Weatherford Democrat

AP Story Section

December 22, 2008

Officials: Man caused student’s death

DALLAS (AP) — With a murder conviction and a history of wild poker parties and drug use, James McDaniel admits he’s no angel.

But McDaniel said federal prosecutors are wrong to connect him with the disappearance and death of Southern Methodist University Student Meaghan Bosch, whose body was found last year in a portable toilet.

“In their push to get someone to pay for what’s going on at SMU, and setting me up as the take-all candidate, they have pushed the envelope,” McDaniel told The Dallas Morning News in a telephone interview.

McDaniel has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that include distribution of a controlled substance that resulted in a death and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He has not been charged with murder but faces 20 years to life on charges accusing him of causing Bosch’s death. McDaniel could get an additional 25 years if convicted on the charges of illegal weapon possession.

McDaniel, 48, has admitted to using drugs with Bosch, but he said he did not give her any around the time of her disappearance in May 2007, and he denies any involvement in her fatal overdose.

Her body was found in a portable toilet at a construction site near Waco a few days after her family reported her missing. Dallas authorities ruled that she had cocaine, methamphetamine and oxycodone in her body at the time of her death.

She was the third SMU student to die of an overdose in a six-month period, prompting university authorities to implement reforms designed to discourage drug abuse and offer help for addiction.

Authorities investigating Bosch’s death say McDaniel is responsible for as many as four sexual assaults in which the women were tricked with ground-up depressants instead of lines of cocaine, or slipped the date-rape drug GHB into their drinks. Federal prosecutors have asked the women, several of them former SMU students, to testify anonymously at McDaniel’s trial in February.

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