The Murder of Amanda Blackburn

Indianapolis Pastor's Pregnant Wife Shot in Home Invasion

Taylor, Watson, Gordon
Mug Shots

On November 10, 2015, Pastor Davey Blackburn of Resonate Church in Indianapolis returned from an early morning workout at the gym to find his pregnant wife unresponsive with a gunshot wound to the head. His 15-month-old son was found in another room unharmed.

Amanda Blackburn, 28, died two days later in a hospital when she was removed from life support. She was 13 weeks pregnant. Her unborn child did not survive.

Here are the latest developments in the Amanda Blackburn case.

Third Man Arrested in Murder of Amanda Blackburn

Jan. 16, 2016 - A third man has been charged with murder in connection with the Nov. shooting death of an Indianapolis pastor's pregnant wife.

Prosecutors charged 24-year-old Diano Gordon (B-C) with two counts of murder of 28-year-old Amanda Blackburn. 

Gordon, who has been in custody for parole violations since Nov. 19, is also facing earlier charges of burglary and theft of two home invasions which occurred right before the break-in of the Blackburn's home.

Co-defendants Larry Taylor (L), 18, and Jalen Watson (R), 21, have also been charged with murder in the Blackburn case.

Additional Burglary and Rape Charges

Dec. 2015 -  Larry Taylor and Jalen Watson have been charged in connection to a Nov. 3 home invasion case that is very similar to the Blackburn case,

According to prosecutors, Taylor and Watson broke into the apartment of a young woman who was taking a shower.

Taylor sexually assaulted and raped the woman while holding a gun to the back of her neck while Watson searched for valuables to steal.

Items stolen from the woman's apartment included a laptop, cell phone, purse, headphones, jewelry and the woman's car. Both men were charged with burglary, theft, armed robbery, criminal confinement and auto theft and Taylor was charged with rape.

Taylor Facing Another Murder Charge

Taylor is also facing an additional murder charge in an unrelated case. On Dec. 29, 2015, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry charged Taylor with the murder and robbery of 27-year-old Rolando Gonzalez-Hernandez.  

Gonzalez suffered a fatal gunshot wound to his head and was found lying on the ground next to his SUV at an apartment complex. A witness told police that Taylor admitted that he robbed and shot a Mexican at the same apartment complex.

Two Men Arrested in Amanda Blackburn's Murder

Nov. 23, 2015 - Two men are facing homicide charges in connection with the home invasion murder of an Indianapolis pastor's pregnant wife as well as a string of burglary, robbery and theft charges. Larry Taylor, 18, and Jalen Watson, 21, have both been charged with murder in the death of Amanda Blackburn.

Taylor and Watson both face charges for felony burglary, theft, robbery and auto theft. Additionally, Taylor has been charged with felony criminal confinement and a misdemeanor unlicensed handgun charge.

A third suspect in the case, Diano Gordon, has not yet been charged in connection with the burglaries and robbery. He is being held on a parole violation by the Indianapolis Police Department.

Although initial reports said the victim had been raped, no sexual assault charged were filed by prosecutors after the arrests, which came as a result of DNA evidence.

"The big break in the case was a DNA CODIS hit that tied Amanda Blackburn to a sweatshirt covering the face of an individual," Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said at a press conference.

Home Invasion Robbery

From Curry's statements at the press conference and probable cause documents filed in the case, the following details of the case have emerged:

On the morning of November 10, Taylor, Watson and Gordon were involved in burglarizing two homes, including one about a block from the Blackburn home. When Davey Blackburn left home around 6 a.m. for a workout at the gym, police believed the burglars saw him leave and targeted his home.

Investigators believe the three men broke into the Blackburn home looking for money. They found Amanda Blackburn's Chase bank ATM card in her wallet. While Watson and Gordon took the card to an ATM machine to try to withdraw cash, Taylor remained at the home.

Cash Withdrawn from ATM Machine

Video from the ATM machine showed that a man pulled up in a Chrysler Sebring, which was stolen at one of the earlier burglaries, with a pink garment wrapped around his face. The garment was later identified by the victim of the burglary.

A voicemail from Chase Bank on Amanda's phone reported a failed attempt to withdraw $500 from the ATM machine. A later attempt to withdraw $400 was successful, court records show.

Taylor reportedly later told the other two that after they left, Amanda Blackburn charged at him and he shot her so that he "would not get scratched."

According to police reports, Taylor said "he leaned over her body and shot her in the back of the head. He leaned further, looked at her face, and watched her bleed."

Battered, Shot and Bleeding

When Davey Blackburn returned home from the gym, he remained in his car talking on the phone for almost an hour before he went inside.

Inside the house he found his pregnant wife battered, shot and bleeding. She had a gunshot wound to her lower left arm that traveled up her bicep. She had another gunshot wound in her upper back.

She died from a gunshot wound to her head. She had scratches on her left cheek, a split lip and a lower tooth knocked out, police reports said.

When she was found, Amanda Blackburn was nude. Her underwear was next to her on the floor. Her shirt had been pulled up "as if someone tried to pull it off," Curry said, but also said it was not clear if she had been sexually assaulted.

Also next to her on the floor were her credit cards and wallet. Her bank card was missing.

Surveillance Video Helped

When police began their investigation of the case, Blackburn's neighbors came forward with information and surveillance videos.

"The community from day one was very helpful, instrumental and why we're here today. They came forward with info, with surveillance, and was helpful when we canvassed," Indianapolis Deputy Chief Bill Lorah said.

But, the big break in the case came when DNA from saliva on the pink sweater used by the man in the ATM video, which was later found in the stolen Sebring, matched up to Jalen Watson.

Watson's cell phone records from the morning of the burglaries led them to Taylor and Gordon. The gun used in the crime has been recovered and at least one of the suspects is cooperating with investigators, police said.

Thankful for Arrests

Meanwhile, Davey Blackburn, who at one point during the investigation came under suspicion, if not by police, but some in the news media, said he was thankful to learn of the arrests.

"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," Davey Blackburn told reporters.

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."

Davey Blackburn, a former youth pastor at the NewSpring megachurch in Anderson, South Carolina, moved to Indianapolis with his wife Amanda to start a new church in 2012.

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Montaldo, Charles. "The Murder of Amanda Blackburn." ThoughtCo, Jan. 20, 2016, thoughtco.com/the-murder-of-amanda-blackburn-971122. Montaldo, Charles. (2016, January 20). The Murder of Amanda Blackburn. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-murder-of-amanda-blackburn-971122 Montaldo, Charles. "The Murder of Amanda Blackburn." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-murder-of-amanda-blackburn-971122 (accessed November 19, 2017).