Mistrial Declared in Murder Case After Some Jurors Admit Knowing Slain Woman Was Pregnant

An Indiana judge declared a mistrial on Wednesday in the case for one of the men charged in the 2015 fatal shooting of Amanda Balckburn after discovering some jurors knew of her pregnancy even though they weren't supposed to.

During the first day in a murder trial of Larry Jo Taylor Jr., Marion County Judge Grant Hawkins said he questioned the jurors on what they knew about the case.

During questioning, he discovered that multiple jurors had learned that "Ms. Blackburn was pregnant at the time of her death," he told the Indianapolis Star. The defense had previously won to keep the fact from jurors that Blackburn was 12 weeks pregnant with her second child at the time of the murder.

Since more than one juror knew the information, Hawkins declared a mistrial. The court will have a new jury moving forward.

Blackburn, 28, was married to a pastor, Davey Blackburn. She was shot and killed on November 10, 2015, during a home invasion in Indianapolis. The Indy Star reported the suspects saw her husband leave their home before they entered the residence. A neighbor reported hearing gunshots about half an hour after Davey Blackburn left. Amanda Blackburn lived another two days before she died.

The Indy Star reported Blackburn's murder was a part of an eight-day crime spree, according to court documents. In addition to Blackburn's murder, the documents allege Taylor raped a woman and burglarized an apartment, and Taylor killed a man because he only had $10 while Taylor was trying to rob him.

The case for Blackburn's murder has been ongoing for six years, largely due to the coronavirus delaying proceedings and the case containing multiple defendants. The Marion County Prosecutor's Office said the pandemic "affected our Court system for nearly two years," the Indy Star reported.

Larry Jo Taylor Jr, Mistrial, Indiana
A judge declared a mistrial December 6, 2021, in the case of a man charged in the fatal 2015 shooting of an Indianapolis pastor's wife after learning some jurors knew she had been pregnant — a fact defense attorneys had successfully moved to keep from the jury. Above, Larry Jo Taylor Jr. 18, of Indianapolis. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, File/AP Photo

Taylor, 24, is one of three men who was charged in connection with her killing. He faces four counts of murder, three counts of burglary, three counts of theft and a count of robbery. Taylor also is charged with criminal confinement, auto theft and carrying a handgun without a license.

His two co-defendants accepted plea deals on the condition they would cooperate in Taylor's prosecution.

Co-defendant Jalen E. Watson pleaded guilty in 2017 to one count of robbery and two counts of burglary. He was sentenced in March to 29 years for the robbery charge and 20 combined years for the burglary charges, and ordered to serve the sentences concurrently.

The other co-defendant, Diano Cortez Gordon, pleaded guilty in 2018 to robbery resulting in serious bodily injury and two counts of burglary. His case is ongoing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Crime Scene Tape, Police, Philadelphia
The Indy Star reported Blackburn's murder was a part of an eight-day crime spree, according to court documents. In addition to Blackburn's murder, the documents allege Taylor raped a woman and burglarized an apartment, and Taylor killed a man because he only had $10 while Taylor was trying to rob him. Above, tape cordons off the scene of a shooting in the Ogontz section of Philadelphia on August 15, 2019. Matt Rourke/AP Photo