Three people charged in an explosion that killed two people and leveled part of a southside Indianapolis housing development will go before a judge in Marion Superior Court on Wednesday.
Mark Leonard, Bob Leonard Jr., and Monserrate Shirley are charged with murder and arson for their roles in the November 2012 explosion that devastated the Richmond Hill neighborhood. Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry is seeking life sentences without parole for the three suspects.
The three suspects are scheduled to appear before Judge Sheila A. Carlisle at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Marion Superior Court Criminal Division 3.
Mark Leonard, along with his brother Bob Leonard Jr., and Mark Leonard’s girlfriend Monserrate Shirley, were arrested in December and charged with two counts of murder and multiple counts of arson. Authorities say the three defendants rigged Shirley’s residence at 8349 Fieldfare Way to fill with natural gas then explode and burn in order to collect insurance money.
But the explosion was massive, and the resulting fire spread to John and Jennifer Longworths’ home next door, causing their deaths. More than 30 homes were destroyed or seriously damaged in the explosion, and at least seven people in the neighborhood were injured.
While awaiting trial in jail, Mark Leonard also was charged last month with conspiracy to commit murder. The prosecutor’s office said he tried to arrange with an inmate a murder-for-hire plan to kill a potential witness.
Shirley also faces a count of insurance fraud for filing a claim two days after the house explosion stating that the fire was an accident.