Larry Taylor Jr. and Jalen Watson, the two men arrested and charged on Monday with the murder of 28 year-old Amanda Blackburn, plead not guilty to the murder at their Tuesday morning court appearance.
Blackburn, who was 12 weeks pregnant, was killed during a home invasion on November 10. According to NBC News, a probable cause affidavit cites a witness who says Taylor gave his accomplices a very detailed confession explaining exactly how he killed Amanda. According to the affidavit, Taylor allegedly killed Blackburn so that she wouldn’t scratch him.
“Taylor stated that she charged at him and he shot her somewhere in the upper body so he would not be scratched,” the affidavit says. “Taylor then told them that 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.”
The affidavit said that soon after, Amanda’s husband, Davey Blackburn, returned home from the gym to find his wife lying face down and nude from the waist down. The couple’s 15-month-old son was still in his crib.
After the investigation, which only lasted two weeks and involved phone tracking and DNA testing, police arrested 18-year old Taylor and 21-year-old Watson. A third suspect, 24 year-old Diano Gordon, was arrested for his involvement in the burglary and held for a parole violation. Gordon was not charged with the murder of Blackburn, however, because apparently he never entered the house.
According to the probable cause affidavit, the key clues used to track down the three suspects were a stolen pink sweater, cell phone records, and an ATM receipt. The receipt and sweater were found in a stolen Chrysler Sebring, which, according to police, was the car used during the robberies. The authorities found the car on November 11 near the Blackburn home.
Police say the pink sweater was stolen from a house that was robbed right before the Blackburn’s and was located just two doors down from their home. The receipt was from a Chase Bank ATM, and the debit card shown on the receipt matched Amanda Blackburn’s stolen card. Investigators obtained a warrant to search the ATM’s camera and found video that showed the car and driver who was covering his face with the stolen sweater.
A DNA test on the sweater confirmed that Jalen Watson was one of the suspects. Watson’s ID was the first major break in the case, according to Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry.
— IndyStar (@indystar) November 25, 2015
The affidavit states that the cell phone records were obtained because Watson’s number was on file due to his parole for another burglary. Diano Gordon’s phone records were also obtained. Those records showed that both Watson and Gordon’s phones were in the area when the murder was committed. The phone records also put Gordon and Watson near the Chase Bank where Blackburn’s debit card was used.
Larry Taylor was the last piece of the puzzle. After reviewing surveillance footage from the neighborhood, police were able to identify Taylor’s phone number and track his address. Taylor would only admit that the phone was his, but never confessed to committing any crimes.
It wasn’t until a “cooperating individual” told police that Larry Taylor admitted to killing Amanda Blackburn that Taylor was arrested.
Larry Taylor and Jalen Watson gave only short “yes” or “no” answers during their joint court hearing, which lasted only 12 minutes, according to WBTW. The only time a longer answer was given was when the judge asked the two men about a speedy trial. “I don’t want that,” Taylor reportedly responded.
The Indianapolis Star reports that Marion County Prosecutors are asking for enhancements on the charges filed that could add anywhere from six to 20 years in prison if they’re convicted.
Taylor and Watson are both scheduled to return to court in January.
[Photo by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department via AP]