MACON, Ga. (AP) — Authorities in Macon say a hacksaw has been recovered at the apartment complex where a recent Mercer University law school graduate was found slain and dismembered and where both she and the classmate accused of killing her lived.


Stephen Mark McDaniel is charged with murder in the death of Lauren Giddings, a 27-year-old from Laurel, Md., who was last seen June 25. Five days later, police discovered her torso wrapped in plastic in a garbage bin near the building. Authorities are still searching for other remains.


The arrest warrant served on McDaniel, 25, Tuesday says investigators found the saw’s packaging inside McDaniel’s apartment, The Telegraph reported.

McDaniel, of Lilburn, Ga., appeared in court Wednesday. His attorney, Floyd Buford, requested a commitment hearing, which was scheduled for Aug. 17.


Buford said he spoke with McDaniel about the murder charge before the hearing.


“He is adamant that he is innocent of these charges,” Buford told The Telegraph. “He is disappointed the charges have been placed on him.”


McDaniel and Giddings both graduated from Mercer’s Walter F. George School of Law in May.


Charges against McDaniel, who has been in jail since July 1 on unrelated burglary allegations, were upgraded Tuesday night.


Authorities say they believe he killed Giddings, cut her body apart and hid her remains.


Macon Police Chief Mike Burns said Wednesday his department has gathered more than 200 pieces of evidence, conducted dozens of interviews and is confident about the case, but he would not talk about a motive.


“I think we know a lot and can prove a lot,” said the victim’s father, Bill Giddings.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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