Indianapolis Men Plead Not Guilty in Murder of Amanda Blackburn

Larry Taylor (left) and Jalen Watson (right) have been charged with murder
Larry Taylor (left) and Jalen Watson (right) have been charged with murder

Two men arrested in connection with the Indianapolis murder of a pregnant preacher’s wife pleaded not guilty Tuesday, according to defense attorney Dominic Martin.

Larry Taylor, 18, and Jaylen Watson, 21, were charged with murder in the death of Amanda Blackburn, who was shot and killed in a home invasion this month.

The next hearing in the case is set for January 8.

Earlier, a charging document stated that Taylor would face two counts of murder, murder while in the commission or attempted commission of one of a host of other crimes, burglary resulting in serious bodily injury, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, two counts of burglary, criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon, three counts of theft of property valued between $750 and $50,000, auto theft and carrying a handgun without a license. All but the last charge are felonies.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said on Monday that Watson, 21, faced the same charges, with the exception that his charging document does not include criminal confinement or carrying a handgun without a license.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department violent crimes unit worked with the gangs unit and federal marshals to arrest Taylor. Chief Rick Hite praised the cooperation that led to the arrest.

A crime spree
Blackburn was killed at the end of a three-man crime spree, according to newly released court documents that contain information from an unnamed “cooperating individual.”

Taylor, Watson and a third man are accused of breaking into a home and stealing car keys, a laptop and an iPhone from the sleeping occupant’s bedroom.

At some point during that robbery, the men discovered they were on surveillance video and disconnected the camera, the documents say. Taylor allegedly wanted to kill the occupant because he had been seen on camera, but Watson and the third man convinced him to leave.

They took off in a stolen car and drove to another home, where they stole televisions and a laptop, the documents say. The three men then turned their attention to a third target — the Blackburns’ home.

There, the documents say, Taylor hit Blackburn in the mouth with a gun and stayed behind as the other two attempted to use her ATM card to get money. He later told others that he killed Blackburn after “she charged at him and he shot her somewhere in the upper body so he would not be scratched.”

“Taylor them told them that 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,” the documents say.

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Source: CNN | Eliott C. McLaughlin and Joseph Netto