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Judge hands 29-year prison sentence to man linked to Amanda Blackburn's death

Posted at 3:00 PM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 15:09:15-04

INDIANAPOLIS — One of three men accused in the 2015 murder of Amanda Blackburn was sentenced to 29 years in prison and has agreed to testify against his accomplices, court records show.

Jalen Watson, 27, was charged along with Larry Jo Taylor and Diano Gordon with murder, burglary, robbery and auto theft in connection with Nov. 10, 2015, shooting that killed the 28-year-old pastor's wife. Blackburn was 12 weeks pregnant when she died.

Watson pleaded guilty to robbery and two counts of burglary in 2017. On March 12, Marion Superior Court Judge Grant Hawkins sentenced Watson to 29 years in prison. Hawkins noted in the order that he will consider reducing the sentence after Watson cooperates with prosecutors and if he stays on good behavior in prison.

Under terms of the plea agreement, records show prosecutors dismissed murder, burglary, theft and auto theft charges against Watson.

Prosecutors say Watson, Taylor and Gordon burglarized other several houses before they went inside Blackburn’s home in the 2800 block of Sunnyfield Court on the morning of Nov. 10, 2015.

Davey Blackburn, the then-pastor of Resonate Church, returned home from a gym workout that morning to find his wife had been shot in the head. Amanda Blackburn died two days later.

Murder and other charges are still pending against Taylor and Gordon.

Taylor is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on June 4; Gordon is scheduled to appear on June 8 for a hearing in which he, too, is expected to enter a guilty plea, records show.

Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at victor.ryckaert@wrtv.com or on Twitter: @vicryc.

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