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1984 Murder Suspect to Stand Trial

Nearly 29 years ago, authorities discovered the body of a 30-year-old Smyrna woman floating in Bear Creek in South Fulton County.

Nearly two years after the state's highest court overturned the conviction of a 65-year-old man accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and strangling a Smyrna woman, Curtis Tyner is scheduled this week to stand trial for murder.

On April 15, 1984, authorities discovered the body of 30-year-old Martha Anne Mickel floating in Bear Creek in south Fulton County. She'd been sexually assaulted, strangled and thrown in the creek after the attack, according to investigators.

Days after the murder, authorities arrested Tyner, who is charged with murder, felony murder, kidnapping with bodily injury, aggravated assault with intent to rape, robbery by force and sexual battery.

Tyner said he pleaded guilty to Mickel's murder because prosecutors indicated they would seek the death penalty if the case went to trial. However, he spent more than two decades in state prison trying to appeal the case.

Citing the 1969 Boykin v. Alabama ruling, the Georgia Supreme Court in June 2011 found that prosecutors failed to tell Tyner all he needed to know before he agreed to a guilty plea and overturned Tyner's murder conviction, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Fulton County district attorney Paul Howard Jr. said at the time that he planned to challenge the murder convction reversal.

This week, Superior Court Judge Christopher Brasher will preside over Tyner's trial, said Yvette Jones, the spokeswoman for the Office of the Fulton County District Attorney.

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