Indiana News

Felony Murder Charges Filed Against Three in South Side Explosion


Mark Leonard, Monseratte Shirley, Bob Leonard Jr. (photos courtesty IMPD)

Three people face felony murder and other charges for causing the South Side explosion that killed John Dion and Jennifer Longworth, and leveled or damaged dozens of homes in the Richmond Hills neighborhood on November 10.


Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced the arrests Friday morning of Monseratte Shirley, her boyfriend Mark Leonard and his brother Bob Leonard Junior. Curry says the trio intentionally rigged the blast in a plot to get more than $300,000 in insurance money for Shirley's home. He says the three tried the scheme but failed a week before they succeeded on November 10th.

Curry says investigators have determined they used a microwave placed on a timer, removed a gas line regulator, and rigged the fireplace. Curry told the media, "Mr. Leonard changed the thermostat in the house from a digital thermostat to a slide switch thermostat and that a slide switch thermostat would create a spark when it is activated." Curry says none of those arrested have admitted to any wrongdoing, but they face felony murder and dozens of felony arson charges. 

Public Safety Director Troy Riggs called for prayer for the victims and not just the Longworths. Mayor Greg Ballard says the arrests will not erase the scars of that fateful night, as he put it.  But the mayor praises the work of investigators and expresses hope of comfort for the grieving. 

» Cost of South Side Explosion Grows to $309,000 (12-13-12)
» Richmond Hill Residents Now Know Their Neighbors (12-11-12)
» Richmond Hill Resident Thankful For Life (11-22-12)
» First Demolition Orders Coming for Homes Damaged by Explosion (11-21-12)
» Prosecutor: "We Believe We Are Making Progress" (11-21-12)
» Two Questioned in South Side Explosion; No Arrests (11-20-12)
» Public Safety Director Updates Explosion Probe (11-20-12)
» South Side Explosion Now Homicide Investigation (11-19-12)
» Funeral Mass For Southside Couple Killed In Blast (11-19-12)
» Explosion Victims Laid To Rest (11-19-12)
» Southport Presbyterian Church Serving Richmond Hill (11-16-12)
» Owner of Exploded Home Speaks Out After Seeing Damage (11-15-12)
» Victim of South Side Explosion Remembered (11-15-12)
» Funeral Mass Set for Couple Killed in South Side Explosion (11-14-12)
» Public Safety Director Riggs On Explosion Probe (11-14-12)
» Indy Attorney Questions Citizens Energy's Role in Explosion Investigation (11-14-12)
» South Side Explosion Brings Back Memories From Richmond (11-14-12)
» Citizens Energy Rules Out Gas Leaks In Blast (11-13-12)
» Expert Explains Process of Investigating Explosion (11-13-12)
» South Side Homeowners Will Need Home Restoration Following Explosion (11-13-12)
» Homeowner Says Faulty Furnace May be to Blame for Explosion (11-12-12)
» NTSB Probing South Side Gas Lines (11-12-12)
» Company Where Explosion Victim Worked Issues Statement (11-12-12)
» Volunteers Sought After South Side Explosion (11-12-12)
» School Returns to Classes Without Beloved Teacher (11-12-12)
» Residents Briefly Getting to Go Back Into Homes After Blast (11-12-12)
» Investigators Still Looking for Answers in Sunday's Massive Explosion (11-12-12)
» Couple Feels Fortunate to Escape South Side Explosion (11-11-12)
» Damage from South Side Explosion Estimated at $3.6 Million (11-11-12)
» Explosion Kills Two in South Side Neighborhood (11-11-12)


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