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Arraignment delayed in Macon law student slaying case

MACON, Ga. (AP) -- The Tuesday arraignment of a suspect in the slaying and dismemberment of 27-year-old Lauren Giddings has been postponed.

The Telegraph of Macon reports that Bibb County Superior Court Judge S. Phillip Brown is making preparations for heart surgery, meaning he will be off the bench for several weeks.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against 26-year-old Stephen McDaniel, originally of Lilburn. He's accused of killing Giddings, who was last seen on June 25. Five days later, police discovered her torso wrapped in plastic in a garbage bin beside her apartment building.

Giddings, from Laurel, Md., moved to Georgia to study law at Mercer University. She and McDaniel had been classmates at the college's law school.

Stephen McDaniel, the 26-year-old man accused in the slaying and dismemberment of 27-year-old Lauren Giddings. That hearing has now been postponed.

Prosecutors are asking a judge to consider whether the murder case against a man charged with killing a Mercer University law school graduate was assigned to the right judge.

In a court filing this week, Bibb County prosecutors wrote that they have "concerns that the order for assignment of cases has not been properly followed."

Franklin Hogue, one of Stephen McDaniel's attorneys, tells The Telegraph of Macon that he hadn't seen the motion and reserved comment until he can review it.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against McDaniel. He's accused of killing Lauren Giddings, who was last seen on June 25. Five days later, police discovered her torso wrapped in plastic in a garbage bin beside her apartment building.

The 27-year-old Giddings was from Laurel, Md.