INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department announced two men have been arrested in connection with the Amanda Blackburn murder. Detectives arrested 18-year-old Larry Taylor Jr. late Sunday night and 21-year-old Jalen Watson.
In a release, IMPD said its Violent Crimes Unit, Gangs Unit and U.S. Marshals were involved in the arrest. IMPD said Taylor now faces a preliminary murder charge. According to court records, Watson is facing preliminary charges of murder as a co-defendant.
IMPD Chief Rick Hite released a statement overnight saying:
“We are thankful to our federal, state and local partnerships that aided in the apprehension of the suspect in this terrible and senseless crime. All victims of criminal homicides deserve closure, and as a community we must send a collective message that violence is not an option. Our detectives have worked tirelessly going days without sleep to solve murders in our city. With the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler and Prosecutor Terry Curry justice will be done!”
Sources within IMPD told 24-Hour News 8’s Julian Grace that Taylor was one of three men questioned last week, but he was later released.
Police also questioned Watson.
Online court records show Taylor faces 13 charges including murder, burglary, theft, robbery, auto theft, criminal confinement and carrying a handgun without a license. Watson charges include murder, burglary, theft, robbery among other charges.
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Blackburn, 28, the pregnant wife of pastor Davey Blackburn, was shot during a home invasion in Indianapolis Nov. 10 she later died at the hospital, according to police.
A photo of a suspect in the case was released last week.
Appearing on “Inside Edition” Thursday, Davey Blackburn begged the public for information that could help the investigation.
“If anybody is withholding information, we would beg them, please come forward,” he said.
On Monday, Davey released a statement in it he shares the three things he hopes to see in the weeks and months to come.
“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. 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. My hope is for three things in the weeks and months to come:
- That the court system would have wisdom on how to prosecute this man, so that no one else endures the pain Amanda and our family have had to endure because of his actions.
- That through all of this and although there will be great consequences for his actions, he would become truly sorry for what he has done and would even begin to experience the life-transforming power of the Grace and Mercy of Jesus Christ.
- 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. 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.”
More than 2,000 people gathered at Amanda Blackburn’s celebration of life service.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry held a press conference laying out the criminal charges of the case. IMPD investigators and Chief Hite also released details on what went into solving the case.
Investigators say many officers working the case worked without sleep to bring justice to the Blackburns. They also said Blackburn’s neighbors were, “helpful, instrumental and why we’re here today.”
Curry said a third person of interest could very well be charged along with Taylor and Watson. The suspects are from the northwest side of Indianapolis and other recent burglaries in the area led investigators to the Blackburns. Despite media reports, Curry said there is insufficient evidence to charge anyone with sexually assaulting Blackburn.
He also said the “first significant break” in the investigation was DNA on the sweater of someone at an ATM. Investigators believe that “Taylor is the person who committed the killing.”
The family of Amanda will have a say in whether or not the suspects will face the death penalty in the case.
Chief Hite pleaded to the community saying “We need the community’s help in all these cases.. We have unsolved homicides in this city.” Curry echoed Chief Hite by saying “We take every single crime seriously.”