After 2 mistrials, man convicted of killing pastor’s wife

September 22, 2022 GMT

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A judge Thursday found a man guilty of murder, robbery and other charges in the 2015 killing of an Indianapolis pastor’s wife during a break-in.

Larry Jo Taylor Jr. also was convicted after a four-day bench trial of burglary, theft, criminal confinement and carrying a handgun without a license. He was acquitted of a robbery charge. His two jury trials ended in mistrials, most recently in December.

Taylor was one of three men police say were involved in a string of November 2015 home invasions on Indianapolis’ north side that ended when Amanda Blackburn, 28, was fatally shot in her home while 12 weeks pregnant with her second child.

She was slain two years after she and her husband, pastor Davey Blackburn, moved to Indianapolis from South Carolina to found Resonate Church, which was shuttered in 2019.

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears issued a statement saying his office was “pleased with today’s verdict and that we are finally able to bring justice for Amanda and her family. It has taken a tremendous amount of patience and grace to get to this moment.”

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Taylor’s two co-defendants accepted plea deals on the condition they would cooperate in his prosecution. Jalen E. Watson pleaded guilty in 2017 to robbery and burglary charges. He was sentenced in March 2021 to 29 years for the robbery charge and 20 combined years for the burglary charges, and ordered to serve the sentences concurrently.

Diano Cortez Gordon pleaded guilty in 2018 to robbery resulting in serious bodily injury and burglary charges. He has not been sentenced yet.