2 men charged with murder in killing of pastor’s wife

24 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

2 men charged with murder in killing of pastor’s wife.

INDIANAPOLIS • Authorities charged two young men with murder on Monday in the fatal shooting of a pastor’s pregnant wife during a home invasion that happened after the minister left the couple’s Indianapolis home. Two men face murder charges in the death of Amanda Blackburn, a pregnant pastor’s wife in Indianapolis, investigators announced at a press conference Monday. Both Larry Jo Taylor, Jr., 18, the alleged triggerman, and Jalen Watson, 21, have been charged, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said at the press conference. Amanda Blackburn was shot once in the head during the November 10 home invasion, where the pregnant 28-year-old mother lived with her pastor husband, Davey, and the couple’s toddler son, Weston.

Her husband, Pastor Davey Blackburn, told police he had left the home’s front door unlocked when he departed about 6 a.m. that morning to go to the gym and work out and returned home about 8:20 a.m. to find his wounded wife. Marshals, according to an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department news release. “All victims of criminal homicides deserve closure, and as a community we must send a collective message that violence is not an option,” Police Chief Rick Hite said in the statement. “Our detectives have worked tirelessly going days without sleep to solve murders in our city.” Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Lt. Richard Riddle said last week that a resident recovered a gun in a front yard of a home just blocks away from where Amanda and Davey Blackburn live. “Our detectives are looking at the caliber of the handgun recovered, to see if it does in fact match the caliber of the weapon used in the Amanda Blackburn case,” said Lt.

After allegedly committing two burglaries nearby, Curry alleged that three men – Taylor, Watson, and Diano Gordan, 24 – entered the Blackburn home through an unlocked door. Curry told reporters there was no evidence to warrant sexual assault charges against the three men, but noted his office’s investigation into the homicide continues. Investigators told him that they have a strong case, Blackburn said, adding that he was thankful for their “compassion and professionalism.” “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,” he said.

Blackburn’s partly nude body was discovered by her husband, Davey, when he returned home from working out at a gym, but it was not clear if she had been sexually assaulted, according to documents filed by the prosecutor’s office. The Blackburns moved to Indianapolis in January of 2012 “with a dream and a calling to start a life-giving church that would connect with people who normally wouldn’t connect with church,” the couple wrote on Resonate Church‘s Web site. The affidavit says the two men entered the house through the unlocked front door that morning after they had robbed two other homes, including one in the same neighborhood.

Police had sought the public’s help by circulating images of a man caught on home surveillance cameras. “He (God) is what made Amanda special; He is why we’re celebrating her life; He is why we loved her so much, because He just radiated out of her,” South Carolina pastor Perry Noble said at a memorial service earlier this month. Sometime before 5:30 a.m., police say, Watson, Taylor and Gordon embarked on a small crime spree in search of money that would end at the Blackburn residence. After discovering a security camera in the residence, Taylor wanted to kill the sleeping occupant, but Watson and Gordon talked him down, the account says.

According to the affidavit, the trio then moved on to another house where they stole TV’s and a laptop, loading them into the previously stolen car. The prosecutor said that his office would review whether it might seek the death penalty against Taylor and would meet with Blackburn’s relatives before making a decision in about a month. “We meet internally in our office to determine strengths and weaknesses of the case. She said, ‘We don’t know what the future holds but we know who holds the future and that’s Jesus.’ “We’re drawing our strength from that and we know that Jesus holds the future and we can’t see it clearly but she sees it clearly now because she’s in Heaven with Jesus and we’ll see her soon.” Watson was released from prison Aug. 6 after completing his second sentence for burglary within the past three years, according to online inmate records from the Indiana Department of Correction. 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.

Investigators believe the suspect, whom neighbors also reported seeing walking in the area, may have seen Davey Blackburn leave that morning shortly after the suspect allegedly burglarized a nearby house.

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