Judge Convicts in 2015 Slaying

Amanda Blackburn was shot to death in her Indianapolis home
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 6, 2022 6:40 PM CDT
Updated Sep 22, 2022 4:40 PM CDT
2nd Mistrial Declared in 2015 Slaying
In this photo provided by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is Larry Jo Taylor Jr. 18, of Indianapolis. Taylor was charged with murder Monday, Nov. 23, 2015 in the the death of Amanda Blackburn, who was shot in the head during a home invasion.   (Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department via AP)

(Newser) Update: Almost seven years after Amanda Blackburn was shot to death in her home, and after two mistrials, Larry Jo Taylor Jr. has been convicted in the killing. In a four-day trial, an Indiana judge found Taylor guilty of burglary, theft, and other charges, while acquitting him on a robbery count, the AP reports. The Marion County prosecutor said his office was pleased with the verdict. "It has taken a tremendous amount of patience and grace to get to this moment," said Ryan Mears. Our story from June follows:

A judge declared a second mistrial Monday for a man charged in an Indianapolis woman's 2015 killing, after jurors learned details about the case's long history in the court system. Larry Jo Taylor Jr.'s trial was scheduled to begin Monday, but Marion Superior Court Judge Grant Hawkins declared a mistrial after a juror told other jurors about the case's background, including that a mistrial had been declared during Taylor’s first trial in December, the Indianapolis Star reported. Taylor's trial has now been rescheduled to August.

Taylor is 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. Per WTHR, the attack occurred while her husband was at the gym; their toddler daughter was home but was not injured.

Hawkins had declared a mistrial in Taylor's first trial after learning some jurors knew Blackburn had been pregnant—a fact defense attorneys successfully moved to keep from the jury. Taylor, 25, faces 13 charges, including murder, burglary, and criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon. His 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 and was sentenced to 29 years for robbery plus 20 for combined burglary charges, with sentences to be served concurrently. Diano Cortez Gordon pleaded guilty in 2018 to robbery resulting in serious bodily injury and burglary charges but has not yet been sentenced. (Read more mistrial stories.)

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