Wrongful Death Suit in Gruesome Murder Case

The family of Lauren Giddings wants answers about her death. As Atlanta wrongful death attorneys, we deal with cases that have had a criminal trial as well, and Lauren’s family has decided to file a wrongful death lawsuit even while the trial of Lauren’s suspected murderer is still pending in criminal court.


The story of Lauren’s death is shockingly gruesome and brutal. Lauren was 27 years old and had just earned her law degree from Mercer University and was studying for the bar exam to become a lawyer. But on June 30, 2011, Lauren’s dismembered torso was found in a trash can outside her Macon apartment building on Georgia Avenue. The man suspected of this horrendous crime is Stephen McDaniel, a classmate of Lauren’s who also graduated from Mercer law school in 2011 and lived in the same apartment building. McDaniel was arrested and charged with felony murder among other things and is set to start his criminal trial in Bibb County Superior Court in January 2014. He is being held with bail set at $850,000.

But the Giddings family also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against McDaniel, alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress and interference with the right of burial as well. The lawsuit alleges that McDaniel had master keys to the apartments in the building, stole some items from Lauren’s apartment, and used an empty apartment in the building to store her torso. It also alleges that McDaniel talked about a “perfect murder” to a roommate in 2007, which included dismembering the body and scattering body parts through a wooded area. The Giddings family also alleges McDaniel bought ingredients to make chloroform and a hack saw, that he visited his grandfather’s farm to look for places to scatter the body parts, and that he tampered with evidence by painting over bloodstains on the walls in Lauren’s apartment. McDaniel has denied all of these allegations and says he had nothing to do with Lauren’s murder. He has demanded a jury trial in this wrongful death lawsuit.

The Giddings family is asking for $5 million in this case, money that McDaniel says he does not have. But the family is dedicated to any action that may help get justice for Lauren. They also want answers that have so far not been forthcoming, and are trying to get the court to order a search of McDaniel’s grandfather’s property in Pike County where they suspect the rest of Lauren’s body may be found. Investigators never had cadaver dogs search the property. Lauren’s sister, Kaitlyn Wheeler, said of the wrongful death suit, “In addition to an opportunity to get answers, a civil judgment against McDaniel will ensure he never profits from what he did to my sister.”

Atlanta Wrongful Death Attorneys

If your family has suffered a wrongful death, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter can help you understand your legal options and explain how to proceed with your case. There are many avenues to try to achieve justice, including a civil lawsuit. Contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.

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