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Prosecutor requesting life without parole for 3 defendants in Indianapolis explosion

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Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry has decided to request life sentences without parole, instead of the death penalty, for the three defendants charged in the Richmond Hill subdivision explosion.

The defendants, Mark Leonard, Monserrate Shirley and Bob Leonard Jr., have been charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of John and Jennifer Longworth in connection with the explosion that occurred on Nov. 10, 2012, in the Richmond Hill subdivision on the south side of Indianapolis.

Investigators allege that the three defendants purposefully rigged Shirley’s residence at 8349 Fieldfare Way to fill with natural gas then explode and burn in order to collect insurance money. However, the house ignited a massive explosion and the resulting fire spread to the Longworths’ home next door causing their deaths.

Curry said the decision to request life rather than capital punishment was made after thoughtful consideration.

“The intentional acts of the defendants, as alleged, were undertaken with no regard whatsoever to the tragic consequences which did in fact flow from a scheme to blow up the Shirley residence,” the prosecutor stated in a press release. “Those alleged acts, if proven, thus justify that the defendants spend life in prison with no option for parole.”

In the state’s request for life sentence without parole, the alleged aggravating circumstances are that the murders were committed by the unlawful detonation of an explosive device, that there were multiple deaths, and that John Longworth died as a result of direct contact with the fire.

In addition to murder, the three defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit arson, a Class A felony; 12 counts of arson, a Class A felony; and 33 counts of arson, a Class B felony.

Mark Leonard and Shirley are each charged with an additional count of conspiracy to commit arson, a Class B felony.

The state is also moving to add an additional count of arson, a Class B felony, against all three defendants for damage to houses in the Richmond Hill subdivision which do not require demolition. Further, the state is moving to add an additional charge of insurance fraud, a Class C felony, against Shirley and an additional charge of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, a Class C felony, against Shirley and Mark Leonard.

The defendants are scheduled to appear in court for a pre-trial conference at 10 a.m. Feb. 21.

 

 

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  1. Joseph Buser, Montgomery County Chief Prosecutor, has been involved in both representing the State of Indiana as Prosecutor while filing as Representing Attorney on behalf of himself and the State of Indiana in Civil Proceedings for seized cash and merchandise using a Verified Complaint For Forfeiture of Motor Vehicle, Us Currency And Reimbursement Of Costs, as is evident in Montgomery County Circuit Court Case Number 54C01-1401-MI-000018, CCS below, seen before Judge Harry Siamas, and filed on 01/13/2014. Sheriff Mark Castille is also named. All three defendants named by summons have prior convictions under Mr. Buser, which as the Indiana Supreme Court, in the opinion of The Matter of Mark R. McKinney, No. 18S00-0905-DI-220, stated that McKinney created a conflict of interest by simultaneously prosecuting drug offender cases while pocketing assets seized from defendants in those cases. All moneys that come from forfeitures MUST go to the COMMON SCHOOL FUND.

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  4. Oh, and you fail to mention that you deprived the father of far FAR more time than he ever did you, even requiring officers to escort the children back into his care. Please, can you see that you had a huge part in "starting the war?" Patricia, i can't understand how painfully heartbreak ithis ordeal must have been for you. I read the appellate case and was surprised to see both sides of the story because your actions were harmful to your child; more so than the fathers. The evidence wasn't re weighed. It was properly reviewed for abuse of discretion as the trial court didn't consider whether a change of circumstance occurred or follow and define the statutes that led to their decision. Allowing a child to call a boyfriend "daddy" and the father by his first name is unacceptable. The first time custody was reversed to father was for very good reason. Self reflection in how you ultimately lost primary custody is the only way you will be able heal and move forward. Forgiveness of yourself comes after recognition and I truly hope you can get past the hurt and pain to allow your child the stability and care you recognized yourself that the father provides.

  5. Patricia, i can't understand how painfully heartbreak ithis ordeal must have been for you. I read the appellate case and was surprised to see both sides of the story because your actions were harmful to your child; more so than the fathers. The evidence wasn't re weighed. It was properly reviewed for abuse of discretion as the trial court didn't consider whether a change of circumstance occurred or follow and define the statutes that led to their decision. Allowing a child to call a boyfriend "daddy" and the father by his first name is unacceptable. The first time custody was reversed to father was for very good reason. Self reflection in how you ultimately lost primary custody is the only way you will be able heal and move forward. Forgiveness of yourself comes after recognition and I truly hope you can get past the hurt and pain to allow your child the stability and care you recognized yourself that the father provides.

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