An Indiana judge declared a mistrial Monday on the first day of trial for 24-year-old Larry Jo Taylor Jr., who authorities are hoping to convict for the 2015 murder of Amanda Blackburn, the pregnant wife of an Indianapolis pastor.
Marion County Judge Grant Hawkins, who declared the mistrial, told The Indianapolis Star that some jurors learned “Ms. Blackburn was pregnant at the time of her death.” The defense had successfully moved to keep jurors from knowing.
The court will now have to seat a new jury for Taylor’s trial.
Taylor is facing four counts of murder, three counts of burglary, three counts of theft and a count of robbery in connection to Blackburn’s killing, according to the newspaper. One of three men charged in the wake of the killing, Taylor was also charged with criminal confinement, auto theft and carrying a handgun without a license.
Amanda Blackburn was killed some three years after moving with her husband, Davey Blackburn, from South Carolina in 2012 to start Resonate Church in Indianapolis.
On the morning of Nov. 10, 2015, while Davey was at the gym, police said his wife was shot three times, including once in the head during a home invasion. She succumbed to her injuries the following day along with their unborn daughter, Everette “Evie” Grace Blackburn.
Police subsequently announced the arrests of Taylor, then 18, and his accomplice, Jalen Watson, then 21, and charged them with murder and a litany of other crimes in late November 2015. Diano Gordon, who was 24 at the time, was arrested and charged in December 2015.
Earlier this year, Watson, now 27, was sentenced to 29 years in prison for robbery leading to serious bodily injury and 10 years each for two counts of burglary.
Watson also had charges, including murder, dismissed against him in a plea deal in October 2017. The agreement would see him joining Gordon in testifying against Taylor.