3 charged in Indianapolis home explosion

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Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced Friday that three people have been arrested in connection with a home explosion in an Indianapolis suburb that killed two people last month and damaged dozens of homes.

Monserrate Shirley, her boyfriend Mark Leonard, and his brother Bob Leonard Jr. have been charged in connection with the Nov. 10 explosion in Richmond Hill. The explosion at Shirley’s residence ignited a fire at the home of next-door neighbors John and Jennifer Longworth, who died as a result.

The three, who were arrested Friday morning, face two counts of felony murder, one count of Class A felony conspiracy to commit arson, 12 counts of Class A felony arson, and 33 counts of Class B felony arson.

Mark Leonard and Shirley are also charged with an additional count of Class B felony conspiracy to commit arson. Investigators say the weekend before the explosion, Mark Leonard and Shirley also boarded their cat, had Shirley’s daughter stay with a babysitter at another home, and went to a casino. It’s alleged that the two attempted to set a fire that weekend, but for some reason it failed. They went through the same steps the weekend of the explosion.

The explosion also caused injuries to 12 people who lived in the neighborhood. At a press conference Friday, investigators said they discovered the microwave in the home of Shirley appears to have exploded from the inside out and that Mark Leonard recently changed the home’s thermostat from a digital one to a slide switch one, which could cause a spark. They also believe someone removed the step-down regulator to the manifold to the gas lines coming into the house, opened or removed the fireplace valve to allow for the flow of gas into the residence, and/or set a timing device to cause the ignition of the gas.

The probable cause affidavit notes that Shirley filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy this year but stopped making payments. There are two mortgages on the home and she owes $63,000 in unsecured credit card debt. Shirley recently increased the coverage limit on personal property on her homeowners’ insurance.

Curry emphasized at the news conference that these are just charges and the suspects are due their time before a court of law.  



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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