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Prosecutors: Debt motive for 2012 Indy explosion

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Prosecutors have filed court documents indicating that mounting gambling and credit card debt were the motive behind a deadly explosion that devastated an Indianapolis neighborhood in 2012.

Monserrate Shirley, her then-boyfriend Mark Leonard and his brother, Bob Leonard, face charges of murder, arson and conspiracy to commit arson in the Nov. 10, 2012, blast that killed two of Shirley's neighbors and wrecked dozens of houses in the Richmond Hill subdivision on the city's far south side.

Marion County prosecutors say in court documents that Shirley had run up $63,000 in credit card debt and Mark Leonard had lost about $10,000 at a casino and then put the debt on Shirley's credit card, The Indianapolis Star reported.

A probable cause affidavit says that a week before the explosion, Mark Leonard told a friend he was "looking for a Ferrari to buy" on Craigslist. When asked how he could afford it, Leonard replied the couple expected to get $300,000, of which he would get $100,000.

Prosecutors say they intend to present evidence of mortgage liabilities, the threat of foreclosure, Shirley's inability to sell her home and the fact that the home's insurance coverage had been increased prior to the explosion.

Attorneys for the suspects are seeking to move the trials out of Marion County because of extensive media coverage and to break the trials for the Leonard brothers into two parts, first addressing the arson charges before any mention of the deaths can be made.

Attorneys for the three want to stipulate to the damage caused by the explosion to avoid having all the people who suffered injuries or property damage testifying about their losses, as well as make the state reveal any deals made with witnesses or informants and to suppress an incriminating statement Bob Leonard made after his arrest, saying it was obtained as a "result of physical and/or mental coercion."

A hearing is scheduled for the week of July 28 on Mark Leonard's request that his trial be moved to another county. Hearing dates have not been set for similar requests by Shirley and Bob Leonard.

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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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