Bob Leonard Jr. sentenced to life in prison without parole for his role in Richmond Hill explosion

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (March 18, 2016) – Convicted Richmond Hill killer Bob Leonard Jr. was sentenced Friday for his role in the deadly 2012 Richmond Hill explosion.

Leonard received two life without parole sentences plus 70 years.

Last month, it took a jury about four and a half hours to find him guilty of all 51 counts for his role in the natural gas explosion that blew up Monserrate Shirley’s house in the Richmond Hill community on November 10, 2012. The explosion killed Jennifer and Dion Longworth and destroyed more than 80 homes. The total cost of the damage was more than $4 million.

The hearing included emotional victim’s impact statements from seven people including the family of Jennifer and Dion Longworth.

Leonard himself was vocal inside the courtroom, making eye contact with people in the gallery and denying his involvement.

Even as he was being escorted out of the Allen County Courthouse, Leonard was proclaiming his innocence, saying he will file an appeal.

Marion County Prosecutor Denise Robinson along with family members we spoke with say they are pleased with the sentence.

“I was very gratified with the sentence. I think it’s very appropriate. Two life sentences plus 70 years means Bob Leonard will not get out of prison,” said Robinson.

“He is put away for the rest of his life which will keep him from hurting anybody else. That was one of our greatest concerns," said Dion Longworth's father John.

“I’m glad it’s life without parole and all the other years,” said Jennifer's father Don Buxton.

There are still two pending trials and a sentencing for Shirley, who pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for her testimony.

Leonard’s half-brother and Shirley’s ex-boyfriend Mark Leonard was sentenced to life without parole in August 2015. He’s serving his sentence at the state prison in Michigan City.

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