Judge declares mistrial in case of pastor’s wife’s slaying

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A judge declared a mistrial in the case of a man charged in the fatal 2015 shooting of an Indianapolis pastor’s wife after learning some jurors knew she had been pregnant — a fact defense attorneys had successfully moved to keep from the jury.

Marion County Judge Grant Hawkins declared the mistrial Monday on the first day of Larry Jo Taylor Jr.’s murder trial in Amanda Blackburn’s killing.

Hawkins told The Indianapolis Star more than one juror had learned “Ms. Blackburn was pregnant at the time of her death” even though jurors were not supposed to know about her pregnancy.

The court will seat a new jury for a subsequent trial.

Blackburn, 28, was fatally shot in November 2015 in her Indianapolis home during a home invasion. She was 12 weeks pregnant with her second child.

Taylor, 24, is one of three men who was charged in connection with her killing. He faces four counts of murder, three counts of burglary, three counts of theft and a count of robbery. Taylor also is charged with criminal confinement, auto theft and carrying a handgun without a license.

His two co-defendants accepted plea deals on the condition they would cooperate in Taylor’s prosecution.

Investigators have said the suspects saw Davey Blackburn, the woman’s husband, leave their home and then began a burglary.

Co-defendant Jalen E. Watson pleaded guilty in 2017 to one count of robbery and two counts of burglary. He was sentenced in March to 29 years for the robbery charge and 20 combined years for the burglary charges, and ordered to serve the sentences concurrently.

The other co-defendant, Diano Cortez Gordon, pleaded guilty in 2018 to robbery resulting in serious bodily injury and two counts of burglary. His case is ongoing.

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