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Prosecutors: Debt motive for 2012 Indy explosion

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Prosecutors have filed court documents indicating that mounting gambling and credit card debt were the motive behind a deadly explosion that devastated an Indianapolis neighborhood in 2012.

Monserrate Shirley, her then-boyfriend Mark Leonard and his brother, Bob Leonard, face charges of murder, arson and conspiracy to commit arson in the Nov. 10, 2012, blast that killed two of Shirley's neighbors and wrecked dozens of houses in the Richmond Hill subdivision on the city's far south side.

Marion County prosecutors say in court documents that Shirley had run up $63,000 in credit card debt and Mark Leonard had lost about $10,000 at a casino and then put the debt on Shirley's credit card, The Indianapolis Star reported.

A probable cause affidavit says that a week before the explosion, Mark Leonard told a friend he was "looking for a Ferrari to buy" on Craigslist. When asked how he could afford it, Leonard replied the couple expected to get $300,000, of which he would get $100,000.

Prosecutors say they intend to present evidence of mortgage liabilities, the threat of foreclosure, Shirley's inability to sell her home and the fact that the home's insurance coverage had been increased prior to the explosion.

Attorneys for the suspects are seeking to move the trials out of Marion County because of extensive media coverage and to break the trials for the Leonard brothers into two parts, first addressing the arson charges before any mention of the deaths can be made.

Attorneys for the three want to stipulate to the damage caused by the explosion to avoid having all the people who suffered injuries or property damage testifying about their losses, as well as make the state reveal any deals made with witnesses or informants and to suppress an incriminating statement Bob Leonard made after his arrest, saying it was obtained as a "result of physical and/or mental coercion."

A hearing is scheduled for the week of July 28 on Mark Leonard's request that his trial be moved to another county. Hearing dates have not been set for similar requests by Shirley and Bob Leonard.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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