Richmond Hill house explosion suspect faces murder, arson charges

gary thompson mug CBS

INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 29, 2015) – The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office charged a fourth co-conspirator in the fatal 2012 Richmond Hill house explosion.

Gary Thompson, 44, faces two counts of murder, a count of conspiracy to commit arson and 46 counts of arson in the deaths of Jennifer and Dion Longworth. He was arrested Wednesday.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Thompson admits assisting co-defendant Mark Leonard in at least one failed attempt to blow up the home on Fieldfare Way in an insurance fraud scheme.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said Thursday that there were “a number of individuals on the radar” before Monserrate Shirley spoke to investigators as part of her plea agreement. Her cooperation allowed investigators to seek charges against Thompson.

According to Curry, Thompson had worked for Mark Leonard, Shirley’s ex-boyfriend, for several years. In October 2012, Thompson said Leonard approached and offered him $5,000 if he agreed to pour six cans of gasoline inside the home. Thompson said he became scared and didn’t go through with the plot on the weekend of Oct. 27, 2012.

Thompson said he worked on the thermostat in the home at Leonard’s request. He said he had conversations with Leonard about using natural gas to ignite a fire in the home, according to court documents.

Thompson said another attempt to set the house on fire failed on the weekend of Nov. 3, 2012. The fatal explosion happened the following weekend, although Curry said Thompson denied being involved in the fatal blast.

Shirley and Leonard were spending the weekend at a Lawrenceburg casino. A witness told police two men matching the descriptions of Thompson and co-conspirator Bob Leonard–Mark Leonard’s brother–were seen exiting the house earlier that day.

While Shirley’s plea agreement means she’ll avoid a trial, Mark Leonard’s own murder and conspiracy trial is due to begin in South Bend in June. A trial date has not yet been set for Bob Leonard.

Thompson is due in court Friday morning.

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