In their first semester of law school, Lauren Giddings and Stephen McDaniel sat on different sides of the room where, for four hours a week, they learned the ins and outs of contract law.
SLIDESHOW: Stephen McDaniel August 3rd Hearing
Mercer law professor David Oedel, who taught Giddings and McDaniel in that section, describes the course as work intensive. He says it was a small class, about 25 students, and it delivered the kind of experience that forges bonds that last beyond that first semester.
"People get to know each other quite well," Oedel said.
He says both Giddings and McDaniel were engaged in class discussion. He doesn't know if Giddings and McDaniel were friends.
The night of Saturday, July 9, students in that freshman-year contract section assembled at Mercer Law School. They had just come from the memorial mass held in Giddings' honor at St. Joseph Catholic Church.
"We reminisced about Lauren," Oedel said. Some of her family members, an aunt and a cousin, he said, sat with the former students and shared memories.
McDaniel was missing from that gathering of fellow classmates. He was being held in the Bibb County Jail, on two charges of burglary. Macon Police had named him a "person of interest" in their investigation.
"He was liked by the other classmates," Oedel said of McDaniel's time as a student in his course.
McDaniel's appearance, he says, has changed since his first semester in law school. "He looked like a normal law student," Oedel said.
Oedel says he hopes the murder charge against his former student encourages him to help Giddings' family find the rest of her remains.
"Assuming it's true, I wish he'd fess up," Oedel said, "and relieve the family of their concerns of where her body parts are."