Macon murder suspect a mystery himself

Sunday, Aug 7, 2011 8:14 AM
Last updated 3:13 PM
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MACON, Ga. -- He was the guy with the corkscrewy, grizzly-bear-colored mane. With the tired blue eyes of a bookworm who had just pulled back-to-back all-nighters. And perhaps he had. Seven years of college had come and gone, and still there was studying to do.

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Stephen McDaniel  Macon Telegraph
Macon Telegraph
Stephen McDaniel

Then, suddenly, there was not. There was ... a nightmare.

Stephen McDaniel was whisked into it.

His is the plight of a person catapulted to the fore of a high-profile crime.

It was a crime, the police would tell anyone who asked, that had not leapt forth from the script of some prime-time drama. DNA swabs and electron microscopes would not be joining forces and, inside of an hour, be serving up the killer in a petri dish.

This was not, the cops would say, a television show.

But that is very much what it would become: a soap opera of the most wrenching order. A true story.

It would play out on Internet message boards, in newspapers and on websites. And on TV newscasts and, no doubt most painfully, in the lives of two families -- the dead woman’s and that of the guy with the unforgettably frizzy hair -- where it was no soap opera at all, but rather, reality.

And it would unfold before the masses. More than a few of whom would thank the good Lord that it wasn’t them or their kin. Or, most crushing of all, their daughter who had been violated in a way that defies explanation.

“If you think about it,” the slain woman’s father would say, “it’s about as bad as it gets. ... It’s just so off the scale ... just so hard to believe.”

For the unexplained to assert itself, to truly grab hold, it requires an audience. As it happened, the guy and his cornucopia of curls -- well, a young man a couple of months shy of 26th birthday -- found one.

In one of those rare moments when the news crews stumble upon sound bite gold, TV is exactly where the eventual prime target of a murder case would vault into local living rooms and, later, via cable news outlets and Web video and old-fashioned newsprint, become a curiosity on his way to becoming a suspect.

He was a law school graduate weeks from testing his mettle, taking the bar exam, the next step in perhaps someday fulfilling his mother’s highest hopes.

Then, in a stroke of newsworthy fate, to put it in the legalese that this young man was no doubt versed, here came before the court of public opinion a young man a month and a half out of law school.

His was the face of a boy’s, enshrouded in a bird’s nest of frizz. He looked tired. He broke down while a camera rolled.

Was his on-video performance an act? The desperation of an exposed villain coming unhinged?

Or was his despair a gush of genuine concern and fright and disbelief all spilling out because his neighbor was missing and, very possibly, dead?

Here, too, had come the police, and then the reporters, and then here came the miserable news. The gone-missing person he knew might now, instead of missing, be dead.

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fred1
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fred1 08/07/11 - 11:05 am
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The terrible, convoluted

The terrible, convoluted writing makes me go somewhere else to read this story.

sgmret
4035
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sgmret 08/07/11 - 11:29 am
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What is he writing a novel?

What is he writing a novel?

716
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Barry Paschal 08/07/11 - 01:13 pm
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If you can get past the

If you can get past the initial overbaked writing style, it's well worth reading. The gist of it is that a news crew, trolling for man-on-the street reaction to the woman's murder, interviewed McDaniel - who later was arrested. The rest of the narrative tries to find out who he is. Very strange.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 08/07/11 - 03:24 pm
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Although there are some

Although there are some unsolved, law school student murders from there to Athens, this suspect admitted to burglarizing 2 apts a year ago yet was never charged until this. . They still haven't found all of his fellow students body parts but they did find a pass key to her apt & others in his room. By nipping his burglary crime in the bud we may have been able to have saved his fellow student, but by giving him a pass...

142
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Dan White 08/07/11 - 04:22 pm
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Some of the worst writing

Some of the worst writing I've seen by a newspaper reporter. It reads like something out of a late 19th century newspaper.

AutumnLeaves
7664
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AutumnLeaves 08/07/11 - 06:41 pm
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Choppy sentence construction.

Choppy sentence construction. Awkward to read. So I didn't bother to finish the article. I'm sure someone else will write a story about it.

Ushouldnthave
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Ushouldnthave 08/07/11 - 06:46 pm
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Pulp fact?

Pulp fact?

AutumnLeaves
7664
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AutumnLeaves 08/09/11 - 05:24 pm
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LOL Ushouldnthave!

LOL Ushouldnthave!

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