SOUTH BEND, Ind. (July 14, 2015)—The fathers of the couple killed in the 2012 Richmond Hill neighborhood explosion on the south side of Indianapolis spoke outside the St. Joseph County Courthouse after a jury delivered a guilty verdict in the trial of Mark Leonard.
Mark Leonard was found guilty on all 53 counts, including charges of murder, felony murder, arson and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
Dion Longworth’s father, John Longworth, spoke to the press after the verdicts were read. When asked what the guilty verdict meant to him, he replied, “It means he won’t hurt anybody outside of prison.”
“This is a person who has basically thrown away their life, and that’s sad,” said John Longworth.
Longworth said he felt relief after the guilty verdict was reached, but he said “happy” wasn’t a way to describe it, stating “sentencing someone to prison is not something to be about, to me.”
“What I would like to do is give Dion and Jennifer a hug, but that’s not going to happen,” said Longworth.
The co-conspirators in the case, Bob Leonard, Jr., Gary Thompson and Glen Hults, are still awaiting trial. Leonard’s brother, Bob, will go to trial in January 2016 in Fort Wayne.
Longworth said he doesn’t believe he will attend the other trials.
“It is painful,” said Longworth, who got choked up. “I just don’t want to go through it again.”
CBS4Indy sat behind Jennifer’s father, Don Buxton, as Judge Marnocha read the verdict on all 53 counts. Buxton spoke to us outside the courthouse about his reaction.
“I think they call it tears, and I don't even know his name, but I bent forward and he grabbed my knee and I thought ‘Here's a dad. This guy gets it.’”
Buxton said people have asked him how he remains strong.
“We're not strong,” Buxton said in reference to those comments. “You just got to do what you go to do.”
“I guess I’m a dad and I grieve for my daughter, and I do it every day,” said Buxton. “And tomorrow I will go back to the cemetery and knock the grass off the cemetery like I do every week and get right back to business.”
Neighbors, whose homes were destroyed in the blast, gathered outside the courthouse, hugging and consoling family.
Cindy Maddox, one of the neighbors affected, said the prosecution did a great job and justice was served. She said, however, the night of the deadly blast would live in their memories forever.
“We will never forget Jennifer and Dion, and that was the worst part of this whole tragedy,” said Maddox.
Maddox said her and fellow neighbors are happy to put this behind them and move forward.