Indiana blast suspect charged in plot to kill witness
by Charles Wilson, Associated Press
March 28, 2013 11:30 AM | 505 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This combination of file photos provided by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department shows, from left, Mark Leonard, his girlfriend Monserrate Shirley, and his brother, Bob Leonard, all of Indianapolis, who were arrested on Dec. 21, 2012 and charged with murder, arson and other counts in a Nov. 10 gas explosion that killed two people. Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced Thursday, March 28, 2013 that Mark Leonard has been charged with plotting to have a witness in the case killed. The Nov. 10 blast killed a young couple and damaged 33 homes so badly that they had to be demolished. (AP Photo/Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, File)
This combination of file photos provided by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department shows, from left, Mark Leonard, his girlfriend Monserrate Shirley, and his brother, Bob Leonard, all of Indianapolis, who were arrested on Dec. 21, 2012 and charged with murder, arson and other counts in a Nov. 10 gas explosion that killed two people. Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced Thursday, March 28, 2013 that Mark Leonard has been charged with plotting to have a witness in the case killed. The Nov. 10 blast killed a young couple and damaged 33 homes so badly that they had to be demolished. (AP Photo/Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, File)
slideshow
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis man facing trial in a house explosion that killed two people and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes was charged Thursday with plotting to have a witness in the case killed.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced Mark Leonard had been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit murder during a news conference in downtown Indianapolis.

Curry said Leonard tried to arrange to have the witness killed for a payment of $15,000. Curry said Leonard also offered a $5,000 bonus if the killing was made to look like a suicide and if the killer could force the witness to first call 911 and recant statements about the explosion.

Leonard, girlfriend Monserrate Shirley and brother Bob Leonard are awaiting trial in the Nov. 10 blast that killed a teacher and her husband, and left 33 homes in the Richmond Hill subdivision so damaged that they had to be demolished.

Investigators say the trio intentionally created a gas explosion in Shirley’s home in hopes of collecting insurance money. A microwave set to start on a timer sparked the explosion in Shirley’s gas-filled home after a gas fireplace valve and a gas line regulator in the house were removed.

John and Jennifer Longworth died after the explosion ignited another explosion and resulting fire at their house.

All three defendants face murder, arson and conspiracy charges. Shirley also is charged with insurance fraud.

Curry said in February he would see life without parole for Shirley and the Leonards because a jury was unlikely to choose the death penalty.

Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, spam, and links to outside websites will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides