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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. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  2. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  3. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

  4. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  5. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

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