Murder Suspect McDaniel May Have Visited Website About Cannibalism Fetish

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Updated: Fri, 10 Jan 2014 11:37:31 EST

New details emerged Friday in the murder trial of a Mercer University Law graduate accused of killing and dismembering his classmate and neighbor back in 2011.

Stephen McDaniel's attorneys say they may have to change course from the defense they have been planning for nearly two years because of new evidence surfacing from a computer seized at the crime scene.

In Friday's motion hearing, prosecutors mentioned evidence on McDaniel's computer may show he was looking at literature about a dismembered woman, and gynophagia, a fetish involving cannibalism.

The trial for McDaniel will not begin on February 3rd as it was last scheduled. Judge Howard Simms hasn't set a new date, but is giving attorneys for both sides time to comb over nealy 15,000 web adresses recently found on McDaniel's computer. 

"Essentially, everybody is just wanting this to be done reasonably," said District Attorney David Cooke.

During Friday's hearing, Cooke mentioned what he called "topics" of information found on the computer, including websites about a dismembered woman, and gynophagia, which can be described as a fetish centered on thinking about eating a person.

Defense Attorney Frank Hogue says the new evidence is forcing him to change course.

"We were preparing, we had a case in mind we were going to try, we knew what their evidence was, two weeks ago that was knocked off the rails with all this new stuff," Hogue said.

During the motion hearing Judge Simms also ordered the Macon Telegraph to show all its published photos of the crime scene to attorneys for both sides. The defense plans to use the photos to challenge the integrity of the crime scene in the days after McDaniel's arrest.

While Hogue says all his motions have now been addressed, he says more are expected to come.

"There's never an end to motions in a criminal case, even during trial, I'm filing motions sometimes, while the trial is going on, so for now though I don't have any more," Hogue said.

Judge Simms has recently said he will not grant a 90 day continuance for the trial. While it's unknown when a new trial date will be scheduled, Hogue says he expects it will begin sometime in March or April.

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