Posted on December 31, 2015

Teen Who ‘Shot Dead Pastor’s Wife and Raped Another Woman at Gunpoint’ Now Charged With Killing a Man for $10

Anneta Konstantinides and Snejana Farberov, Daily Mail, December 30, 2015

An 18-year-old man accused of killing an Indianapolis pastor’s pregnant wife during a home invasion and raping another woman is now facing a second murder charge stemming from a fatal shooting that occurred during what a prosecutor described as an ‘unprecedented’ eight-day crime spree.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced on Tuesday that Larry Jo Taylor Jr. has been charged with murder and robbery in the November 4 fatal shooting of 27-year-old Rolando Gonzalez-Hernandez.

Gonzalez’s body was found next to his Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV at an apartment complex in the 4500 block of Candletree Circle on the city’s west side.

Larry Jo Taylor Jr.

Larry Jo Taylor Jr.

A probable cause affidavit indicates three cooperating witnesses say Taylor told them he robbed and shot someone at the La Joya Apartments where Gonzalez was found with a fatal gunshot wound to the head at around 8.30pm, according to the station WTHR.

One of the witnesses told police Taylor said he robbed and shot ‘a Mexican’ and found only $10 in his wallet.

Another witness said Taylor showed them a news clip about someone getting shot at La Joya Apartments, and a third witness claimed the 18-year-old told them outright that he shot someone at that location, according to The Indy Channel. 

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said the felony charges Taylor now faces–two murders, a rape during a home burglary and two other home burglaries–are the most violent he has brought against a single individual during his five years as prosecutor. Those crimes occurred between November 3 and November 10, court documents allege.

‘We’ve charged Mr. Taylor with five very violent crimes in the course of an eight-day period and certainly in our five years in office that’s unprecedented,’ he said in an interview. Curry said the only comparable cases he has handled were two violent home invasions that occurred in October 2013.

Taylor and 21-year-old co-defendant Jalen Watson face murder charges in the November 10 shooting death of 28-year-old pastor’s wife Amanda Blackburn.

They also face burglary and other charges in a November 3 home invasion where a young woman was raped at gunpoint.

Taylor allegedly assaulted the victim, a handgun held to the back of her neck, while Watson went through the apartment and took items belonging to the woman and her roommate.

A cell phone, purse, laptop, jewelry, headphones, and television, as well as the victim’s car, were taken from her apartment, according to Fox 59.

Both men have been charged with burglary, theft, armed robbery, criminal confinement and auto theft in that case.

Taylor also faces three counts of rape. He was charged after DNA evidence was discovered by police.

He is facing 13 additional charges, including murder, after the ‘knowing and intentional killing’ of Blackburn, authorities said.

Amanda Blackburn was 12 weeks pregnant when she was shot in the head as she tried to defend herself and her one-year-old son Weston from home intruders on November 10. She died in hospital.

Detectives believe Amanda was killed after three intruders entered her unlocked house and found her alone, awaiting the return of her husband, Davey Blackburn, from an early morning workout.

The Blackburn family.

The Blackburn family.

The men had allegedly burglarized two houses and stole a car before authorities said they arrived at the Blackburn home and entered through the unlocked front door, according to Fox 59.

Diano Gordon, 24, has been accused of committing the burglaries with Larry Taylor and Jalen Watson.

Gordon, who has been in custody since November 19 for a parole violation, has been charged with two counts of burglary and two counts of theft, according to WISH.

Police believe Taylor, 18, killed Amanda after Watson, 21, and Gordon stole her debit cards and drove to a nearby ATM to withdraw money while he remained at the property.

The affidavit stated that Taylor shot Blackburn three times, including once in the back of the head, and then leaned over her injured body to ‘watch her bleed’ reported

‘Taylor stated that she charged at him and he shot her somewhere in the upper body so he would not be scratched,’ the court filing said.

‘Taylor then told them he leaned over her body and shot her in the back of the head. He leaned further, looked at her face, and watched her bleed.’

When Watson and Gordon returned to the home to pick up Taylor, he confessed to shooting her, according to a probable cause affidavit.

When Davey Blackburn returned to his home around 8.20am he found his wife lying in a pool of blood on the floor. Her underwear was next to her and her shirt had been pulled up.

Police said it is not clear if Amanda was sexually assaulted before she was shot.

The couple’s 15-month-old son Weston was in his crib upstairs but had not been harmed.

Davey called 911, and Amanda was rushed to hospital.

Police said Amanda was shot in the back of the head, the upper back and the left arm. She was taken off life support and declared dead the next day.

Investigators linked the suspects to the Blackburn case through ATM receipts found in a car the three had allegedly stolen earlier this month.

Detectives gathered evidence linking the suspects to the use of Blackburn’s credit card, and a gun was also recovered, WTTV reported.

Blackburn, a pastor at Resonate Church, said he is ‘relieved’ those allegedly responsible for her murder have been caught and would not be able to hurt anyone else.

But the 30-year-old also admitted that it didn’t ‘undo the pain we are feeling’.

‘In some ways, it actually makes it harder because there’s actually a face and a name to the events,’ he told ABC.

Incredibly, he says he has chosen to forgive Amanda’s killers.

‘I was extremely relieved to get the news of the arrest,’ he told reporters.

‘Though everything inside of me wants to hate, be angry, and slip into despair I choose the route of forgiveness, grace and hope.’

Watson and Taylor are both being held at the Marion County Jail.

A murder conviction in Indiana holds a 45 to 60 year prison sentence–with some perpetrators getting life in prison or the death penalty.

Prosecutors have filed for a sentencing enhancement against Taylor, which means he could face an additional 20 years in prison if convicted because Blackburn was pregnant, reported WTHR Today.

Blackburn’s husband said he was not sure how to face the future without his beloved wife who ‘made it her life’s calling to love and serve everyone she knew’.

‘Everything goes in waves,’ he said. ‘There’ll be one minute that we feel angry and one minute we feel lonely and one minute I feel despair and one minute I feel hope and one minute I feel joy.

‘Almost everything I see and experience reminds me of her and so there’ll be something that will just trigger sadness.’