Man gets 86 years in prison for murder of pastor’s wife

Oct 14, 2022, 1:15 AM | Updated: 1:19 pm
FILE - This file photo provided by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department shows Larry Jo T...

FILE - This file photo provided by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department shows Larry Jo Taylor Jr. of Indianapolis. A judge declared a second mistrial Monday, June 6, 2022, for Taylor Jr., charged in the 2015 killing of a pastor's wife after jurors learned details about the Indianapolis case's long history in the court system. (Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department via AP, File)

(Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department via AP, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A man found guilty of murder, robbery and other charges in the 2015 killing of an Indianapolis pastor’s wife during a break-in was sentenced Friday to 86 years in prison.

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

“Nearly seven years after this tragic and senseless murder, justice has been secured for Amanda,” Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said. “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.”

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.

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. Gordon was sentenced in September to 30 years in prison, with five years suspended.

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Man gets 86 years in prison for murder of pastor’s wife