Pastor Prayed With Robbery Suspect Before Police Shooting pixabay

A man who was convicted for the murder of a pastor’s wife in November 2015 was sentenced on Friday to 86 years in prison. Larry Jo Taylor Jr. was slapped with an 86-year prison sentence in the Indiana Department of Corrections for the murder of Amanda Blackburn at her home in Indianapolis.

Prior to his sentencing, the victim’s family shared statements with the court offering Taylor forgiveness and encouragement to emulate the life of Blackburn. The victim’s husband, Pastor Davey Blackburn addressed Taylor saying he had lost his rock, his first love and his best friend, WTHR13 reported.

Taylor was previously convicted in September following a four-day bench trial for burglary, theft, criminal confinement and carrying a gun without a license. The same weapon he used in the killing of the pastor’s wife. He was then acquitted of robbery charges while two of his recent jury trials ended in mistrials.

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears commended the Blackburn family for showing patience and grace throughout the process nearly seven years after such a senseless and tragic death. “We hope that today’s resolution provides finality to a very difficult chapter,” he said.

Amanda Blackburn was fatally shot by Taylor during a home invasion when she was 12 weeks pregnant with her second child. On the morning of that fateful day on Nov. 15, 2015, police were dispatched in response to a call relating to a break-in at the 2800 block of Sunnyfield Court. The pastor testified and recalled getting up at 4:30 a.m. to read his Bible then proceeded to the gym around 6 a.m. He had left the door unlocked because they only shared one house key.

He returned from the gym around after an hour but stayed in the driveway to finish a conversation with a friend so as not to wake anyone in the house. Upon entering the house around 8 a.m., he found his wife face down, naked on the floor near the Christmas tree, bleeding and unconscious.

The crime involved three individuals, Jalen E. Watson, Diano Cortez Gordon and Taylor. Both Watson and Gordon accepted plea deals and pleaded guilty to robbery and burglary charges as well as serious bodily injury. Watson was sentenced to 29 years in prison in March 2021, bringing to justice over 20 combined years of burglary charges and was ordered to serve his sentence concurrently. Gordon was sentenced to 30 years in prison last September with a 5-year suspended sentence.

Fargo Courtroom
Courtroom, Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, Fargo, North Dakota. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images