One of three men who pled guilty for the fatal shooting of a pastor's wife has been sentenced to 29 years in prison, according to The Christian Post.
On Nov. 10, 2015, Amanda Blackburn, who was six months pregnant, was shot three times in her Indianapolis home while her husband, Davey Blackburn, was away at the gym.
At the time, she was home with the couple's 15-month-old son when three young men, Larry Jo Taylor Jr., 18; Jalen Watson, 21; and Diano Gordon, 24, entered the house through an unlocked door in a robbery attempt.
According to investigators, the suspects sought to burglarize the home after they saw Davey leave. About 35 minutes after Davey's departure, a neighbor reported hearing several shorts from the Blackburn household.
Amanda was left injured and died the next day, along with her unborn daughter, Everette "Evie" Grace Blackburn.
In 2017, Watson pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and two counts of burglary. Last month, he was sentenced to 29 years for robbery leading to serious bodily injury and 10 years for two counts of burglary. The sentences will be served concurrently.
The other two men, Taylor and Gordon, were also charged in connection to the killing.
Seven other charges, including murder and auto theft, were dismissed by the court as part of a deal regarding Watson's guilty plea, which requires him to cooperate with the state in the prosecution of the other two men.
Watson's sentencing order notes that the court may "consider reducing defendant sentence" after he has completed his cooperation and if he has a "clean conduct report."
Months after Amanda's death, Davey recalled how he found his wife in a pool of blood and assumed something was wrong with her pregnancy, The Christian Post reports. After taking her to the hospital, however, it was revealed that she had three gunshot wounds.
"Honestly, I don't really know how to describe emotions that go through you in that moment," he said of the moment when he learned of what had happened, saying he felt "shock and adrenaline."
"I didn't know what had happened and I think that was kind of the grace of God in that moment," Davey said, adding that a Bible verse that stuck out in his head during that time was 2 Chronicles 20:12, which reads: "We don't know what to do, but our eyes are on you."
"That became the theme" of those 24 hours", he said, adding that "in that moment we couldn't worry because it was completely out of our control."
In 2012, the couple had moved to Indianapolis from South Carolina to start Resonate Church.
Hours ahead of the shooting, Amanda expressed her love and adoration to Jesus Christ in a journal entry featuring the lyrics of the hymn, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus."
"Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim. In the light of his glory and grace," she wrote. "What an amazing Sunday yesterday that filled my heart to see so many people in your church. Learning, growing, meeting you and taking next steps. Thank you for letting me get to see all of this [with] my own eyes. I love you Lord. Glory and praise to you."
Photo courtesy: iStock/Getty Images Plus/allanswart
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.