Court upholds death sentence in 2006 Silver Comet Trail death

ATLANTA — The Georgia Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentence for a man convicted in the brutal beating death and assault of a bicyclist on the Silver Comet Trail.

Michael William Ledford was convicted of murder, aggravated battery, kidnapping with bodily injury and other charges in the July 2006 death of a 54-year-old mother. He was sentenced to death in May 2009.

According to court records, Ledford ambushed the bicyclist along a stretch of the Silver Comet Trail in Paulding County. Ledford contested his conviction on a number of grounds, including that the court declined the change the venue of his trial.

“Considering both the crime and the defendant in this case, we find that the death sentence is not disproportionate punishment within the meaning of Georgia law,” the court wrote.

“This finding obviously takes into consideration the shocking details of the murder in this case,” the court also noted. “This finding also takes into consideration Ledford’s long history of criminal acts against numerous women, including a rape, several apparent attempted rapes, and sexually-deviant behavior directed at women.”

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