INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 14, 2015) - The Richmond Hill Verdict came with a lot of emotions for current and former residents. Many watched it on television or online, in homes that were repaired or completely rebuilt after the explosion.
Neighbors said they were surprised by how fast the jury reached a verdict. One neighbor said she got chills when she heard there was a verdict. Another former resident left work and drove to visit the site where the explosion happened.
“I had to be here. I had to come back to where was home for six, seven years and when the verdict came in, it was just a flashback to that night,” said Glenn Olvey.
Olvey stood where he was the night of the explosion, November 10, 2012. Hearing the verdict brought him to tears.
“Enormous, enormous relief. Still got a long way to go, but we’ll get through it,” he said.
A jury found Mark Leonard guilty on all 53 counts, including two counts of felony murder. The neighborhood is still mourning the loss of Jennifer and Dion Longworth.
So many lives were destroyed, more than four million dollars in property damage, all, prosecutors said, out of sheer greed.
“It’s never gonna be over. You can’t forget something like this, and this is really the first summer since it happened where it just gets a little bit better. But we’re never going to get over this. It was just too traumatic,” said Pam Brainerd.
Residents said they’re still thankful for the response that night and the sense of community in the years to come.
“We worked day and night here, ate Thanksgiving dinner here. I mean we spent a lot of time away from our families to be here as well. But we knew a job needed to be done,” said Gary Coons, Director, Indianapolis Department of Homeland Security.
Vicky Koerner testified at the trial and said Tuesday the jury got it right. Her home had to be rebuilt, but she decided to stay in the place she’s always called home.
“It’s a great neighborhood, great group of people. I mean, that night kind of showed that of neighbors literally risking their lives for other neighbors, and there’s no perfect people. But my goodness, I couldn’t imagine any place else,” she said.
Many people have left Richmond Hill since the explosion, with for sale and rental signs dotting the area now. But neighbors who stayed said it’s getting easier with time.
And though they’ve grown weary of the media attention through the years, Tuesday neighbors were glad to let their voices be heard.
“He deserves what he got,” said Brainerd.