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Murder charges dropped in plea deal with suspect in Blackburn murder

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A plea agreement was accepted Friday for a 23-year-old Indianapolis man initially charged in the murder of the pregnant wife of an Indianapolis pastor, according to online court records and Marion County prosecutors.

Jalen Watson was first charged with murder Nov. 23, 2015, in relation to the death of Amanda Blackburn. The pregnant 28-year-old wife of Indianapolis pastor Davey Blackburn was shot during a robbery at their Woods of North Kessler home on the northwest side.

In the Blackburn case, Watson pleaded guilty to robbery resulting in serious bodily injury and two counts of burglary. As part of the plea deal, two murder charges, an additional burglary charge, three theft charges and an auto theft charge were dismissed.

The plea agreement for Watson also involved a Nov. 3, 2015, rape and burglary at Westlake Apartments, near Interstate 465 and Rockville Road. In that case, Watson agreed to plead guilty to burglary with a deadly weapon. Charges of theft, robbery, criminal confinement and auto theft were dismissed as part of the plea deal.

The plea deal says both parties can argue what Watson’s sentence will be. An attorneys conference is set for April 27 to set a sentencing date. Watson also gave up any chance to appeal his sentence as part of the plea deal.

Another part of the plea deal involves men who were involved with Watson in criminal activity.

Watson and Larry Jo Taylor Jr., 20, were each charged with murder and additional felonies related to Nov. 10, 2015, burglaries at three homes, including the Blackburn home. Court documents describing the investigation said Taylor “caused termination of a human pregnancy” when police say he shot and killed Blackburn. Taylor is scheduled for a five-day jury trial April 2 in the Blackburn case. He is scheduled for a three-day June 11 trial on charges in the Westlake Apartment rape and burglary and in the robbery and killing of Rolando Gonzalez-Hernandez on Nov. 4, 2015 in the 4500 block of Candletree Circle.

Another person, Diano Gordon, 26, faces two counts of murder and additional criminal charges in relation to the Blackburn case, the three home burglaries and the Westlake Apartments rape and burglary. Gordon is scheduled for pretrial conferences Nov. 17 in two of the three court filings, according to online records.

As part of the plea deal, Watson must cooperate with prosecutors in the cases against Gordon and Taylor.

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