Jury reaches verdict in Richmond Hill house explosion trial

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Bob Leonard walks to court on Jan. 19, 2016

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Feb. 24, 2016) — Jurors reached a verdict following their second day of deliberations Wednesday in the trial of Richmond Hill house explosion suspect Bob Leonard Jr.

Leonard faces 51 counts in connection with the November 2012 house explosion in the Richmond Hill neighborhood on the south side of Indianapolis. He’s accused of conspiring with his half-brother, Mark Leonard, to blow up the home on Fieldfare Way in a scheme to collect insurance money. The home belonged to Mark Leonard’s ex-girlfriend, Monserrate Shirley.

The resulting blast killed two neighbors, Jennifer and Dion Longworth, and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes. Losses from the explosion exceeded $4 million.

On Tuesday, attorneys for both sides of the case presented their closing arguments. Prosecutors said DNA evidence, surveillance video, testimony and Leonard’s own words showed he was part of the plot.

Leonard’s defense team countered that much of the case against Leonard depends on the testimony of Shirley. Her accounts, they said, relied on secondhand information from Mark Leonard. Shirley took a plea deal in exchange for her testimony in the case.

If convicted, Bob Leonard faces life in prison without parole, the same fate as his brother.

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