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Recovered gun likely used in Cherokee slaying
Two suspects arrested at local home
4 Swat Standoff pic
Forsyth County SWAT team members mobilize at a nearby church before maneuvering into a home on Harmony Church Road in Dawson County where a murder suspect had barricaded himself Dec. 10. The suspect was arrested after a nearly three- hour standoff. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Authorities say a handgun found after a standoff at a Harmony Church Road home is likely the weapon used to kill a Woodstock man earlier this month.

"However, ballistics must be performed before that can be confirmed," said Cherokee County Sheriff's Lt. Jay Baker.

Investigators recovered the .25-caliber handgun during a search of the home where slaying suspect John Michael Taylor, 27, of Acworth, had kept officers from Dawson, Cherokee and Forsyth counties at bay Dec. 10. He reportedly brandished a handgun numerous times as the situation unfolded over several hours.

Earlier that day, 27-year-old Krystle Gail Taylor of Dawsonville had been arrested at the home without incident after cellphone transmissions led investigators there.

Baker said the third suspect, 28-year-old Benson Kyle Lloyd of Jasper, was apprehended the next day while hitting golf balls in the PGA Superstore on George Busbee Parkway in Kennesaw.

The suspects are being held without bond at the Cherokee Adult Detention Center. They await appearances in Cherokee County Superior Court on felony murder charges in connection with the slaying of Christopher Pierce.

Pierce, 47, was found shot to death inside his Woodstock home on the night of Dec. 8 in what authorities have said appears to be a drug-related crime.

According to Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison, deputies attempting to negotiate with John Michael Taylor watched while he injected what was believed to have been methamphetamine during the standoff.

"The last three hours [of the standoff] ... we actually watched him shoot meth while he was negotiating," Garrison said.

Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle said the barricaded suspect's drug use escalated the danger for authorities.

"You don't know what he's going to do next. With drugs in his system, we don't know if he's going to get more violent or what he may do," he said.

Carlisle called the multi-agency operation a success.

"This was a long process," he said. "We knew he was in the house. We knew he was alone. So we got the Cherokee County and Forsyth County SWAT teams to set up a barrier around the house to make sure he didn't get out, and then started negotiations with him to get him to come out of the house peacefully."

SWAT team members from Forsyth counties were able to secretly maneuver into the home, where officers used a stun gun to apprehend John Michael Taylor.

"Forsyth County conducted negotiations for probably three hours, at which time he broke off those negotiations," Garrison said.

It was then that negotiators successfully lured him into a position where he could be apprehended.

"[They] were able to get around a corner and take a Taser on Mr. Taylor and he was arrested without any further incident. This gets us two of these very dangerous individuals off the streets," Garrison said during a press conference Dec. 10.

He added that the suspect had "a decent amount of cash and a syringe" in his possession when taken into custody.