INDIANAPOLIS — A Marion County judge declared a mistrial in a high-profile case against a man accused of murdering a pastor’s wife in 2015. Amanda Blackburn, pregnant with her second child, was killed inside her house on Sunnyfield Court during a home invasion that November.
Larry Jo Taylor Jr. faces several charges including murder, robbery and criminal confinement in Amanda’s case. Taylor is one of three men originally charged and the only one who was not given a plea deal.
Amanda shared the home with her husband, Pastor David Blackburn, and their young son. Amanda was 12 weeks pregnant with their second child.
Taylor is not facing charges for the death of the unborn baby, which is why the judge declared a mistrial when jurors found out about the pregnancy.
“This just being a mistrial indicates nobody did anything wrong, it was just a set of facts that came up and they determined that they could no longer go to the jury and get a fair outcome,” John Tompkins said.
Tompkins, a criminal defense attorney, said the jury can realize they know more about the case after jury selection.
“Somebody may have become aware during the trial that they knew something,” Tompkins said. “So, during jury selection, they didn’t put two and two together, and then when they started hearing the facts it stirred something in their memory and they realized that they had a bias they didn’t realize in the beginning. Then if you compound that by jurors talking to each other in the jury room, and sharing that kind of stuff amongst each other, pretty soon you lose a whole lot of jurors.”
The other defendants in the case, Jalen Watson and Diano Gordon, accepted a plea deal and agreed to help prosecutors with the case against Taylor. Officials tell us we should learn more information later this week about when jury selection begins again.
One juror asked Judge Grant Hawkins why this case is taking so long. Judge Hawkins cited COVID, whittling down 100 witnesses to 33 and a series of attorneys over the years.