State’s highest court to hear Mark Leonard’s appeal in Richmond Hill house explosion case

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Mark Leonard, left, returns from the City-County Building to jail after entering a not guilty plea on Dec. 24, 2012, in the arraignment for the fatal Richmond Hill blast. (Photo: Kelly Wilkinson/The Star)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indiana Supreme Court will hear an appeal Thursday morning from the ringleader of the deadly November 2012 Richmond Hill house explosion.

Mark Leonard was convicted on multiple counts of murder and arson last year. A judge sentenced him to two life terms without parole plus 75 years.

The blast, a natural gas explosion Leonard concocted at his ex-girlfriend’s home to collect insurance money, damaged or destroyed dozens of homes. Neighbors Jennifer and Dion Longworth were killed.

4 Fast Facts

  • Indiana Supreme Court hears appeal of Mark Leonard’s conviction in 2012 Richmond Hill house explosion
  • Leonard was sentenced to life without parole after a jury convicted him of murder and arson
  • The blast damaged or destroyed dozens of homes and killed two neighbors
  • Leonard’s attorneys argued that information about Leonard’s attempt to hire a hit man should not have been used in case

Leonard’s lawyers are expected to argue in court that a separate murder-for-hire scheme shouldn’t have been presented during his Richmond Hill trial. Leonard was accused of trying to hire a hit man while in jail to silence a witness against him in the house explosion case. Leonard’s attorneys claimed an informant set him up.

Leonard’s trial was moved from Marion County to St. Joseph County after the judge granted a change of venue request due to extensive media coverage. Jurors deliberated for three hours before finding him guilty after a complex trial that lasted six weeks.

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