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Venue change granted for Indy house blast suspect

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A judge granted a change of venue Wednesday for the trial of one defendant in a deadly Indianapolis house explosion after prosecutors dropped their objection.

Marion Superior Court Judge Sheila Carlisle granted the request for Mark Leonard, who faces murder, arson and conspiracy charges in connection with the November 2012 blast that killed two people and destroyed or damaged dozens of houses on the city's south side.

Deana Martin and Diane Black, the public defenders appointed to represent Leonard, had introduced stories from Indianapolis television stations and The Indianapolis Star as evidence of the media saturation they say would make it hard to assemble an impartial jury.

Prosecutors stipulated to the change of venue Wednesday on the third day of a hearing on the venue request. Carlisle had taken the unusual step of assembling test juries to gauge the public's knowledge about the case.

"Virtually everyone is aware of the circumstances," Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said after Carlisle granted the change.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Leonard's trial would be moved to another county or a jury imported to Indianapolis. It also was unclear whether venue also would change for the two other defendants, Leonard's former girlfriend, Monserrate Shirley, and his brother, Bob Leonard. Each defendant will be being tried separately on identical charges.

Prosecutors have said the three rigged the blast in Shirley's home as part of a scheme to collect $300,000 in insurance. The explosion killed a married couple who were neighbors of Shirley.

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  1. For many years this young man was "family" being my cousin's son. Then he decided to ignore my existence and that of my daughter who was very hurt by his actions after growing up admiring, Jason. Glad he is doing well, as for his opinion, if you care so much you wouldn't ignore the feelings of those who cared so much about you for years, Jason.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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