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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. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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