John Michael Taylor, 27, of Acworth, was arrested after holding police at gunpoint at a house on Highway 136 near Dawsonville on Tuesday evening, Cherokee Sheriff Roger Garrison said in a press conference.
Krystle Gail Taylor, 27, of Dawsonville was arrested at the home earlier Tuesday without any problems, the sheriff said.
Cherokee County detectives issued arrest warrants Monday night for the two suspects and a third man still at large in the suspected murder of Christopher Pierce, who was found shot to death in his home.
The arrests were made when detectives discovered the pair were at the home about a mile from Highway 400 after tracing cellphone usage there Tuesday afternoon, Garrison said.
During the standoff, officers witnessed John Michael Taylor shooting up methamphetamine in the house, Garrison said.
At that point, Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle said the situation could have become dangerous. “You don’t know what he’s going to do,” Carlisle said during the press conference.
SWAT teams from Cherokee and Forsyth counties and Dawson County sheriff’s deputies were involved in the standoff.
Taylor also came out of the house brandishing a gun twice before being arrested, Garrison said.
But after about three hours of negotiations, SWAT team officers were able to get in through an open door and use a Taser on the suspect, and he was arrested without further incident, Garrison said.
“Two out of the three are now in custody,” Garrison said. “We are still working aggressively on leads (for the third suspect).”
Investigators said the Taylors — who Garrison said were not related — along with Benson Kyle Lloyd, 28, of Jasper, were charged with felony murder in the death of Pierce.
The three were considered armed and dangerous, police said, and had connections in Cherokee, Pickens, Cobb and Catoosa counties.
The victim was found in his home on Misty Hollow Way at about 5:15 p.m. Sunday by his father, Frank Pierce, who owns the house.
Lt. Col. Ron Hunton, field operations commander for the Sheriff’s Office, said investigators believe that there was no apparent forced entry to the home and that Pierce knew the suspects.
Frank Pierce said Tuesday he had never heard of the suspects accused in his son’s death, but he was glad detectives had identified them.
“I knew they were after them,” he said of Cherokee detectives. “They were extremely involved.”
Pierce’s father said he had stopped by the home Sunday afternoon to drop off a portable heater, when he found his son’s body, but he declined to go into much detail.
“What I don’t want to do is I don’t want to jeopardize this trial,” he said.
Hunton declined to go into detail about how the suspected murder took place or how detectives knew the three suspects were involved.
Hunton said officers were on the ground in Cherokee County looking for the suspects and the trio knew that the Sheriff’s Office was searching for them, along with other nearby police agencies.
Neighbors of the victim said Monday morning they hadn’t had much interaction with Pierce, but nothing going on at the house ever led them to believe such a crime would happen.
“I don’t know too much about him,” said Mike Lane. “Never really talked to him, I just talk to his dad every once in a while when he comes over to clean up. The dad comes over almost every day to do work on the house, check up on his son and everything. None of the neighbors really talked to (the victim).”
Lane said based on his interaction with the father and the lack of unusual activity, news of the shooting has come as a shock.
“It’s kind of weird having to explain to your son what’s going on and why there’s crime scene tape and everything,” Lane said, looking from his front door at Pierce’s house, barricaded by yellow tape, with investigators parked outside.
The suspected murder has also left Will Wilkins and his family on-edge.
“It kind of worries me that stuff like this is going on in the neighborhood,” said Wilkins, who lives across the street with his wife and four children. “Just (my) wife knows, the kids, they’re young, they don’t really understand what’s going on. They just think the cops are investigating something.”
Frank Pierce also said he never expected to find his son, who has a 26-year-old child of his own, died.
Frank Pierce said he will miss his son dearly.
“I loved my son,” the father said. “I was close to him.”
Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Lloyd is urged to call Cherokee Sheriff’s Office investigators at (770) 928-0239 or 911.