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Amanda Blackburn murder suspect agrees to plea, will testify in case

Posted at 4:00 PM, Oct 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-27 19:30:28-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- One of the three men accused in the 2015 murder of Amanda Blackburn has agreed to cooperate with the prosecution as part of a plea agreement.

Jalen Watson, 23, was charged along with two other men – Larry Jo Taylor and Diano Gordon – with murder, burglary, robbery and auto theft in connection with Blackburn’s death.

Police say the men entered Blackburn’s home on Sunnyfield Court sometime between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m. on the morning of Nov. 10, 2015. According to police, the men assaulted her and then shot her in the head.

TIMELINE | The murder of Amanda Blackburn

All three men have also been charged in a series of burglaries on San Clemente Drive and another house on Sunnyfield Court prior to Blackburn’s death.

MORE | Victim: ‘My life was just a conversation’

Taylor faces additional charges of robbery and murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Rolando Gonzalez-Hernandez on Nov. 4 – six days before Blackburn’s death.

On Friday, court records show a plea agreement was issued on Watson’s behalf in Marion County Criminal Court 5 for one count of robbery resulting in serious bodily injury and two counts of burglary.

In exchange, the most serious charges of murder and burglary resulting in serious bodily injury will be dropped.

A plea agreement was also entered for one count of burglary with a deadly weapon in connection with the other case against Watson.

In exchange for the dismissal of the most grievous charges against him, Watson has agreed to cooperate in the prosecution of his co-defendants, Taylor and Gordon. The plea agreement does not stipulate sentencing guidelines, meaning prosecutors will be free to argue for whatever sentence they deem appropriate.

A judge will still have to decide whether to accept the terms of the plea.

Court records show all of the charges remain pending against Watson’s co-defendants, Taylor and Gordon.

A jury trial is currently scheduled in Gordon’s case to begin in April.

PREVIOUSAmanda Blackburn murder: Davey Blackburn releases statement following arrest of suspect | Timeline: The murder of Amanda Blackburn | Pastor's wife killed in home break-in on northwest side | Amanda Blackburn murder: Prosecutor files for sentence enhancement | Amanda Blackburn murder: Husband shares her last journal entry