Indiana prosecutor's office files sentence enhancement in Amanda Blackburn murder

Police say two of the three suspects entered Amanda Blackburn's home early on the morning of November 10


Indiana prosecutors in the Amanda Blackburn murder case filed a sentence enhancement Tuesday for one of the suspects allegedly involved in her killing.

The enhanced sentence was filed against Larry Taylor, 18, in relation to murder resulting in the termination of pregnancy, according to Fox 59. It will be presented to the jury in trial and if it’s applied to the sentencing, Taylor could receive an extra 6 to 20 years to his possible sentence.

The sentence enhancement is made possible under a 2008 state law which was written after a 2008 shooting of a pregnant woman whose baby didn’t survive, according to Fox 59.

Taylor and Jalen E. Watson, 21, were booked on murder charges, prosecutors said in a press conference Monday. A possible accomplice, Diano Gordon, was being held as well on an alleged parole violation. Police believe the trio robbed at least two houses before encountering Blackburn in a third house.

DNA testing pointed to one of the men charged in Blackburn's death as the person who was later recorded as using her stolen bank card, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said.

Amanda's husband, Pastor Davey Blackburn, said in a statement Monday he was "extremely relieved" by the arrest of a suspect, but said it doesn't "undo the pain we are feeling." Blackburn said investigators have told him they have a "solidly-built case."

"We are thankful to our federal, state and local partnerships that aided in the apprehension of the suspect in this terrible and senseless crime," IMPD Chief Rick Hite said in the statement. "All victims of criminal homicides deserve closure, and as a community we must send a collective message that violence is not an option. Our detectives have worked tirelessly going days without sleep to solve murders in our city."

Detectives pieced together an account of the crime in which all three men entered the Blackburn home, which was unlocked, and confronted Amanda after Davey had left for an early morning workout, Fox 59 reported.

Authorities allege that while two of the suspects left the house to withdraw money with the pastor's ATM card, Taylor raped Amanda before shooting her. The crime took place with the couple's 15-month-old son lying in his crib upstairs.

Investigators linked the suspects to the Blackburn case through ATM receipts found in a car the three had allegedly stolen earlier this month. Crime lab technicians are also analyzing a gun that was found in the yard of a home near the Blackburns to determine if it had any connection to the case.

Amanda and Davey Blackburn had moved to Indianapolis from South Carolina to found the independent Resonate Church in 2012. More than 2,000 people attended a memorial service for Amanda Blackburn the Sunday after her death.

Fox 59 reports a pretrial conference for Taylor and Watson is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2016. The trial date hasn’t been set.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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