It started on Nov. 3, police allege, when 18-year-old Larry Jo Taylor held a gun to a woman’s head and raped her while an accomplice rifled through her apartment, grabbing jewelry, a laptop, some purses, a phone.
It ended seven days later, when Taylor and two others allegedly barged into the unlocked Indianapolis apartment of Amanda Blackburn. Taylor hit the 28-year-old woman with his gun according to charging documents. Then, while two other men were allegedly out retrieving money from an ATM, he shot her three times in the chest and head. As Blackburn, who was 12 weeks pregnant, lay dying, Taylor leaned over her and looked at her face, he would later say. He watched her bleed.
The two brutal incidents bookended eight days of “unprecedented” violence, an Indianapolis prosecutor said Tuesday. Taylor is accused of committing some 17 felonies — related to the rape, Blackburn’s killing, a second alleged murder committed during another violent robbery, and two home burglaries — in just over a week.
“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,” Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry told the AP.
Jalen Watson, 21, has also been charged with murder in Blackburn’s death; 24-year-old Diano Gordon faces related burglary charges. Both Watson and Taylor are being held in the Marion County Jail awaiting an early January pretrial hearing.
Last month, Watson and Taylor pleaded not guilty to the charges related to Blackburn’s death, according to the Associated Press.
The Nov. 10 killing of Blackburn, a pastor’s wife and mother of a 15-month-old son with a second baby on the way, drew national shock and sympathy for its brutality and seeming randomness. But for more than a week, police allege, Taylor had embarked on a headlong rush into violence.
On Monday, Taylor was also charged with robbery and murder in the fatal shooting of Rolando Gonzalez-Hernandez, a 27-year-old Indianapolis man whose body was found next to his car in a parking lot at the La Joya apartment complex.
According to the Indianapolis Star, citing a probable cause affidavit, Taylor had told multiple people he was planning to “hit a lick” — commit a robbery — at the complex. Later, he told an informant he’d shot a man after stealing $10 from his wallet. He also showed off a news clipping reporting Gonzalez-Hernandez’s Nov. 4 death.
The day before, Taylor and one of the men charged in Blackburn’s killing, Watson, burglarized an apartment complex eight miles away from the home where Blackburn was shot, according to charging documents.
The victim told police that she was alone and taking a shower when the two men broke into her apartment, ordered her out of the shower and told her to lay down on the bedroom floor, according to the Indianapolis Star. Taylor sexually assaulted the woman at gunpoint while Watson searched the house. Several times he returned to the bedroom and told Taylor to stop assaulting the women, the Star reported.
That’s “not what we’re here for, don’t do that,” he said, according to court documents. “Stop touching her.”
Taylor and Watson forced the woman to enter passwords to unlock her phone and computer, and demanded money and her bank cards. Minutes later, they went to an apartment several miles away and sold the victim’s belongings, according to the Indianapolis Star. The people who bought the stolen goods handed them over to the police and were able to pick Taylor and Watson out of a photo array.
A week later, early on the morning of Nov. 10, Taylor, Watson and Gordon embarked on the crime spree that would culminate in Blackburn’s shooting.
First they broke into an apartment several miles away, where they stole an iPhone from the sleeping occupant’s bedroom, car keys, a laptop and a wallet, according to an account provided by an unnamed “cooperating individual” in a probable cause affidavit.
After finding a security camera in the residence, Taylor wanted to kill the sleeping occupant, the account said. But Watson and Gordon talked him out of it, and the trio moved on to a second house. There they grabbed TVs and a laptop, loaded them into a previously stolen car. They kept driving.
It was still early when they arrived at the Blackburn residence. Davey Blackburn, the pastor of Resonate Indianapolis church, had left for the gym. The couple’s 15-month-old son was upstairs in his crib.
— Lindsey Eaton (@LindseyEatoNews) November 12, 2015
Taylor, Watson and Gordon entered through an unlocked front door, according to the probable cause affidavit. At some point the latter two left to withdraw money from an ATM, and that’s when Taylor shot Blackburn. The toddler, left alone in his crib, was unharmed.
Davey Blackburn returned home from the gym around 7:30 a.m. that morning, but lingered in the driveway for another 50 minutes, talking on the phone with a friend, according to the affidavit. When he finally entered the house, he found his wife nude and face down in blood on the living room floor; Curry, the Marion County prosecutor, has previously said there is “no sufficient evidence to file sexual assault charges.”
Amanda Blackburn was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, where she died two days later. Her unborn child also didn’t survive.
Taylor and Watson were arrested in late November, 10 days after Blackburn died in the hospital.
In a statement posted shortly after on the Resonate Church’s Facebook page, Davey Blackburn said he was “extremely relieved” by the news of Taylor’s arrest and that he hoped “that Jesus would give me and our family a heart of forgiveness.”
“Though everything inside of me wants to hate, be angry, and slip into despair I choose the route of forgiveness, grace and hope,” he wrote. “…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.”