Larry Jo Taylor Jr: Accused rapist gets 86 years in prison for brutally murdering pastor's pregnant wife
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA: Larry Jo Taylor Jr was sentenced to 86 years in jail on Friday, October 14, for breaking into the house of an Indianapolis pastor and killing his pregnant wife in November 2015. Following a four-day bench trial, Taylor was found guilty in September of burglary, theft, criminal confinement, and carrying a firearm without a permit in connection with the death of Amanda Blackburn, the pastor's wife.
He was found guilty on 12 of the total 14 counts that were brought against him. His two jury trials, the most recent in June, resulted in mistrials. "Nearly seven years after this tragic and senseless murder, justice has been secured for Amanda," Ryan Mears, the prosecutor for Marion County, stated.
Mears added, "We are 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. This case would not have been possible without cooperation from the community and their continued support over the past several years. I commend the Blackburn family and the community for the tremendous amount of patience and grace they have shown throughout this process. We hope that today’s resolution provides finality to a very difficult chapter."
"I feel very relieved. It's always a relief to know the truth and to be able to be as assured as we are after experiencing what we experienced this week. It's been a long journey for our family," Davey Blackburn, the pastor and the victim's husband, reportedly told WTHR.
Amanda, 28, was fatally shot in her home while 12 weeks pregnant with her second child in November 2015 on Indianapolis' north side, authorities believe Taylor was one of three males who were involved in the home invasions. She was murdered two years after moving to Indianapolis from South Carolina with her husband, pastor Davey Blackburn, to start Resonate Church, which was shut down in 2019.
Amanda's family members expressed some forgiveness to the offender at the sentence hearing and pleaded with him to change, according to the WTHR. Two of Taylor's co-defendants, Jalen E Watson and Diano Cortez Gordon, agreed to plea negotiations in exchange for helping in his prosecution.
In 2017, Jalen entered a guilty plea to counts of robbery and burglary. He was given a concurrent sentence of 29 years for the accusation of robbery and 20 years for the combined charge of burglary in March 2021. In 2018, Gordon agreed to plead guilty to counts of burglary and robbery causing serious bodily harm. In September, Gordon was given a 30-year prison term with a five-year suspension.