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

INDIANAPOLIS — Two men were charged Monday with murder in the fatal shooting of a pastor’s pregnant wife during an apparent break in of their Indianapolis home, court records show.

Murder and several other charges have been filed against 21-year-old Jalen E. Watson of Indianapolis and 18-year-old Larry Jo Taylor Jr., and Marion County court records state they are co-defendants.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry was holding a Monday afternoon news conference to announce criminal charges in Amanda Blackburn’s killing.

Indianapolis police announced earlier Monday the arrest of Taylor on murder charges in Blackburn’s killing. Blackburn was shot in the head during the Nov. 10 attack at the couple’s home and died the next day.

Online court records show Taylor faces 13 charges that include murder, burglary, criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon and robbery resulting in serious bodily injury. Watson faces 10 charges, including murder, burglary, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury and auto theft.

It wasn’t clear if all the charges arose from Blackburn’s killing, or if they might also include charges stemming from what police have said was the burglary of a nearby home shortly before she was attacked.

Watson and Taylor were both being held at the Marion County Jail. It wasn’t immediately clear whether either man had an attorney to speak on their behalf.

Blackburn, 28, was shot in the head during the Nov. 10 attack at she and her husband’s Indianapolis home and died the next day. The couple’s 15-month-old son, Weston, was at home upstairs in a crib but was not harmed in the attack.

Her husband, Pastor Davey Blackburn, had gone to the gym that morning and returned home to find his wounded wife, who was 13 weeks pregnant at the time.

He released a statement Monday saying: “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.”

Blackburn said investigators have told him they have a “solidly-built case.” Blackburn said he hopes 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.”

Police have not released additional details on Taylor’s arrest or the allegations he faces.

Officers from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s gang and violent crime units arrested Taylor with help from U.S. Marshals, police said in a 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 a statement. “Our detectives have worked tirelessly going days without sleep to solve murders in our city.”

Authorities said investigators would continue to follow all leads, including talking with individuals who may have knowledge of the case.

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. Police had sought the public’s help by circulating images of a man caught on home surveillance cameras.

The Blackburns moved to Indianapolis from South Carolina to found the independent Resonate Church in 2012.

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