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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues