INDIANAPOLIS – One of the men convicted in connection with the 2015 murder of Amanda Blackburn will spend significantly less time in prison.
Jalen Watson pleaded guilty to robbery and burglary charges in 2017. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop multiple charges, including murder. He testified against the gunman in the case, Larry Taylor.
In March 2021, Watson was sentenced to 29 years for robbery resulting in serious bodily injury with two 10-year concurrent sentences for the two burglary charges.
Judge Grant Hawkins issued an order on Dec. 2 modifying Watson’s prison time. The new order takes 14 years off Watson’s original 29-year sentence. He’ll spend 10 of his remaining 15 years in the Indiana Department of Correction and 5 years on home detention with Marion County Community Corrections. He’ll also be on probation for 4 years.
The sentencing order gives him credit for time served and good behavior. During home detention, Watson is to receive mental health evaluation and treatment. He was also issued an order barring him from contacting Taylor.
Amanda Blackburn died two days after being shot during a home invasion on Nov. 10, 2015. Her death was ruled a homicide, setting off a frantic search for the people responsible. Police announced the arrests of Watson and Taylor in late November. Gordon was arrested and charged the following month.
Blackburn was pregnant at the time of her death. She and her pastor husband, Davey Blackburn, had moved from South Carolina to Indianapolis in 2012 to start a church.
As the case worked its way through the courts, Watson and Gordon both agreed to plead guilty. In exchange for their cooperation in testifying against Taylor—the man convicted of pulling the trigger—murder charges were dropped against both men.
In September 2022, Gordon was sentenced to 30 years with 5 years suspended.
During a bench trial in September, Taylor was found guilty of murder, burglary, burglary with serious bodily injury, theft, criminal confinement, auto theft and carrying a handgun without a license.
He was sentenced to 86 years in October 2022.