Friday, December 21, 2012

Three Criminally Charged In Indy Home Explosion

The owner of a south side home that exploded on November 10, killing two people and destroying dozens of other homes in the Richmond Hill subdivision, along with her boyfriend and his brother, have been criminally charged in connection with the ongoing investigation. WRTV reports that Marion Co. Prosecutor Terry Curry will announce today that Monserrate Shirley, her boyfriend Mark Leonard and his brother Robert Leonard have been arrested and are being charged with numerous crimes, including murder and arson. An update will be provided after Curry's press conference scheduled for later this morning.

UPDATE: Marion Co. Prosecutor Terry Curry laid out the facts contained in a probable cause affidavit. As this blog first reported, Curry said the source of the gas leak is believed to have originated from the fireplace where there was a missing gas valve regulator. A microwave in the home that contained a timer was the ignition source for the explosion. Investigators recovered the destroyed microwave and were able to determine that it had exploded from the inside out. A neighbor witnessed a white van owned by Mark Leonard at Shirley's home on the afternoon of the November 11th blast. Curry said experts believe the gas build up in the home had been taking place for approximately nine hours before the microwave ignited the gas. Leonard's white van was used to transport items removed from the home belonging to him and Shirley prior to the blast that were stored at another person's home according to Curry.

In addition to felony murder and multiple arson charges, Shirley and Mark Leonard also face conspiracy to commit arson charges based on statements an acquaintance of Mark Leonard made to investigators that the couple had tried to blow up the home the weekend prior to the November 11th blast, but that attempt failed. Investigators learned that Shirley had recently increased the value of an insurance policy insuring the home, and Mark had told the acquaintance that he expected to receive a $100,000 share of the proceeds. Curry said investigators learned that the Leonard brothers had changed a digital thermostat in the home to a slide switch thermostat that would ignite a spark. The two men had also spoken to a Citizen's Energy person about the difference between the volatility of natural gas and propane.

I should add that the prosecutor's office and the involved law enforcement agencies deserve the public's credit for their exemplary work in solving this tragic crime and bringing those responsible to justice.


Had Enough Indy? said...

"The two men had also spoken to a Citizen's Energy person about the difference between the volatility of natural gas and propane."

Ummm... Didn't they expect that conversation would be revealed???

CircleCityScribe said...

This was pure evil, very much comparable to what Timothy McVey did in Oklahoma City....and let us all hope that all participants convicted receive the same penalty.