It took jury 3 hours to convict an Indianapolis man of murder, arson and insurance fraud Tuesday for his role in a house explosion that decimated a subdivision nearly three years ago, killing a couple living in the neighborhood.
The jury found 46-year-old Mark Leonard guilty of all counts against him, including murder and felony murder.
in total there were 53 guilty verdicts.
Prosecutors alleged Leonard was the mastermind behind the explosion, plotting with his then-live-in girlfriend Monserrate Shirley and his half brother Bob Leonard to blow up the home for $300,000 in insurance.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry issued the following statement about the verdict:
“On the evening of November 19, 2012, many of us from the public safety community stood in the dark on the Southside to disclose that the investigation of the circumstances of the Richmond Hill explosion was now a homicide investigation. Today’s verdict confirms what investigators realized from almost day one, that the explosion which occurred on November 10 was a senseless, criminal act which resulted in the horrific deaths of Dion and Jennifer Longworth, injury to dozens of others, unparalleled property destruction, and the loss of a sense of safety and security for all residents of that neighborhood. By today’s conviction of Mark Leonard and the guilty plea by Monserrate Shirley, we have now completed two significant steps in realizing the justice we have pledged from day one for the Richmond Hill residents.
“The investigation and prosecution of this matter has literally taken tens of thousands of hours of effort by numerous individuals. I commend Det. Jeffrey Wager and IMPD investigators, Lt. Mario Garza and IFD investigators, agents of the Federal ATF, and our trial team for their extraordinary work leading to this conviction.”
Public Safety Director Troy Riggs thanked Curry and his staff for their work:
“On behalf of the 3,200 members of the Department of Public Safety, I would like to thank Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry and his team for their dedicated work and successful prosecution today. This has been a difficult time for not only the Richmond Hill residents, but the city as a whole. Thank you to the public safety personnel who responded that night – many of whom were off duty – as well as those who investigated and helped residents rebuild their lives.
“I would like to also thank Chief Gary Coons who oversaw the operations at Richmond Hills the day after the explosion.”
Division of Homeland Security Chief Gary Coons also weighed in:
“My heart and thoughts are with the Richmond Hill families as this has been a long path to holding someone accountable. I pray for the families of Dion and Jennifer Longworth and Richmond Hills residents.”