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Execution date set for Murray County murderer

Execution Date Set for J.W. Ledford, Jr., Convicted of Murder


April 26, 2017


ATLANTA, GA –Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr offers the following information in the case against J.W. Ledford, Jr., who is currently scheduled to be executed on May 16, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. for the 1992 murder of Dr. Harry Buchanan Johnston, Jr.

Scheduled Execution


Ledford has concluded his direct appeal proceedings and his state and federal habeas corpus proceedings. Accordingly, the Superior Court of Murray County today filed an order setting the seven-day window in which the execution of J.W. Ledford, Jr. may occur begining at noon, May 16, 2017 and ending 7 days later at noon on May 23, 2017.


Ledford’s Crime (January 31, 1992)


The Georgia Supreme Court summarized the facts of the case as follows:


The defendant, J. W. Ledford, Jr. was convicted of the malice murder of Dr. Harry Buchanan Johnston, Jr., as well as two counts of armed robbery, one count of burglary, and one count of kidnapping Dr. Johnston's wife, Antoinette. The jury recommended that a sentence of death be imposed for the conviction of malice murder, and the trial court sentenced him to death. The trial court also sentenced the defendant to two consecutive life sentences and two twenty-year concurrent terms for the remaining offenses.

Seniors fired up for tax relief


    It was a packed house at Chattahoochee Tech. where Pickens Seniors for Change held a meeting about senior tax exemption. The group’s leader says seniors are “taxed into poverty.”  

      Last week nearly 140 people showed up for a meeting hosted by the advocacy group Pickens Seniors for Change, which wants to see property tax exemptions for senior homeowners. 

The meeting, held on Tuesday, April 18th, was attended by Pickens’ State Senator Steve Gooch and Pickens County School Board members Daniel Bell and Katherine White. 

The advocacy group’s leaders have been pushing for changes to the county’s current exemption policy for several years. Pickens currently offers a full exemption for residents over 62 who have a household income of less than $25,000.

See full story in this week's print or online editions. 

Miller moved to Cobb jail after filing numerous complaints


       Mark Miller, a well-known local attorney accused of taking as much as $2 million from client accounts, was shipped to the Cobb County jail April 13th after filing numerous complaints against conditions at the Pickens jail.

     Miller had remained in the Pickens jail since June 2016. He was initially denied bond as Senior Judge Richard Winegarden said he didn’t feel comfortable releasing him. In December he was granted a bond, but one so high his defense counsel said at the time it was effectively still no bond. 

See full story in this week's print or online editions. 


Public wanted at county planning session

Click here to read our editorial about county planning county-seal


Members of the public are invited to the kickoff meeting for an update to a state-mandated plan intended to be a “vision statement” for county.

The Pickens County Joint Comprehensive Plan must be completely revised every 10 years, and updated every five years. The last update was in 2013. 

Pickens County Planning & Development Director Richard Osborne said, “This is a locally, citizen-driven plan. We want business owners, farmers, residents to be involved, and they can be involved in the area of their interest. Say you’re interested in downtown Jasper, you can focus on that.”

Burn ban in effect May 1


Staff reports

Pickens Fire Marshal Curtis Clark reminds Pickens County residents that the state-issued outdoor burning ban goes into effect on May 1 for this county.

Clark said it will fall on local fire departments and his office to enforce it. The ban will last through September 30. It Includes all outdoor burning except campfires.

According to the Ga. Forestry website, “Who is responsible for the burning ban?

The open burning ban is under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Environmental Protection Division (EPD), Air Protection Branch.