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Thread: Michael William Ledford - Georgia Death Row

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    Michael William Ledford - Georgia Death Row




    Summary of Offense:

    Silver Comet Trail murderer Michael Ledford was sentenced to death by lethal injection for the 2006 killing of Sandy Springs cyclist Jennifer Ewing.

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    May 22, 2009

    Silver Comet killer sentenced to death

    Silver Comet Trail murderer Michael Ledford was sentenced Friday to death by lethal injection for the 2006 killing of Sandy Springs cyclist Jennifer Ewing.

    A jury of 10 men and 2 women deliberated until early afternoon before choosing death over the other 2 options - life without parole or life with the possibility of parole.

    Ledford becomes the 105th person on Georgia’s death row. State law requires an automatic appeal of all death sentences.

    Ledford will spend his time on death row at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, 40 miles south of Atlanta.

    On Monday jurors deliberated less than 90 minutes before convicting Ledford of 10 felonies, including murder, kidnapping with bodily harm, aggravated battery, aggravated sodomy and aggravated assault.

    The final arguments in the death penalty trial Friday ended with a plea from Ledford’s lawyer.

    "We want to make sure Michael is punished," Tom West said. "And we want justice to be served. Life without parole will satisfy all these. We don't need to kill him," Tom West said.

    But the Paulding County jury also was left with a reminder from District Attorney Drew Lane: "Michael Ledford does not have a conscience… Michael Ledford is a psychopath. He doesn’t take responsibility. He doesn’t have empathy for others."

    Lane said the only "appropriate punishment" for the July 25, 2006, murder was death by lethal injection.

    West told the jurors Friday morning that he was not asking them to vote for a life sentence that allowed for parole. "That's not an appropriate sentence," West said.

    The defense lawyers said Ledford should go to "prison for the rest of his life and never get out. He will die in prison."

    Ewing had just passed the 32nd mile on a 50-mile ride on the path, a ride she took five times a week, when Ledford ambushed her in an isolated spot on the path. He dragged her 70 feet off the trail and tried to force her to perform oral sex on him. But she bit him instead, sending him into a rage.

    The autopsy showed he brutally beat the 53-year-old Sandy Springs mother, pounding her with his fist at least 30 times and stomping her twice, leaving footprints on her chest and side. He crushed her nose and larynx and broke several ribs. In 25-30 minutes she smothered because her chest was crushed.

    The next morning, on July 26, 2006, searchers found her nude and battered body on a mound of kudzu partially hidden by some of the vines and leaves.

    Lane told the jurors to remember "this lady is what this case is about." He projected on a screen two photos side-by-side - one of Ewing smiling and the other of her unrecognizable face partly shielded by kudzu leaves.

    Her family - her husband, children and others — quickly looked away. Some hid their faces in their hands.

    "Michael Ledford believes in the death penalty," Lane said in his 55-minute closing argument. "We know he does because he exacted the death penalty on Jennifer Ewing for being on the trail, for keeping herself healthy… for the boldness of protecting her dignity. The law does not demand the death penalty for Michael Ledford. But justices does."

    West asked the jurors to considered Ledford's life when they deliberated. He was an alcoholic in a family of alcoholics. Ledford, 46, had a head injury when he fell from a tree when he was nine that changed him; he became withdrawn and more violent and he started wetting the bed.

    His family was dysfunctional and lived in "abject poverty." They moved, frequently, when the rent was due. He and his sister and 4 brothers were put into foster care or orphanages several times because his mother had no money for food or a place to life and once when she was hospitalized for a breakdown.

    His 2 estranged adult sons, his sister and his mother sat quietly just a few feet away from Ledford.

    The murder occurred, West said because Ledford was drunk and "looking for an opportunity. Jennifer was in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up being killed."

    "Jennifer Ewing came from a beautiful family," West said. "To lose such a beautiful mother, it’s horrible. It’s horrible what Michael did to her."

    (Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

    ****************************************

    Jury Recommends Death Sentence On Silver Comet Killer

    A Paulding County jury has reached a verdict whether 46-year-old Michael Ledford should be put to death for the brutal beating and murder of a Sandy Springs woman who he ambushed while she was biking along the Silver Comet Trail in 2006.

    By a uninamous vote, as outlined in the Georiga Constiution, the jury recommended the death penalty.

    The jury began their deliberations shortly after attorneys for both sides delivered their closing arguments in the penalty phase of the trial Friday morning.

    On Monday, the same jury took less than 90 minutes to convict Ledford of murdering 53-year-old Jennifer Ewing in July of 2006.

    "Nobody's going to be safe; he's going to continue to prey on people," Paulding County District Attorney Drew Lane told the jury.

    Lane cited Ledford's prior criminal record which included 10 years for rape and several other attacks on women.

    He called Ledford a selfish psychopath who feels no remorse for this "horrible, depraved, outrageously vile and inhuman act".

    "Death is the only appropriate punishment," Lane argued, telling the jury that they must be the conscience of the community and make Ledford pay the ultimate penalty.

    "It's horrible what Michael did," admitted defense attorney Tom West, but he asked the jury for mercy.

    "Michael is not able to hold himself responsible," West claimed, citing his client's childhood brain injuries, abusive upbringing and life of alcoholism.

    "That's not an excuse," West admitted, but he called those life circumstances a possible explanation for Ledford's violent behavior.

    West admitted Ledford showed no mercy to Jennifer Ewing and took her life simply because she tried to defend herself.

    "But you can honor life by granting it to Michael," West urged, saying locking him up in prison for the rest of his life would be punishment enough and still protect society.

    (Source: WXIA News)

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    Gwinnett judge to hear Ga. Supreme Court case

    Gwinnett Superior Court Judge Billy Ray will fulfill a dream Monday, when he hears oral arguments as a member of the Georgia Supreme Court.

    Ray was chosen to sit in on an appeal of Douglas County death penalty case in place of Justice David Nahmias.

    According to the court’s public information officer Jane Hansen, Nahmias recuses himself from any case involving the King and Spalding law firm where his wife works.

    Ray, a former state senator who was on the short list for the Supreme Court in 2009, when Nahmias was named, said he has been studying the case file.

    “I’m excited about the process,” he said, adding that he does not know if he will be a part of writing an opinion. “I’ll probably do a lot of listening.”

    Despite the Grayson man’s ambitions to eventually become a permanent part of the state’s highest court, Ray said he is taking the experience one step at a time.

    “I’m very happy and honored that I get to do this,” he said. “Right now, I’m taking it for what it is, a one-time assignment, and I’m going to enjoy it.”

    http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/loc...113054299.html

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    S10P1859. LEDFORD v. THE STATE

    Today the Georgia Supreme Court vacated Ledford’s convictions and sentences for aggravated battery, but affirmed all other convictions and sentences, including his death sentence.

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    Top Ga. court upholds sentence for man convicted of murdering 54-year-old on popular trail

    The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld a death row sentence for the man sentenced to death for sexually assaulting and then murdering a 54-year-old mother along a popular suburban Atlanta bike trail.

    The Supreme Court's unanimous decision on Friday concludes there was enough evidence for the jury to find Michael Ledford guilty of the July 2006 slaying of Jennifer Ewing. She was ambushed during her regular 25-mile bike ride along the Silver Comet Trail, a former railroad bed that stretches from Smyrna to Alabama.

    He claims that dozens of errors were made during his 2009 trial, including a judge's refusal to move it to another venue.

    But the court found no errors were made and concluded that the "death sentence is not disproportionate punishment within the meaning of Georgia law."

    http://www.whnt.com/news/sns-ap-ga--...,6311252.story

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    In today's United States Supreme Court orders, Ledford's petition for a writ of certiorari and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis were DENIED.

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    Administrator Aaron's Avatar
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    On September 8, 2017, Ledford filed a habeas petition in Federal District Court.

    https://dockets.justia.com/docket/ge...cv00211/241620
    Don't ask questions, just consume product and then get excited for next products.

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    On February 20, 2018, the United States Supreme Court DENIED Ledford's petition for certiorari.

    Lower Ct: Supreme Court of Georgia
    Case Numbers: (S17E0955)
    Decision Date: August 14, 2017

    https://www.supremecourt.gov/search....c/17-6819.html

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    On June 1, 2020, oral argument will be heard in Ledford's appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

    http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/sites/d...29_Ledford.pdf

  10. #10
    Senior Member CnCP Legend Mike's Avatar
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    Only two years at the 11th and they are already hearing him. His whole case has been rather speedy for GA.
    Last edited by Mike; 05-06-2020 at 10:10 AM.
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