Robert (Bob) Bianchi, Esq., was interviewed by Fox News Channel’s Happening Now show with host Heather Childers regarding the murder of Amanda Blackburn, a pastor’s wife shot to death in their home. The victim was pregnant and in Indiana, unlike NJ, there are laws about enhanced sentencing when a person is killed while pregnant.
Bianchi was joined by co-guest and former prosecutor, Fred Tecce, Esq.
Bianchi is a NJ Supreme Court Certified Criminal Trial Attorney has tried numerous murder cases as a NJ Prosecutor and NJ Criminal Defense Attorney. As Heather Childers discussed in this clip, Bianchi actually tried a death penalty murder case where the victim was pregnant at the time of the horrific murder. Increasing penalties for killing a pregnant woman is an issue that has been addressed in 38 states in the United States via laws that increase penalties for such crimes. There is not such law in New Jersey’s Criminal Code.
In the Blackburn case, the husband/pastor has been cleared by authorities. Authorities are suggesting that this may have been a home invasion/ burglary situation. Bianchi feels that some of these conclusions at this early stage of the case are somewhat rushed and would suggest caution before eliminating any suspect. He has himself witnessed many investigations where detectives “jump to conclusions” which can lead to significant evidence being overlooked. Forming conclusions so early in an investigation can be a very bad practice. Hopefully, in this matter, that is not the situation.
Home invasions leading to murder are at an alarming rate.
Bianchi is a former NJ Governor appointed and NJ Senate confirmed head Morris County Prosecutor. One of his major initiatives as the chief law enforcement officer in Morris County was making home invasions a crime that carries mandatory state prison time. That legislation regrettably stalled, however.
Despite this, Bianchi created as Prosecutor the Burglary Crime Task Force that was tremendously successful in capturing those committing home invasions in Morris County. Bianchi has lectured extensively to the public on “target hardening” your home to prevent such crimes.
It is imperative to follow these basic rules:
1. Keep your doors locked and windows closed and locked;
2. Remain vigilant regarding activity in your neighborhood that is out of the ordinary;
3. Call police if you are suspicious about something you see unusual in your neighborhood;
4. Leave lights on inside and outside of your house in the evening;
5. Invest in motion sensor outdoor lighting;
6. Invest in indoor lighting timers;
7. Install solid doors that lead from outside your home to inside. Also, ensure that access doors are dead-bolted and remember doors from the garage into your home are often dangerous access points. Often burglars have devices that can open your garage door, making the door leading into your basement vulnerable;
8. If you have an alarm system, put it on! Many persons have home security but become lax and do not arm the alarms;
9. When at home use your alarm’s perimeter settings if you have them so that unauthorized entry into doors or windows will set off the alarm.
10. Keep shrubs and trees cut low so that they do not provide cover for attempts to gain access via a window;
11. Don’t advertise new purchases by placing boxes for TVs, Computers, electronics, and other expensive and portable items visible from outside your home. Burglars often canvass areas to look for homes to invade and that will have valuable items to steal;
12. Never open the door for anyone you do not expect will be coming to your home. This includes florists and other delivery personnel. Many crimes are committed by people posing as a legitimate business people who gain access once the door is open;
13. Do not keep valuables in your bedroom. This is the first place burglars go to;
Keep in mind that burglars want to enter homes that are empty, unlit, where the ability to be detected is minimal. Locked door and windows, lighting, and alarms are significant deterrents.
The enemy is not only the burglar but one’s own laziness and the feeling you are safe and secure in your home. There are many cases where people that have many items attractive to a burglar and are victimized due to their own negligence. So, please “target harden” your home. An ounce of prevention is imperative to keep you, your home, and the safety of your family safe and secure from those that wish to do harm.
Our prayers and sympathies are extended to the Blackburn family.
© 2015 Robert (Bob) Bianchi, Esq.