A murder that shocked Indiana may be closer to a resolution with a Monday announcement by Indianapolis police that two men were arrested for the brutal murder of the pregnant wife of a local Christian pastor.
Officials charged Indianapolis residents Larry Jo Taylor, Jr., 18, and Jalen E. Watson, 21, with the November 10 murder of Amanda Blackburn, 28. The victim was 12 weeks pregnant at the time of her murder.
The victim’s husband, Davey Blackburn, a pastor at the independent Resonate Church of Indianapolis, told police he left for a local gym at around 6AM on November 10 but did not lock the front door behind him when he left.
When he returned from the gym, the victim’s husband said he found his wife on the floor partially nude. The victim was lying in a pool of blood having been shot to death in the couple’s home.
Police reported that the two suspects–along with a third man named Diano Gordon, 24–where engaged in a series of home robberies, and they say evidence shows the trio had broken into several other homes that same morning. It appears that the suspects did not know the pastor and his wife, and their home was a random target.
A police document explains that Taylor had argued with the other two suspects about killing someone in one of the previous homes the three robbed, but his cohorts convinced him not to. However, according to police reports, Taylor’s bloodlust was not abated for long.
“Taylor stated that [Mrs. Blackburn] charged at him and he shot her somewhere in the upper body so he would not be scratched,” the police wrote in a report. “Taylor then told them that he leaned over her body and shot her in the back of the head. He leaned further, looked at her face, and watched her bleed.”
The couple’s 15-month-old son was upstairs during the attack and was fortunately found unharmed.
The attacks shocked the Indianapolis area, and local media outlets have been watching the story closely even as for nearly a week it seemed as if no movement had been made to break the case. All that ended Monday with the welcome announcement that the suspects had been arrested.
Pastor Blackburn told the media that authorities have told him they have a “strong case” against the men, and he thanked police for their “compassion and professionalism.”
“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,” Pastor Blackburn said.
Other evidence gathered by police also points to the suspects. DNA evidence was left in the couple’s stolen car used to transport stolen property and taken to a local ATM to take money out of the victim’s bank account.
Both Taylor and Watson have a long criminal record.
Watson was only released from prison on August 6 after completing a sentence for his second conviction for burglary.
According to the Associated Press, “Taylor also faces misdemeanor public nudity and public indecency charges stemming from an unrelated June incident where he allegedly exposed himself to a woman in a parking lot, court records show.”
Pastor Blackburn is still mourning his terrible loss.
“I read Amanda’s journal entry just a few days before–she journaled every day of her life–just a few days before she was killed,” Pastor Blackburn told ABC News. “She put something in there that just spoke volumes to us that we’re deriving strength from. She said, ‘We don’t know what the future holds but we know who holds the future and that’s Jesus.'”
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