GoFundMe page set up by the father of a confessed killer as a 'fundraising campaign' is taken down after uproar
Stephen McDaniel was sentenced to life behind bars for murdering and dismembering his next-door neighbor, Lauren Giddings
Mark McDaniel, the father of confessed killer Stephen McDaniel had launched a GoFundMe campaign to seek out "justice" for his son in the form of an appeal. The page, which was set up on July 12 with a goal of $5,000 was taken down on Wednesday night, even before the family could raise money to fund the legal expenses.
The description of the campaign read: "Stephen has been separated from his family for the past 7 years. He lost three grandparents and was deprived [of] the privilege of seeing and being a part of his brother and sisters’ lives." Stephen has been in prison since his arrest in 2011 in Georgia. The description continued: "All monetary support will be used for his benefit and will be greatly appreciated by both Stephen and his family."
Family members of the victim, Lauren Giddings, who was brutally killed and dismembered by Stephen, have called the accused's family's attempt to seek justice through the fundraising campaign as "ridiculous."
Kaitlyn Wheeler, Giddings' sister, told the Macon Telegraph in an interview that the campaign is, "Pathetic and delusional would be other choice words."
Stephen McDaniel was sentenced to life behind bars for murdering and dismembering his next-door neighbor - Lauren Giddings - in their college dorm. Both, the victim and the accused were students at the Mercer University law school and attended law classes together.
The day before his trial in 2014, Stephen confessed that he strangled Giddings before proceeding to dismember her body. He then dumped all the pieces into the garbage cans nearby. Stephen further revealed that he was he was obsessed with the woman (Giddings) and had reportedly looked for nude photos of her online on multiple occasions.
It was also reported that the accused often looked up for ways to "molest sleeping girls," on Google. The two of them had lived next door to each other in Macon.
His confession was recorded on June 26, 2011, and was sentenced to life behind bars without the possibility of parole.
Only four days after the young woman was reported as missing by her family, the murderer was interviewed by a local news station. When he was asked about her possible whereabouts, he told the channel: "No one has seen her since Saturday. I haven’t seen anything." When he was asked what type of person Giddings was, he replied: "She’s as nice as can be. Very personable, very much a people person."
When the reporter tried to further question him about Giddings enemies, Stephen mumbled and said: "No…uhhh, we don’t know where she is. The only thing we can think is maybe she went out running, and someone snatched her." The reporter finally asked the murderer about the discovery of her remains "in the parking lot area," and this made him break down on camera saying: "I think I need to sit down."
According to reports from the time of the murder, McDaniel was already named as a person of interest by the authorities. He will be appearing in court in August 2018 at the hearing for his appeal request.
His father wrote in the description of the now-defunct GoFundMe page: "The purpose of [the GoFundMe page] is to gather funds for legal expenses for [McDaniel] who seeks justice through a habeas corpus hearing in August. [The hearing] will determine whether he will be reunited with his family, will be granted a new trial, or will be denied his day in court."