A behavioral analyst with the FBI wrote a report describing what he believes happened in the 2011 murder of Mercer Law graduate Lauren Giddings. The agent, Robert J. Morton, who did not investigate the case, says his report was based on his knowledge of the crime, reports from investigators, and his experience handling murder cases.
Morton's report says Giddings was murdered because of a sexual motive. He says her killer was the same person who went into her apartment without permission two nights before she went missing. He says a few days later, that person either tricked Giddings into opening the door of her apartment or used a key to get in, then took her out of her apartment to a second location. Morton also says the killer must have dismembered Giddings near the trash bin where her torso was found.
Lawyers for Stephen McDaniel, Giddings' classmate and neighbor charged with her murder, say Morton's report should not be allowed in the trial, because it only offers his opinions rather than evidence. They filed a motion Friday morning asking Superior Court Judge Howard Simms to dismiss the report. Both sides will argue the motion in a hearing Monday.
13WMAZ reached out to David Faigman, a Distinguished Professor of Law at Hastings College of the Law in California. After reading the FBI report, Faigman says, "They are wild speculations, based ostensibly on his years of experience in the field. There are no empirical premises offered, no empirical research cited. His Report merely offers conclusions that, conveniently, track the prosecutor's theory of the case. If I were teaching a class on 'junk science' in the courtroom, this would be Exhibit A."
Faigman says it's not common for prosecutors to use a report like this as part of their case, and even less common that a judge will allow it in court.
Judge Simms is expected to rule on this as well as three other motions recently filed by the defense in Monday's hearing. The trial is scheduled for Feb. 3.