Testimony Concludes in Ayers Civil Trial

February 19, 2014

Closing statements are expected to take place this morning in the civil trial in connection to the 2009 shooting death of Lavonia pastor the Rev. Jonathan Ayers.

Testimony concluded Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Gainesville in the trial of the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Rev. Ayers’ widow, Abigail Ayers.

Tuesday morning, former Mountain Judicial Circuit N.C.I.S. Drug Team Agent Billy Shane Harrison was on the stand.

Harrison is the agent who shot the Rev. Ayers in the parking lot of a Toccoa gas station on September 1, 2009.

The Rev. Ayers later died from the gunshot wound.

Ms. Ayers’ lawsuit has made claims of false arrest, assault and battery, and excessive force against Harrison in connection to the death of her husband.

On the stand Tuesday, Harrison testified that he and the other agents intended to question Rev. Ayers regarding his connection to Kayla Barrett, who was a target of an N.C.I.S. Team drug investigation.

The Rev. Ayers was seen giving money to Barrett earlier the day he was shot.

Harrison testified that he identified himself as law enforcement and states the Rev. Ayers looked directly at his badge.

Under cross examination, Harrison was asked if the Rev. Ayers would expect a police officer or a regular citizen to be getting out of an unmarked car wearing plain clothes.

Repeating that the Rev. Ayers looked at his badge, Harrison added that he had “zero doubt” that the Rev. Ayers knew he was law enforcement.

Harrison also testified that he fired two shots at the Rev. Ayers’ vehicle when he felt threatened by the vehicle moving towards him.

Under cross examination, Harrison was asked why he followed the Rev. Ayers as it first backed away before moving forward.

Harrison answered that he “was doing his job.”

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