A Bibb County judge has approved $850,000 bond for murder suspect Stephen McDaniel, but also raised concerns about whether he could be monitored safely.
Bibb County Superior Court Judge Philip Brown issued an order Wednesday approving the defense lawyers' bond request.
He also set five conditions, including ordering that McDaniel can not be alone around children and must not use computers or cell phones, except to contact his parents and lawyers.
However, Brown's order also raised concerns about whether McDaniel could be adequately monitored if released to his parents' house in Lilburn. That's 100 miles from Macon.
The order says he will not be released until his lawyers prove they can satisfy state law that suspects may not be released if they pose any threat to any others in the community.
The judge wrote that "the court remains troubled" that there was no system in place for ensuring that McDaniel obeys the conditions of his bond.
Brown wrote, "The court must review and must approve any proposed monitoring plan before the court will authorize defendant's physical release on bail."
Brown notes that McDaniel's parents frequently work outside the home and that minor children live in the same house.
"As a result, the court questions whether there is any way to adequately monitor that defendant does not have any unsupervised interactions with minor children..." Brown wrote.
The charges against McDaniel include 30 counts of child endangerment, for allegedly possessing child pornography.
McDaniel is accused of murdering and dismembering his fellow Mercer Law School graduate Lauren Giddings last June.
At a bond hearing last week, the defense asked for bond of no more than $100,000.
His lawyers said McDaniel was entitled to bond because it took more than 90 days to get an indictment after his arrest.
Bibb County District Attorney Greg Winters last week asked Brown to set bond at $2.5 million.
Brown's order says McDaniel can not be released until his lawyers present a plan to show how he can be monitored at his parents' home.
He also set these five conditions:
1) McDaniel should wear an ankle monitor at all times. The monitor shall be supervised by some person or agency chosen by the Bibb County Sheriff's Office.
2) He must stay at his parents' Lilburn home, except to travel to court or meet with his lawyers.
3) He cannot be alone with minor children "under any circumstances."
4) He cannot use or possess any electronic communication device, such as computers or cell phones, except to contact his parents or lawyers.
5) He cannot use or possess any weapons.
Franklin Hogue, a member of his defense team, said he had not seen the order and could not comment. DA Winters could not be reached for comment.
Karen Giddings, Lauren's mother, said by phone Wednesday that she was not concerned about McDaniel getting out of jail because of the other pending charges.
She said she's confident in the District Attorney's office and she's been assured by the DA that McDaniel will remain in jail.