INDIANAPOLIS (November 23, 2015) – Two men have been charged in the murder of Amanda Blackburn, a pastor’s pregnant wife who was shot during a home invasion robbery on November 10.
In a press conference Monday, Prosecutor Terry Curry announced 18-year-old Larry Jo Taylor, Jr. and 21-year-old Jalen Watson were charged with murder in connection with the investigation.
Taylor has been charged with felony murder, three counts of burglary, three counts of theft, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, criminal confinement, auto theft and carrying a handgun without a license. Watson has been charged with murder, three counts of burglary, three counts of theft, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury and auto theft.
According to court documents, Taylor and Watson–as well as a third man–are accused of entering Blackburn’s home on the morning of November 10 in addition to two other burglaries in the area. Sources confirmed to CBS4 the third man is 24-year-old Diano Gordan, who is being held on a parole violation.
Taylor, who was previously taken into custody and released, was arrested again Sunday night at a relative’s home, according to police.
Authorities said the men referred to themselves as “The Kilt Gang.”
The three men allegedly committed two burglaries before entering the Blackburn residence. Authorities said a car was stolen during the first burglary. The second burglary happened at a home near Blackburn’s home. Detectives believe the men entered the Blackburn home through the front door, which was unlocked.
Watson and Gordan left Blackburn’s home with her credit card to drive to an ATM. According to officials, Taylor stayed out the house and was later picked up by the other two men. Taylor is alleged to have admitted to witnesses he killed Amanda, who was home with her 1-year-old son. She was 12 weeks pregnant when she was killed. Her cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the back of the head. She was also shot in the left arm and upper back, said police.
Her husband, Pastor Davey Blackburn, discovered his wife’s body after returning home from the gym that morning.
Police recovered the stolen vehicle in one of the robberies the next day. ATM receipts were found in the vehicle and detectives also gathered evidence linking the suspects to the use of Blackburn’s credit card. A gun was also recovered in a neighbor’s yard.
“We appreciate the work of IMPD detectives and our law enforcement partners at the Indiana State Police, FBI, and U.S. Marshals Service in identifying those alleged to have committed this tragic murder,” Prosecutor Terry Curry said. “It is important to note the extraordinary assistance that was received from neighbors and members of the community in this case. We encourage anyone in our community who has information about other murders or crime to come forward, contact law enforcement, and assist us in identifying those responsible.”
Amanda's husband and family released the following statement Monday morning:
Though it does not undo the pain we are feeling, I was extremely relieved to get the news of the arrest made last night of Amanda's killer. The investigators have assured me they have a solidly-built case to ensure justice is levied and the process is expedited. The family and I couldn't be more thankful for the level of compassion and professionalism the IMPD and investigators have shown us through the last couple of weeks. My hope is for 3 things in the weeks and months to come:
(1) That the court system would have wisdom on how to prosecute this man, so that no one else endures the pain Amanda and our family have had to endure because of his actions.
(2) That through all of this and although there will be great consequences for his actions, he would become truly sorry for what he has done and would even begin to experience the life-transforming power of the Grace and Mercy of Jesus Christ.
(3) That Jesus would give me and our family a heart of forgiveness.
Though everything inside of me wants to hate, be angry, and slip into despair I choose the route of forgiveness, grace and hope. If there is one thing I've learned from Amanda in the 10 years we were together, it's this: Choosing to let my emotions drive my decisions is recipe for a hopeless and fruitless life. Today I am deciding to love, not hate. Today I am deciding to extend forgiveness, not bitterness. Today I am deciding to hope, not despair. By Jesus' power at work within us, the best is STILL yet to come. Even when I don't see it, I believe it to be true.