her law degree to good use in her new career as a lawyer in the nearby city of Atlanta. After her graduation, all that remained in her way was the Georgia Bar Exam. Her plans, like many other graduating students in her class, were to stay in Macon in order to study for the bar exam throughout the months of May and June. Lauren had a steady boyfriend, a corporate lawyer in Atlanta named David VandeVere. He and Lauren had been together since 2007 when Lauren accepted an internship as a project assistant at the law office where David worked in downtown Atlanta. Lauren never knew it, but David was planning to propose to her after graduation on a surprise trip to Bermuda later that fall.
In stark contrast to Lauren’s character was her next-door neighbor, Stephen Mark McDaniel. He was 25 years old and nothing like his friendly, sociable neighbor, Lauren. Stephen grew up in the town of Lilburn, Georgia, a northeast suburb of the city of Atlanta. He was known on campus as a sort of odd character. He was generally antisocial, withdrawn, and more than a little eccentric in his behavior and interactions with others. He was quirky, but according to those who knew him, he was also very smart. Stephen’s second-floor apartment was a place of retreat for him, somewhere he could go to be alone. He was essentially a 25-year-old recluse, staying inside most of the time with his video games, his pornography, his guns, and his swords. Stephen was a prepper, collecting food and supplies in the way a survivalist might. He also collected empty containers for some reason, soda bottles, large plastic jugs, and even the cardboard centers of toilet paper rolls. He owned an older car, one that he rarely used, a 1997 Geo Prism. It was driven so infrequently that cobwebs would form between the wheels and the ground.
From the beginning, Stephen had been interested in Lauren, but it was a one-way street. He had asked her out at least a couple of times, only to be rejected on all occasions. After all, she did have a boyfriend, but even if she wasn’t in a relationship, Lauren would not have accepted Stephen’s advances. She thought of him as the creepy next-door neighbor who rarely went outside, but of course, she had enough social grace to never outright say that to Stephen. We should also note that Lauren was never known to be afraid of Stephen McDaniel, at least she never mentioned to anyone that she was frightened by her strange neighbor. What she didn’t know, however, definitely would have scared her. Because he couldn’t have her, Stephen began to obsess over his neighbor and that led to some secretive and troubling behavior in the apartment next door to Lauren’s.
Early in the case, detectives were given access to Stephen’s Internet browsing history and it revealed some disturbing patterns. On April 28th, 2011, about two months before he killed Lauren, Stephen typed the Google search phrase, “Nude Lauren Giddings.” He also viewed Lauren’s Twitter feed. Later he did several back-to-back searches using variations of the word “Molest sleeping girl.” The very next day, he searched for the phrase, “Choked unconscious, how long wake up.” Going back as far as May first he searched for ways to escape prison. Throughout the months of May and June, his Internet browsing history showed a growing obsession with Lauren Giddings. Within the same timeframe, he visited sites to search for nude photos of celebrities, advertisements for local escorts, dating sites, reading erotic fiction, and viewing pornography. Using the screen name SOL, which he stated stands for Son of Liberty, he wrote graphic sexual posts online describing torture and violence towards women. He looked at guns and sex toys as well.
By June 3rd, 2011, he was looking at Lauren’s Amazon.com wishlist. On June 7th, 2011, he was on a photo sharing website looking for Lauren Gidding’s account. The next day, June 8th, 2011, McDaniel looked at Lauren’s LinkedIn networking page and looked at her Facebook page as well. None of these searches are illegal, of course, but they paint an increasingly dark image of Stephen McDaniel’s character in the months prior to Lauren’s murder.
Lauren Giddings and Stephen McDaniel. The two didn’t know it yet, but they were about to make headlines, not because they were young, superstar lawyers, as they had both hoped to soon be, but because of the awful situation that was to unfold in late June, 2011.
A little more than one month after graduation, Lauren spent her final afternoon poolside at Healy Point Country Club in River North, and then around 5:48 P.M. she used her credit card to buy dinner at a Zaxby’s drive-through on her way home. Her outstretched arm was captured on video as she reached for her order from the drive-through window. That was the last outside contact anyone had with Lauren before she was attacked and murdered in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 26th, 2011. No one, with the exception of her killer, would know where Lauren was for the next five days.
You might wonder how a socially connected person like Lauren might go unmissed for nearly a week. Well, her friends and family knew that she was preparing for the Georgia Bar Exam and gave her the privacy she would need to study for her test. Everyone close to her would have understood why she was secluded in her apartment, locked away and temporarily unreachable. They didn’t want to disturb her.
On the afternoon of June 25th, the evening before Stephen McDaniel snuck into Lauren’s apartment to kill her, he looked at her Facebook page once again. Then, just before her murder, in the early morning hours of June 26, he searched multiple times for ways to defeat the door-jamming burglar bar that Lauren Giddings used to keep out intruders. But how did Stephen know what was behind her closed door inside her apartment?
The past several years have been difficult to get through. I lost my aunt in 2012, then my grandmother died in 2014, my grandfather in 2015, and then my own mother in 2017. Along the way, I also lost my first dog. He had been with us for 16 years. I loved him dearly. We also lost a bird that was with us for almost 14 years. The family pets, well, I’m sure that most of you can relate to that. They become another member of the family and you’re just as sad to see them go as anyone else. It was sometime during the middle of all of this that I started having trouble sleeping. I thought I was mentally prepared, as much as possible anyway, to let those people in my life go. The death of someone very old or someone with a fatal diagnosis should be expected sooner or later, but that doesn’t make it any easier and I never thought their deaths would affect me quite as much as they have over the past several years.
The pain is fading, but not fast enough. All of these people, my aunt, my grandparents, and my mother, still occupy my thoughts most days and sometimes they’re in my dreams, both good and bad. I’m telling you this because it’s not just working on this podcast that’s been the cause of my nightmares. It’s also been these events of my personal life, but being able to put it all out there, as bad as it is, is helping me find my way out.
Just before Stephen McDaniel’s case was to go to trial, it was discovered that, a few hours before he killed Lauren Giddings, between 9:00 PM and 12:30 AM, Stephen McDaniel was sneaking around outside of Lauren’s second-story living room window. He was watching Lauren. He was looking through her blinds by using a video camera duct taped to the end of a six foot wooden stick as he stood at ground level. As he scanned the inside of Lauren’s apartment with the camera, he paid particular attention to her front door and how it was secured with a burglar bar. He was looking for a way to defeat the device that stretched from the floor to the doorknob. The video clips showing the inside of Lauren’s apartment were deleted from Stephen’s camera in the days that followed her death, but the erased files were recovered years later by the FBI as the evidence continued to grow against him and he was headed to trial.
Things were looking bad for Stephen, real bad. Not only did the prosecutors now have the deleted stalking videos, they also had child pornography images that had been stored on Stephen’s computer, adding 30 counts of sexual exploitation of children to the charges against him. These were unrelated to the murder, but he was now looking at additional prison time, five to 20 years for each of the 30 charges.
On June 30th, 2011, a nearly unbelievable series of events took place throughout the day, along with Stephen’s unexpected and shocking confession late in the day. You’ll get to hear from Stephen McDaniel himself as he’s interviewed just outside of his apartment the moment he learns a body was discovered, next time on Insomniac.
Speaker 3: 18:11 Insomniac is a production of iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV, written and hosted by Scott Benjamin and produced by Miranda Hawkins, Alex Williams, Matt Friedrich, and Josh Thane. Music composed by Makeup and Vanity set and cover art by Trevor [Iler 00:18:38]. Follow on Twitter and Facebook at Insomniac Pod, on Instagram at Insomniacpodcast and at our website, insomniacpodcast.com. For more podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.
Payne Lindsey: The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are solely those of the authors and participants and do not necessarily represent those of iHeart media, Stuff Media or its employees. Listener discretion is advised. From Iheartradio and Tenderfoot TV, Monster presents INSOMNIAC.
Scott : 00:25 I’m Scott Benjamin and everything I’m about to tell you is real.
Every time someone in my life dies, I feel like I always want to know exactly what’s going on with their dead body. I’m always curious as to what stage of the process they’re in as far as getting ready for their funeral. I wonder about the little details too. The various steps of body transportation. The vehicles used by the corner and the funeral home. The facilities the body is stored in how they clean and embalm. How they dress the deceased for the funeral. The person’s hair and makeup. All of the steps along the way.
I know it’s strange yet I can’t seem to get through a funeral without wondering all of these things. The deceased person occupies my thoughts in this way for weeks afterwards too, if not months. It’s something I’ve been obsessed with for many years. Maybe as long as 20 and I can’t seem to stop. I know that dying is something we all face at some point in our lives, some sooner than others, but I want to know the details now ahead of time. Not that it will matter so much when I’m actually gone. It’s a person’s final appearance before they’re put into the ground forever.
This is Insomniac.
It was Thursday, June 30th, 2011 around 9:00 AM, Macon police detectives that just pulled their cars into the parking lot of the Barristers Hall apartments inadvertently blocking the rollaway garbage bins as they did so they were there to follow up on a missing persons report. As he made his way from apartment to apartment, Detective Scott Chapman eventually knocked on Stephen McDaniel’s door and the two spoke about his missing neighbor. A short time later lead detective David Patterson also interviewed McDaniel in his squad car. After Stephen was back in his own apartment, the detectives made a grim discovery. Around 9:40 AM a torso soon to be identified as Lauren’s torso, was found in one of the rollaway trash cans next to the apartment building. A short time later, Stephen McDaniel, still unaware of the discovery of Lauren’s remains was driven to the Macon police department’s detective bureau, where he gave a recorded statement to detective Patterson.
When Stephen was asked for consent to search his apartment, along with the other tenants of the eight unit apartment building, Stephen declined. He made an excuse that he had several firearms in his apartment and he didn’t want anyone near them. As they spoke to Stephen, suspicion continued to grow in the minds of the detectives and his entire afternoon was filled with interviews. The police continued to pressure Stephen to allow them into his apartment for a search and even told him that everybody else who lived in the building except for him had given consent to search.
Eventually, Stephen gave into the pressure and allowed detective Patterson to look in his apartment to search for the missing woman. At that point in the interview, Detective Patterson asked Stephen to stand up and lift his shirt to check for any marks he might have on his body. There were two red scratches on the right side of his abdomen, scratches that Stephen couldn’t account for. He didn’t know where or when he received the scratches, but Patterson mentioned that the marks looked like fingernail marks. The scratches were photographed and then they departed the police station headed, to Stephen’s apartment for a walkthrough.
It was now mid-afternoon on June 30th, about 1:30 PM and McDaniel was still unaware that the torso had been discovered. He assumed the trash had been removed earlier that morning before the detectives had arrived. Back at Stephen’s department, Detective Patterson and an investigator from the district attorney’s office conducted a Walkthrough to supposedly look for Lauren, although they were already fairly certain that it was her torso they had found earlier that morning.
They noted that Stephen owned a Samurai sword, several large knives, a semiautomatic rifle, and a pair of handguns. There was also a large cooler near the front door. Until now, Stephen was allowed to stay while they searched his apartment, but at some point Stephen was asked to leave to allow them some room to conduct their business. That’s when, as Stephen headed toward the Mercer law school campus on the other side of the street, a local news crew waved him over leading to one of the most bizarre news interviews you’ll ever see.
It was around 2:00 PM on the afternoon of June 30th, 2011 when McDaniel told Michelle Casada, a reporter with Macon’s FOX affiliate, WGXA-TV, that he would do an interview. As the interview began, Stephen was still unaware that more than four hours earlier, Lauren Giddings’ torso was discovered in a trashcan beside his apartment building.
On camera. McDaniel looks more than a little bit disheveled. Crazy-eyed and his hair a mess, presumably because his friend Lauren Giddings was missing, but he was able to keep it together fairly well for the first part of the interview. His concern for her well being was all an act of course. However, he was about to be slapped in the face by the reality of the situation as the reporter presented McDaniel with some new information. This was the first time he was aware that a body had been discovered on the property.
Of course, Stephen knew Lauren’s torso was there all along. That’s where he left it two days earlier, but he had no idea that the body had been found. What unfolded within that brief interview would be remembered and scrutinized by everyone who saw it on television that evening, including the detectives that were now on the case. His strange on-air performance combined with the rest of his theatrics on display throughout the day, made Stephen an immediate person of interest in the case.
As we play the audio for you, you’ll hear when Stephen goes silent, then appears to go into shock as he absorbs the news and the new reality of the situation. Here’s that interview.
Stephen: 07:31 No. No, no one has seen her since Saturday. I haven’t seen anything. I always hear noise outside, but there’s people walking by pretty much.
Michelle: 07:45 And she just recently graduated from Mercer?
Stephen: 07:45 Yeah. She and I, we were both JD students. We graduated back in May.
Michelle: 07:52 What kind of person was she? I mean what did you speak about?
Stephen: 07:54 I mean, she’s as nice as can be. Very personable, very much a people person.
Michelle: 07:59 Do you know any enemies she might have had? Somebody that might want to hurt her?
Stephen: 08:03 No, we don’t know where she is. The only thing we can think is that maybe she went out running and someone snatched her. Because we went over, one of her friends had a key, we went inside and tried to see if there was anything amiss, but she had a door jamb that was sitting right by it. So there was no sign that anyone broke in. The door was locked when everyone got here. We just don’t know where she is.
Michelle: 08:34 What about in the parking lot area? I know they’ve been doing a lot of… I think that’s where they recovered the body or whatever they recovered from there.
Stephen: 08:42 Body?
Michelle: 08:43 Had you seen anything there? Had you seen anything there? I mean we don’t know if this is the same person, you know what I mean? They took out a body there earlier. We don’t know if it’s the same person or not. That’s why we’re trying to ask people if they know who lived there. Are you okay sir?
Stephen: 09:02 I think I need to sit down.
Michelle: 09:02 Okay.
Scott : 09:12 Remarkably, Stephen returns to the interview just a few minutes later with some of the worst acting you’ve ever seen as he attempts to pretend to be upset that Lauren might be dead. Again, it’s all an act.
Stephen: 09:27 Why would anyone do this?
Michelle: 09:31 Is there anything?
Stephen: 09:33 No.
Michelle: 09:33 Did you see anybody?
Stephen: 09:37 Yeah, I just heard something. Maybe I could have helped.
Michelle: 09:39 Okay. Don’t worry. Do you want to sit down for a second? Are you holding out any hope right now?
Stephen: 09:56 I hope, but if they found it on the property somewhere.
Michelle: 10:10 You hadn’t heard anything about a body until you were talking to us earlier?
Stephen: 10:10 No. As far as any of us knew, they were still trying to just find her. We got an email this morning from some people that live on the other side of Kroger on the other side of the river that they had seen her in the past running in that area. We thought maybe someone had snatched her over there or maybe she got hurt or something.
Scott : 10:37 After looking through Stephen’s apartment in the afternoon and his unusual behavior on local television that evening, the detectives wanted Stephen brought in once again for questioning on the night of June 30th. He was interrogated throughout the evening until the early hours of the next day, July 1st. Surprisingly, especially from a recent criminal law graduate, there was no request from Stephen to have a lawyer present during his interrogation. Also, there was no confession or no admission of guilt, but the police already had more than a strong suspicion that he was the one.
Throughout the two hour interrogation. Stephen is the opposite of how he acted in front of the television camera earlier that day. Most of his answers are one word.
Stephen: 11:27 Yes. No.
Scott : 11:28 And occasionally an-
Stephen: 11:29 I don’t know.
Scott : 11:30 -is added to the mix. All delivered in a monotone robotic manner. Nothing at all like the talkative character they had encountered earlier in the day. The police did however, catch one break. During his interrogation, Stephen admitted to stealing condoms from two other apartments in the complex. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to hold him. He was placed under arrest for two counts of burglary and held in the Bibb County jail.
After receiving a search warrant for McDaniel’s apartment, the authorities were able to collect Stephen’s various knives and guns, but also a few other key pieces of evidence. A master key to the entire apartment complex and another key specifically for Giddings’ apartment. A stolen flash drive that belonged to Giddings, one that contain hundreds of her personal photos, a pair of panties with Giddings’ DNA found in McDaniel’s bedroom sock drawer. A large bloody sheet in a washing machine in the apartment complex’s laundry room and a hacksaw with human flesh attached, which was found in a locked storage closet in the laundry room. Blood on the saw was tested and it matched Giddings’ DNA. Packaging for the hacksaw was also found in McDaniel’s apartment.
By August 2nd, 2011, the police had discovered enough evidence to charge Stephen McDaniel with the murder of Lauren Giddings. He would remain behind bars for three years waiting for his trial. The prosecution was going for the death penalty, but that’s when the computer and camera evidence was found by the FBI, the deleted stalking videos and the child porn. They were in late discovery. It was these stock and videos and sexual photos of minors combined with the other physical and circumstantial evidence against him that would force McDaniel, three years after the fact, to make the decision to plead guilty to the murder of Lauren Giddings and accept a sentence of life in prison.
A death penalty case can typically take between five to seven years to go to trial, but the district attorney’s office was willing to withdraw its requests for the death penalty for faster closure because the trial could have dragged on for months. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors also agreed to drop the charges of sexual exploitation of children and the burglary charges against Stephen. Those were filed as a result of the investigation, but unrelated to the murder anyway. In return, they got exactly what they wanted. Stephen would be in prison for the rest of his life and in order to remain out of court, he had to hand write a confession detailing the last hours of Lauren Giddings’ life, and exactly how we disposed of her remains.
In April of 2014, Stephen wrote a one page confession describing Lauren’s final evening alive, and how he later dismembered and disposed of her body. At 4:30 AM on Sunday, June 26th, 2011, Stephen entered Lauren’s apartment using his master key and he soundlessly defeated the burglar bar that she had propped against her door. He watched her sleep. As he approached the bed, a floorboard creaked, and Lauren sat up, alarmed. She saw the masked intruder and calmly said, get the … out.
In his own words. McDaniel said, “I leaped across the bed onto her and grabbed her around the throat. We tumbled out of bed onto the floor and in her struggle to get away, she moved her legs and lower body under the bed, preventing her from getting away or kicking me.”
The two continued to fight and Lauren was eventually able to remove the mask from her attacker’s face and she recognized him immediately. “Stephen,” she said, “please stop,” but he didn’t stop. He continued to choke her until she stopped moving, which he guessed was about 15 minutes later. He then dragged her into the bathroom and left her body in the bathtub. After that, Stephen went back to his own apartment and spent most of the afternoon on his computer.
That evening he returned to her apartment with a hacksaw and began to dismember her body in the bathtub. Her head, arms, and legs were removed, wrapped separately in several black trash bags and then thrown into Mercer Law School dumpster. The mask that Stephen had worn during the attack as well as his gloves and shirt were cut up and flushed down the toilet. Just before dawn on Tuesday, June 28th, Stephen returned to Lauren’s apartment to wrap her torso in five black plastic garbage bags and then dump it in a trash bin just outside of their apartment building.
He attended a bar exam preparation class that same day and the next day too. Then on the night of Wednesday, June 29th, Stephen joined a group of Lauren’s friends and classmates in search for the missing woman, knowing full well that he’d killed her. But he later said he was in a dreamlike, delusional state where he believed Giddings was not dead. Then on Thursday, June 30th, Stephen Search for ways to erase his browsing history, just a short time before Lauren’s torso was discovered by the Macon detectives, yards away from his front door. Her head, arms, and legs were never found.
Stephen McDaniel was convicted on April 21st, 2014, nearly three years after the murder of Lauren Giddings. He was housed at the prison in Bucks County, Georgia, which is the state’s diagnostic and classification center for new inmates until December 30th, 2016, when he was transferred to Valdosta State Prison in southern Georgia, and that’s where he is today.
The earliest Stephen will be eligible to request parole is in the year 2041. He’ll be 56 years old, but given the calculated and brutal nature of his crime, he’s unlikely to ever be released.
In a rural South Carolina prison in 1982, a convicted killer orchestrated a crime that would earn him the nickname, The Meanest Man in America. That’s not an easy title to achieve, but he deserved it. The details of his life will show you that he was rotten to the core from the time he was just a kid and he only got worse as he grew older. Next time on Insomniac.
Announcer 2: 19:20 Insomniac is a production of iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV, written and hosted by Scott Benjamin and produced by Miranda Hawkins, Alex Williams, Matt Frederick and Josh Thane. Music composed by Makeup and Vanity Set and cover art by Trevor Eiler. Follow on Twitter and Facebook at insomniacpod, on Instagram @insomniacpodcast and on our website, insomniacpodcast.com. For more podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the iHeartRadio app, apple podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.