DNA, cell phone records help find suspects in murder of Indiana pastor’s pregnant wife

Larry Jo Taylor Jr., 18, and Jalen Watson, 21. Source: Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A stolen sweater, ATM receipt, and cell phone records were key clues in tracking down the men suspected of killing Amanda Blackburn.

The two men facing murder charges are 21-year-old Jalen Watson and 18-year-old Larry Taylor Jr.

Amanda Blackburn, right, with her son and husband. (Photo Provided/Resonate Church)
PHOTOS: Pictures of the Blackburn family

According to the probable cause affidavit, the sweater and receipt for were found in the stolen Chrysler Sebring police believe was used in the crime. Police found the car in the 3800 block of Rockwood Avenue.

Court documents state the receipt came from an ATM located at a Chase Bank off Michigan Road. Investigators said the debit card used on the receipt matched Blackburn’s stolen card.

Investigators got a warrant to search a camera on the machine. Video during the time the card was used showed the stolen car and the driver. Court documents state the video showed the driver wearing a hoodie while also covering his face with a pink sweater.

Investigators ran a DNA test on the sweater and got a hit on Jalen Watson. Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said that was the first major break in the case.

According to the documents, Watson was on parole for burglary which meant his cell phone number was on file. They obtained records for his phone and the phone of a friend of his who is also on parole for burglary. That friend is the third suspect in the case.

According to the documents, cell towers determined Watson’s phone was in the area of 56th Street and Interstate 465, placing it near the scene of the first burglary committed hours before Blackburn was shot, on San Clemente Drive.

Cell towers determined the third suspect’s phone was also used near that location. The documents state the phone later moved to a tower on Sunnyfield Court around 6:25 a.m., about the time of the shooting.

About a half an hour later, the phone moved to a tower near the Chase Bank off Michigan Road. It then moved to another Chase Bank off 86th Street where investigators determined the debit card was used again.

During this time, phone records show the third suspect’s phone made several calls to a cell phone located on Sunnyfield Court.

The third suspect’s phone was then tracked back to Sunnyfield Court to pick up the person walking along the street around 7:10 a.m.

Around that time, surveillance cameras from a neighboring home caught an image of a man walking on the sidewalk. In the court documents, witnesses told police they saw the man talking on the phone before getting picked up in a car.

Investigators researched phone numbers associated with the person walking on Sunnyfield Court. It was found in “Backpage” ads online. Court documents state the phone number was associated with Larry Taylor Jr. through previous police reports.

The phone number was tracked to an address on South Meridian Street where police found Taylor. He admitted to police that the phone belonged to him.

In the court documents, Taylor was interviewed by police but never admitted to committing crimes.

Later in the documents, a “cooperating individual” told police that Taylor admitted to killing Blackburn after she charged at him. The individual told police Taylor admitted to shooting Blackburn in the upper body, then in her head as she was laying on the ground.

Taylor and Watson are both scheduled to appear in court Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.

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