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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. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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