In a two-page hand-written letter, Stephen McDaniel proposed the question 'who watches the watchmen?' His defense attorney Frank Hogue handed that letter to Judge Howard Simms the morning McDaniel pleaded guilty to killing Lauren Giddings.
McDaniel's letter describes all the ways he feels police mistreated him.
He says, when asking for permission to search his apartment, investigators "coerced me by use of peer pressure and a preconceived deception to obtain consent under false pretenses."
LINK: McDaniel interrogation transcript (WARNING THIS LINK CONTAINS PROFANITY)
However, investigators testified that they did ask McDaniel for consent to search his apartment, but they never forced him to do anything.
When McDaniel was taken back to his apartment after giving a statement at the Detective's Bureau, reporters told him a body had been found at his apartment complex. McDaniel wrote that he collapsed from shock, "because, despite my own actions, at the time, my mental state was such that I was unaware of her death."
McDaniel says an E.M.T. diagnosed him as having a seizure, but he was later denied any further medical treatment by police, though he felt "disoriented, had severe head pain, had lost sensation in my extremities, could barely breathe, and was suffering from impaired vision."
Sergeant Scott Chapman told 13WMAZ they did try to care for McDaniel by putting him inside their Mobile Command Center to stay out of the heat.
"He just stayed there looking straight ahead. Even when we offered him food and water, he didn't want to take the food. He didn't want to take the water. He was worried. That's what we saw, he was worried," says Chapman.
McDaniel says investigators continuously threatened and insulted him, both at the apartment complex and in the Detective's Bureau.
Video of his questioning from the bureau show police using topics such as hobbies, family life, and bathing habits to get McDaniel to open up to them.
McDaniel wrote, "I do not say these things to excuse my own conduct. I say them because they are the truth and no other party involved in these events will tell this truth."
His last paragraph stated, "Those entrusted with upholding the law are its worst violators. A murderer knows and admits the wrong that is done in his crime."
During pre-trial hearings, both Detective David Patterson and Sgt. Chapman testified that they, and others involved in the case, handled the investigation properly and never mistreated McDaniel.
However, after watching other parts of the interrogation video, Judge Simms did rule that police made McDaniel feel he was under arrest before ever reading him his rights.