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Thursday May 7th, 2015 1:45AM

$2.3 million awarded in death of NE Ga. pastor in botched drug bust

By The Associated Press
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ATLANTA (AP) -- More than $2 million has been awarded to the family of a northeast Georgia pastor who was fatally shot by a Stephens County sheriff's deputy more than four years ago.

Jonathan Ayers was the pastor of Shoal Creek Baptist Church in Lavonia when he accidentally walked into an undercover drug investigation in the parking lot of a convenience store in Toccoa in September 2009.

A grand jury decided the shooting was justified and the widow of the 28-year-old Ayers, Abigail Ayers, filed a wrongful death lawsuit accusing deputies of using excessive deadly force, assault, battery and false arrest. (See link below.)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ( http://bit.ly/1ebQq0A ) reports the jury has awarded the woman more than $2.3 million.

Ayers had numerous relatives in Gainesville.

(AccessNorthGa.com's Ken Stanford contributed to this story.)
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