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Judge may sequester house blast jury during deliberations

April 29, 2015

The judge who'll preside over one defendant's murder trial in a deadly Indianapolis house explosion says he may sequester jurors during deliberations.

St. Joseph Superior Judge John Marnocha held a pretrial hearing Wednesday for 46-year-old Mark Leonard, who will be tried in South Bend because of pretrial publicity.

Jury selection is set to begin June 4. The trial could last up to six weeks.

Leonard faces two counts of murder and dozens of other counts in the November 2012 natural gas blast that leveled the home of his then-girlfriend, 49-year-old Monserrate Shirley.

That explosion killed a couple who lived next door.

Leonard, Shirley and three others are charged in connection with an alleged scheme to collect $300,000 in insurance.

Shirley will testify against her co-defendants under a plea deal.

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