A teen has been arrested in the rape and murder of a pregnant pastor’s wife in Indiana, police say.
Blackburn, who was 12 weeks pregnant, was found unconscious in her Indianapolis home on November 10 by her husband, Resonate Church Pastor Davey Blackburn. Their 1-year-old son was sleeping upstairs. Amanda Blackburn was taken to the hospital, but died two days later.
Two other suspects, Jalen Watson and Diano Gordan were also arrested, police said. Watson has been charged with felony murder. Charges against Gordan have not yet been made public.
Taylor is eligible for the death penalty because of the aggravating factors in the case, but Prosecutor Terry Curry said his office will take at least 30 days to decide whether they will pursue it. They will examine the evidence and talk to Blackburn’s family while making that decision.
Police said a booking photo of Taylor was not immediately available.
Here’s what you need to know about Taylor and the victim:
1. Taylor Is Accused of Raping & Shooting Blackburn While the Other Suspects Went to an ATM
Police believe the intruders broke into the Blackburns’ house at about 6 a.m., when Davey left to go to the gym, possibly thinking the house was empty, Fox 59 reports.
Amanda Blackburn was raped by Larry Taylor and then shot in the head, police sources told the news station. The other two men believed to be involved in the break-in had left the home with Blackburn’s ATM card to withdraw money when she was raped and killed, sources told Fox 59.
Davey Blackburn found his wife about two hours later, when he returned home.
According to online court records, Taylor, of Indianapolis is also facing charges including felony robbery, felony burglary, felony theft, criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon, auto theft, and carrying a handgun without a license.
Taylor was questioned last week, but was released without being charged, WISH-TV reports.
2. The Trio Reportedly Calls Themselves ‘The Kill Gang’
According to Fox 59, the suspects, 18-year-old Larry Taylor, 21-year-old Jalen Watson and 24-year-old Diano Gordan, called themselves “The Kill Gang.”
Gordan and Watson are being held on parole violations. Police said the three men committed two other burglaries in the same neighborhood before breaking into the Blackburns’ home.
The news station reports that detectives have possibly linked the trio to a previous rape and robbery at an apartment building in Indianapolis, where they were living. Two of the suspects are also believed to be responsible for a third burglary and car theft.
The first rape and robbery connected to the trio occurred on November 3, a week before Blackburn’s death, at the Westlake Apartments.
According to WTHR-TV, a 21-year-old woman was attacked and raped by two men while home alone in her apartment at about 10 p.m. The men broke into the apartment through unlocked patio doors.
They stole two televisions and a cell phone after raping the woman, police said. Her roommate asked anyone with information to contact police.
“I would say call because it could happen to you, someone you know, someone that you care about, so it’s better to have them off the street,” said Dareece Wilson, the woman’s roommate, who was at work at the time of the home invasion. “They took a couple of TVs, took her car. They took her cell phone and most of her belongings and then they said she went to her next door neighbor and called for help and that’s when her mom called us to come.”
3. Taylor Was Accused of Exposing Himself in a Target Parking This Summer
Taylor was arrested on charges that he exposed himself in a parking lot last year, WTHR reports.
He was charged June 30 with public indecency and public nudity, according to online court records. That case is still pending.
4. Blackburn & Her Husband Launched on a Social Media Campaign Called #ForIndy
Amanda and Davey Blackburn, both the children of pastors, moved from South Carolina to Indianapolis in 2012 and founded Resonate Church, according to its website.
They said the moved “with a dream and a calling to start a life-giving church that would connect with people who normally wouldn’t connect with church. Resonate’s vision is to connect people to life-change and see a contagious movement of God spread throughout Indianapolis.”
Davey Blackburn was previously on the staff at NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina, for four years. Amanda Blackburn was the daughter of Phil Byars, the lead pastor at First Baptist Church in Elkhart, Indiana, according to the Elkhart Truth.
Amanda Blackburn graduated from Elkhart Christian Academy in 2006 and the Pensacola Christian College in 2008. She married her husband in 2008 and they had their first son, Weston, in 2014, according to her obituary.
She and her husband created a hashtag campaign last year, #ForIndy, to inspire acts of kindness in Indianapolis.
“We really believe it takes a lot of people, an entire city, a whole movement to become for each other and for the city,” Davey Blackburn said last August. “We just didn’t want to be a church that was known for protests, that was known for picketing. We wanted to be a church that was known for what we’re for.”
Amanda Blackburn’s Twitter feed is filled with posts about the acts of kindness she and her husband made as part of the campaign.
5. Blackburn’s Husband Says He ‘Chooses the Route of Forgiveness’ Over Anger
Davey Blackburn issued a statement after the arrests, saying he was relieved the suspects were caught.
“Though it does not undo the pain we are feeling, I was extremely relieved to get the news of the arrest made last night of Amanda’s killer,” Davey Blackburn said in a statement. “The investigators have assured me they have a solidly-built case to ensure justice is levied and the process is expedited. The family and I couldn’t be more thankful for the level of compassion and professionalism the IMPD and investigators have shown us through the last couple of weeks.”
Davey Blackburn added:
Though everything inside of me wants to hate, be angry, and slip into despair I choose the route of forgiveness, grace and hope. If there is one thing I’ve learned from Amanda in the 10 years we were together, it’s this: Choosing to let my emotions drive my decisions is recipe for a hopeless and fruitless life. Today I am deciding to love, not hate. Today I am deciding to extend forgiveness, not bitterness. Today I am deciding to hope, not despair. By Jesus’ power at work within us, the best is STILL yet to come. Even when I don’t see it, I believe it to be true.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story said Blackburn was 13 months pregnant. She was about 12 weeks pregnant.