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Georgia law school graduate accused of killing classmate

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Police in Georgia have charged a recent law school graduate with the murder of a fellow graduate whose dismembered body was discovered in a trash bin outside an apartment building where they both lived.

Stephen Mark McDaniel, 25, was charged late Tuesday in Macon with killing 27-year-old Lauren Giddings, police spokeswoman Jami Gaudet told Reuters on Wednesday.

McDaniel and Giddings were recent graduates of the Mercer University School of Law in Macon and lived next door to each other in an apartment building across the street from the school, police said.

Police found Giddings' torso in the apartment building trash bin on June 30. That same day, McDaniel was charged with burglary for allegedly walking into two apartments in the building where he lived and stealing condoms, Gaudet said.

McDaniel had a master key that would open all the units in the building, the police spokeswoman said.

Police have not yet released details about the suspected motive or murder weapon used to kill Giddings.

Gaudet said McDaniel had a collection of swords, but police have not linked the swords to Giddings' death.

"That was a recreational thing for him," she said. "We've never made a connection between the two."

As a law student, McDaniel worked briefly for the Bibb County District Attorney's Office, Gaudet said.

(Reporting by David Beasley; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jerry Norton)

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