It has been almost three years since Amanda Blackburn, the pregnant wife of Indianapolis pastor, Davey Blackburn was fatally wounded during a break in at their home. Here’s a look at the case that captured the nation’s attention:
Amanda was mortally wounded during a burglary on November 10, 2015. She was shot in the head, according to prosecutors. She was 12 weeks pregnant at that time with the couple’s second child and died two days after the incident. Her husband, Davey returned home to find his wife lying on the floor and gravely wounded. At first, he thought something had gone wrong with her pregnancy. The couple’s 15-month-old son, their first child, Weston, was in his crib upstairs when it all unfolded, but was unharmed.
Three men, Jalen Watson, 21, Larry Taylor, 18 and Diano Gordon, 24, were charged with murder. In October, Watson pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and two counts of burglary. Among the three, it was Watson who entered a plea agreement.
“While I want the full extent of justice for Amanda’s murder levied, I also want each of these men to experience radical heart changes, turn from their previous ways and begin following Jesus,” the pastor wrote. “The justice system may be able to help with behavior modification, but only Jesus can truly change a heart.”
He continued, “I believe the Lord has been working on Jalen’s heart significantly over the last two years since Amanda’s death.”
In Davey’s blog post, he stated his reliance on God through everything that happened. His family and friends were there for that tragic season of his life. He chose to forgive, especially when he saw Jalen Watson, one of his former wife’s killers for the first time. He wrote:
“From the moment I sat down, I could feel every muscle fiber in my body begin to tense up. I had to consciously coax my body to relax as I took a couple deep breaths. I finally got my body somewhat regulated when, uncontrollably, it tensed up again. Jalen was turning to look in my direction. He glanced over his right shoulder and made a sweeping pan across the front row of the gallery stopping as soon as he locked eyes with me.
“I thought he’d look away quickly, or look down in shame, or something. But he didn’t. He lingered, his gaze locked with mine. I didn’t know what to do. Courtroom ethics prohibit making any kind of gesture whether cordial or offensive. I didn’t know if I should nod or look away or keep staring. As the room began to close in around me I just sat there and stared. I don’t even know what kind of expression I had on my face. I just felt empty, and anxious all at the same time. But, I couldn’t take my eyes off of his. There was something telling in them, something different than I expected. They seemed tired, hurt, broken, and maybe . . . grieved.
“Finally it became too much to bear and I broke away, darting my eyes back toward the judge. I thought that would be it, but then he did it again. And again. Each time as he swept the front row of the gallery as if with just his eyes he was telling each of us how sorry he was. I don’t know if I’ll ever know what was (and is currently) going through his mind, but I can’t help but wonder if maybe his heart is softening.”
It’s been almost three years since the appalling and agonizing incident happened. The process of healing has not been easy for the Blackburn family. But with God, they are able to cope and be there for each other.
Pastor Davey also revealed that he is now engaged to be married. He described in detail how he and Kristi met and how Kristi helped him deal with his wounds.
“I realize for many people this may seem a bit soon and trust me. It did to me as well,” he wrote, before adding that he has loved ones’ support. “Her family, my family and Amanda’s family are all excited about it and give us their blessing.”
You may have experienced similar to this , unexpectedly losing a loved one. Or perhaps you have lost something that is so important that you think you cannot live anymore and you can’t imagine your future without it. You may feel so lost, or like everything around you is blurry and doesn’t make sense. But it is also the perfect time to trust in the Lord and give Him praise, even when you can’t think of anything to be grateful for.
Don’t forget that God is our redeemer. He will provide you with everything when His right time comes, more than you can ask or imagine. Trust the Father’s heart – that everything He does is for your good and that He is good, even if your situation speaks otherwise. Whatever season you are in right now, surrender it to God!
This was written by Le-Jovale Vallejo
References: Faithwire, WCNC, Davey Blackburn.