SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Richmond Hill defendant Mark Leonard is accused of concocting the conspiracy that led to the destruction of girlfriend Monserrate Shirley’s house in an intentional natural gas explosion on November 10, 2012. Leonard was convicted of 53 counts including murder, arson and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of life in prison without parole. The judge will announce his decision on life without parole on Aug. 14.
Internet and use of electronics are not permitted inside the courtroom. Therefore, we’ve been keeping thorough notes from inside the courtroom and will publish updates in this live blog during court breaks.
August 14, 2015– Mark Leonard’s Sentencing
9:36 a.m. – Media enters the courtroom. In the gallery are Richmond Hill residents, friends and family of Jennifer and Dion Longworth, some of the jurors from the trial and officials from IFD and IMPD. Dion Longworth’s family and friends are all wearing yellow, which was his favorite color.
9:47 a.m. – John Longworth, Dion’s father, stops by a row of jurors and thanks them all for their service. “I know it was hard,” he said.
9:53 a.m. – Convicted murderer and arsonist Mark Leonard enters the courtroom, not in a shirt and tie but in a bright orange jail jumpsuit. Chains jingle in the courtroom as he walks to the defense table.
9:57 a.m. – Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson comes by the jurors and thanks them for coming. “We can actually talk now!” she jokes. She says she knows it was hard and a big time commitment. “It’s fantastic to see you here,” she said.
10:18 a.m. – The gallery is now full.
10:28 a.m. – Judge John Marnocha enters the courtroom. He says a bus of residents broke down near Peru and we’ll wait for them.
10:29 a.m. – He says the request for life without parole makes this hearing different. He has to determine that sentence first after hearing from defense and State, then proceed as if it’s a regular sentencing hearing.
10:35 a.m. – Judge confirms that Leonard is aware that he has a right to appeal the decision. Leonard tells the judge he is aware.
10:38 a.m. – The residents who were on the bus are now in the courtroom.
10:39 a.m. – Defense attorney Diane Black says what’s reflected in his criminal history before this are minor. No arrests or convictions for drug or gun crimes. “Yes, he has a criminal history, but it’s limited. It’s not your typical violent history for someone facing life without parole.”
10:41 a.m. – “It was a perfect storm that nobody could have predicted.” Black says many experts couldn’t have reproduced this.
10:42 a.m. – Black: Experts could not say what the exact ignition source was. Can’t say for sure microwave was used.
10:44 a.m. – Black says there is residual doubt that he could have known murder would occur. She says family members and residents felt there was no remorse shown by Leonard. She turns to the gallery, her voice cracking, and says she couldn’t predict how he would act. “I am sorry your feelings were hurt. Mr. Leonard will not give a statement. I’ll accept the blame for that.”
10:46 a.m. – Black says she is not without feeling and compassion for the victims. “I have felt for all of you. I am sorry for your pain.”
10:47 a.m. – Defense attorney David Shircliff says the community was damaged emotionally and physically. “Loss of life occurred.”
10:48 a.m. – He says life without parole was created to put the most heinous people behind bars for the rest of their life.
10:49 a.m. – Shircliff says Monserrate Shirley had a relationship with Leonard and everything else – “We would deceive ourselves to think she is any less culpable. She could be out of jail in 3-7 years.” He asks the judge to consider what life without parole was created for.
10:51 a.m. – Shircliff says this is the most crazy case he’s been a part of. “To see the jurors in the back, to see their commitment to the system, I have to acknowledge that we have experienced the horror, trauma and acts of heroism.” He occasionally turns to the gallery. “I haven’t been able to sleep soundly at night. It’s like it’s never over, but i know it’s only a fraction of what you have experienced.”
10:53 a.m. – He thanks them for their graciousness. “Our defense of Mark Leonard is not personal. We do not disregard the horror of the explosion, we can’t understand what you’ve experienced.”
10:54 a.m. – He says the jurors gave up 7 weeks of their lives. “Your kinship will never go away.” Shircliff asks the court should punish the person for what’s been done. He asks the court to not give life without parole, but to give a sentence of years.
10:56 a.m. – Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson reminds the judge that one of Leonard’s previous convictions are for insurance fraud, which is relative to this case. “The fact he has no gun or drug charges don’t have anything to do with this case.”
10:57 a.m. – She says his criminal history should not be a mitigating circumstance. She says she doesn’t believe there is residual doubt in this case.
10:58 a.m. – Robinson said the expert testimony went to intent. They could not provide opinion. There’s no charge of intentional murder. The life without parole statute does not require intentional murder.
10:59 a.m. – “He absolutely set the event in motion by his actions. The fact that he was not present was merely to alibi himself. Jurors unanimously found him guilty,” she said. “This was not a political decision.”
11:00 a.m. – Robinson says remorse cannot be a mitigating factor. “I believe life without parole is fair in this case.”
11:02 a.m. – She says the State proved its case against Leonard. This case is about him, not Shirley. She asks for life without parole.
11:04 a.m. – Judge says it is inappropriate for him to consider the defendant’s lack of remorse. He cannot consider that.
11:07 a.m. – Judge reads the oath he took when he accepted this position. “It’s necessary that we have people to defend those accused, to keep the system honest.”
11:09 a.m. – Judge says that the jury was given an option for lesser included charges. Jury apparently rejected that notion and found he did act knowingly. “I do not believe there is residual doubt in this case. “
11:11 a.m. – He says he has no authority to determine what cases are filed. That is up to the prosector. In this case, LWP was requested before murder charges were filed.
11:12 a.m. – “If he was found not guilty of counts 52 or 53, or found guilty of lesser included charges, we would not be having this discussion. Protection often makes decisions based on community standards and cost,” said Judge Marnocha.
11:13 a.m. – He lists the aggravating circumstances: The death of Dion Longworth, the death of Jennifer Longworth and the burning of Dion Longworth while he was alive.
11:16 a.m. – Judge says Leonard did not act alone. He says he has considered the evidence and arguments from July to today.
11:17 a.m. – “8349 Fieldfare way may not have been blown up by virtue of a bomb. The effect was like bomb. Under the right circumstances, it would ignite. There was an ignition device. What is that if not a bomb?”
11:19 a.m. – Judge Marnocha says it’s clear that two people died in the explosion, and the explosion was a result of the conspiracy. Leonard was found guilty of those counts. The State proved two murders were committed.
11:20 a.m. – Judge said he has reviewed the telephone conversations and the autopsy information. Dion Longworth was burned alive.
11:21 a.m. – “State proved beyond a reasonable doubt the aggravating factors.”
11:22 a.m. – “Mr. Leonard was in fact the orchestrator of these events.”
11:23 a.m. – Judge says in terms of Monserrate Shirley’s plea and potential sentence, it is true she faced the same charges. He does not believe Shirley is or was the victim. “I will not portray her as someone who was taken advantage of by Mr. Leonard.”
11:24 a.m. – He says Shirley was somewhat of an unwilling participant, but continued to go along with the plan.
11:26 a.m. – Judge John Marnocha says life without parole is an appropriate sentence.
11:36 a.m. – A Richmond Hill resident is on the stand, explaining that she has suffered from PTSD and that her whole family has had extreme emotional distress.
*BRIEFLY LEFT COURTROOM*
11:51 a.m. – A resident is saying that his family will never get back to pre-explosion life.
11:52 a.m. – Gloria Olvie, a resident, said it was the worst night of her life. She spent the night in a hospital not knowing what was happening. A daughter has scars on her face from the stitches she received. Her daughters have endured relentless questioning.
11:54 a.m. – She says she has a permanent scar on her leg that she will live with forever. They used to go to bonfires, but one daughter is autistic and now associates the smell of smoke with the explosion. She also does not react well to emergency sirens. She is getting ready for college and they’ve had to make arrangements for her during fire drills.
11:56 a.m. – When she left the hospital, she was in scrubs and had no clothing. She watched her house be town down.
11:59 a.m. – She says she feels more violated than if she had been raped.
12:00 p.m. – She says this event has defined their lives. She says she sees no reason why Leonard shouldn’t spend his life in jail. “He should never walk the streets again.”
12:03 p.m. – A different resident talks about Dion Longworth, and how great of a person he was. He met Dion while working at Circuit City. They hung out a lot and loved going to auto shows. They went to at least one every year. Since Dion’s death, he won’t go back.
12:06 p.m. – He says whatever sentence is handed down today can’t replace what has been taken. He hopes the defendant can never hurt anyone again.
12:08 p.m. – Dion’s aunt says it seems like it’s still not real. Dion was always happy. “He was never mad. He never fought anyone.”
12:10 p.m. – She says he was a child at heart, and loved spending time with his younger relatives. Loved going to concerts with them and going to their sporting events.
12:11 p.m. – She says when he talked about Jennifer, he couldn’t stop smiling.
12:12 p.m. – She’s been a nurse for 30 years, and has been taught to be compassionate.
12:14 p.m. – She says Dion’s father was devastated, and often found him at the church. “They’ll always be traumatized.”
12:15 p.m. – “Mark needs to be put in a prison institution,” she said before leaving.
12:16 p.m. – Judge asks to see council at his bench.
12:17 p.m. – Don Buckston (not spelled) starts by thanking the city of South Bend and the court, and says he wishes he could have been there for his daughter.
12:23 p.m. – John Longworth, Dion’s father, says he was fortunate to attend the trial. He wanted to hear what went on. He says everyone involved has been very good to him. “Nobody should be here today. A crime was committed.” Dion’s sister gave him some words to say. Many asked if they were twins as kids. The loss affected her greatly. They ran track together and knew each other very well. “She will have a hole in her life forever.”
12:26 p.m. – When Dion was born, he did not cry. He looked around and greeted everyone with a wide-eyed gaze. She knew he would be someone special. He had a love of gardening and the outdoors. He shows a photo of Dion with his grandfather in a garden. Around 3 years old, he snatched up a gardner snake. John told him to put it in a bucket and told his mother what he found. He was very excited, and she shrieked.
12:29 p.m. – On a camping trip he had discovered “cat tails” and they had to explain to him what they actually were so he wouldn’t get sad.
12:30 p.m. – In school, he worked well with other children and read well from an early age. Teachers had trouble keeping him busy and sometimes he even helped other kids in his class after he finished. He was small for his age at the time so they didn’t want to push him ahead.
12:31 p.m. – Dion had a sudden growth in middle school, so much so that he was experiencing pain and almost had to give up running. He made the varsity cross county team. Only 7 guys could make it. “That’s just how hard he would work.”
12:33 p.m. – At a meet, a teammate collapsed in front of him. John was just a few feet away. Dion stopped and helped him up, and even let him finish in front of him. He had worked all season to beat the teammate. At this moment John knew he would be a man that would affect the world positively.
12:35 p.m. – He made the varsity cross country team at IUPUI his freshman year. He would later go on to graduate and later meet Jennifer. She was the only one Dion ever introduced to him in terms of romantic interests.
12:36 p.m. – He eventually went on to found a auto electronics company. In 2006, Dion and John attended a master gardner class together.
12:38 p.m. – John says Dion bought him the tie he’s wearing and one year bought him a toolbox nicer than his. “It was great to have a son with whom i could share so much with and go to for advice.”
12:40 p.m. – After the explosion, John got Dion’s phone and saw that almost every day, he and Jennifer texted “I love you.”
12:41 p.m. – Their final lunch together was November 1 2012. Dion always had 3 fajitas with beans and rice with a Dr. Pepper. He talked about being prepared to become a father.
12:42 p.m. – The trial has been long and far away from home. John came to South Bend to hear how his son died. He has had frequent nightmares. Two children will never get to meet their uncle.
12:43 p.m. – He thanks the judge for his time before returning to the gallery.
12:44 p.m. – Dion’s mother says she hates that her son died at such a young age, and knew his wife was dead as he burned alive. Their bodies were so hideously distorted. “I hate that I could not save him. I hate that in flashbacks, I hear his screams and see his hand reaching for me. I hate that I had to find the words to tell his grandmother that he died, and I hate that I did not die instead of him. When people see me, their mood changes. I hate that I’m now ‘that woman whose son was killed in the explosion.’ I hate that they were planning to have their own children, and I hate that I’m glad they didn’t. I hate that it had to be my boy that lived next door to Mark and Moncy. I hate that they were nothing but collateral damage to them. I hate like hell that my brilliant son was brought down by such fools. I hate that the jury’s decision of guilty is what passes for justice. I hate that the last place I saw them was at their house. When I left, I passed Mark and Moncy’s house. I hate that strangers had to sift through the rubble.”
12:52 p.m. – “From a young Mark Leonard only lived for himself. He laughed and joked with his lawyers in court, knowing the family of his victims were present.”
1:14 p.m. – Judge Marnocha re-enters the courtroom.
1:15 p.m. – Diane Black says the defense reiterates their previous statements. The State asks that the court find the aggravators outweigh any mitigating factors.
1:18 p.m. – State asks for sentence beyond the LWP sentence in case the statute changes in any way during Leonard’s time.
1:19 p.m. – Judge says he has already made the decision about life without parole. He says he has listened to testimony and read submitted letters. He has reviewed sentencing memorandums.
1:20 p.m. – He says this case and its scope is something that has never been seen in the criminal justice system. “I’m struck by the amount of homes and their damage. I’m struck by the testimony and impact of the events have had on the residents and first responders. In a usual arson case, collateral damage is usually limited to home damage, but this was the destruction of an entire neighborhood.”
1:23 p.m. – “There’s no sentence I can impose to make this right. Even the request for restitution will never be paid. Those are the cold, hard facts.”
1:24 p.m. – “A person ought to feel safe in their own home. I know there will be natural disasters, and I know there will be burglaries and thefts, unfortunately, but I think that people shouldn’t have to worry that someone might destroy the entire neighborhood.”
1:25 p.m. – At least with the respect to arsons – he says this was one act of criminal conduct.
1:30 p.m. – He says the separate arson conspiracy charges are all the same. He views it as one sentence. Many of the charges will be merged by property.
1:36 p.m. – He says he can find no mitigating factors in this case. Leonard has a criminal record with several convictions.
1:37 p.m. – He says Leonard told co-conspirators what to do. He was motivated by his need for money. The damage far exceeded the conspiracy. There were three separate attempts, and it’s concerning when each attempt was done when people were likely to be home. “It shows a callus disregard for other people.”
1:41 p.m. – He says Leonard had opportunities to stop and reflect on what they were doing. There were failed attempts and he had time to rethink. “I do believe at some point in time Monserrate Shirley tried to stop it.” He reiterates that he does not see her as a victim.
1:43 p.m. – “The defendant’s sheer indifference to the safety of others and their property lead me to believe significant aggravating factors exist.”
1:46 p.m. – “This case was motivated by greed.” When this is the case, the person is the worst of the worst.
1:50 p.m. – Mark Leonard sentenced in total to two concurrent life without parole sentences plus 75 years. Restitution denied as Leonard could never pay it.
1:51 p.m. – Mark Leonard leaves the courtroom
1:52 p.m. – Court is adjourned.
July 15, 2015—Judge Hears Arguments on Life without Parole Sentence
10:16 a.m.— Judge John Marnocha enters courtroom
10:17 a.m.—Judge discusses how there were motions filed beginning on March 20, 2013 to dismiss life sentence without parole, says motions still need to be under advisement
10:18 a.m.—Defense attorney Diane Black argues State should never seek life without parole for a felony murder case. She says the State didn’t prove that Leonard was the sole perpetrator in the crime, alleging there were co-conspirators. Black argues the State has never said it was an intentional killing.
“There is no doubt when the deaths occurred, Mark Leonard was not there.”
Argues these points, there cannot be life without parole sentence handed due to other State’s statute.
10:26 a.m.— Black reiterates “there is no doubt that the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Longworth were tragic,” but she says that the language of the statue, when it comes to torture, she claims there was no intention.
“You don’t have that in this case,” says Black.
10:29 a.m.—State counter argues. They say they are seeking life without parole for two counts of “knowing” murder. State attorneys analyze Pittman case, where this statute arises from. They are clarifying the language about being an “active participant” or “sole killer.”
10:35 a.m.—Deputy prosecutor Denise Robinson says State didn’t argue torture, but proved burning and mutilation, which is listed in State’s statute.
10:37 a.m.— Defense speaks, argues language specifically states the participant must be “actively involved” in “entire sequence of criminal activity.” They say there’s no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Leonard removed the step-down valve. That fact was only stated by Moncy Shirley.
10:40 a.m.—Judge says court cannot sentence on both Count 1 and 2 (felony murder) and Count 52 and 53 but cannot dismiss it. Judge says life without parole can apply to 52 and 53 but not 1 and 2.
“I find the motion to dismiss life without parole in respect to counts 1 & 2 is moved. If there is LWOP, those will apply to counts 52 and 53. “
10:46 a.m.—Defense asks judge to consider all evidence (physical, oral, etc.)
10:50 a.m.—States speaks, argues aggravated circumstances. Reiterates jury found Leonard guilty on murder charges, there were multiple victims and explosive devices were used to cause an explosion.
10:54 a.m.—Defense continues to argue the intent factor. They bring up Moncy again, saying Leonard was no more or less involved this Moncy Shirley, but life without parole was taken off the table for her. They say being male is a factor.
10:57 a.m.— Judge discusses sentencing and how victims statements will be used. Judge says he does intend to resolve this issue prior to sentencing in August.
11 a.m.—Judge discusses years Leonard could face base off the charges. He says by his calculation, if Leonard received the minimum sentence of each charge and were to serve those consecutively, he would serve 45 years in prison. If he received the max sentence for each count and served those consecutively, the sentence would be 1,488 years.
End of hearing. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 14 at 10 a.m., when judge will hear victims’ testimonies.
July 14, 2015: Jurors found Mark Leonard guilty on all 53 charges.
Count 1 Felony Murder: Guilty
Count 2 Felony Murder: Guilty
Count 3 Conspiracy to Commit Arson, Class A Felony: Guilty
Count 4 Conspiracy to Commit Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 5 Arson, Class A Felony: Guilty
Count 6 Arson, Class A Felony: Guilty
Count 7 Arson, Class A Felony: Guilty
Count 8 Arson, Class A Felony: Guilty
Count 9 Arson, Class A Felony: Guilty
Count 10 Arson, Class A Felony: Guilty
Count 11 Arson, Class A Felony: Guilty
Count 12 Arson, Class A Felony: Guilty
Count 13 Arson, Class A Felony: Guilty
Count 14 Arson, Class A Felony: Guilty
Count 15 Arson, Class A Felony: Guilty
Count 16 Arson, Class A Felony: Guilty
Count 17 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 18 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 19 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 20 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 21 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 22 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 23 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 24 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 25 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 26 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 27 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 28 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 29 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 30 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 31 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 32 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 33 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 34 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 35 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 36 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 37 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 38 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 39 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 40 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 41 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 42 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 43 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 44 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 45 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 46 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 47 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 48 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 49 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 50 Arson, Class B Felony: Guilty
Count 51 Conspiracy to Commit Insurance Fraud, Class C Felony: Guilty
Count 52 Murder: Guilty
Count 53 Murder: Guilty
July 13, 2015: Closing Arguments in Richmond Hill Trial
9:52 a.m.—Mark Leonard, in shackles, walks into courtroom
10:29 a.m.— Judge John Marnocha enters courtroom
10:34 a.m.— Jurors enter courtroom. Judge Marnocha briefs jury on day’s schedule for closing arguments
10:39 a.m.— Judge Marnocha thanks jury for the 6 weeks they’ve put in for the trial
10:41 a.m.— Judge reads final instructions to jurors
10:43-11:06 a.m.— All 53 counts suspect Mark Leonard faces read aloud:
- #1-2 Felony murder
- #3 Conspiracy to commit arson, Class A felony
- #4 Conspiracy to commit arson, Class B felony
- #5-16 Arson, Class A felony
- #17-50 Arson, Class B felony
- #51 Conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, Class C felony
- #52 Murder
- #53 Murder
11:06 a.m.— Judge reads instructions to jury, defines charges and what needs to be proved in order to charge Leonard with that crime
11:11 a.m.— Judge defines reasonable doubt to jury
11:12 a.m.— Deputy Prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth begins delivering State’s final arguments.
11:13 a.m.—Hollingsworth discusses how lead investigator found natural gas was used to cause explosion. He says the regulator and valve were removed, proving blast was intentional.
11:15 a.m.—Hollingsworth talks about how Citizens Energy Group tested gas lines on site and in the ground and found all lines to be OK. Officials with Citizens read meter at 8349 Fairfield Way. Chart presented to courtroom. It shows the significant increase in gas used during time of explosion. (8X more gas found in home)
11:20 a.m.— Hollingsworth recaps testimony of John Shirley, Moncy Shirley’s ex-husband. Shirley testified that appliances in home were working and he also identified prized possessions of family that were removed from home prior to explosion (painting, family’s cat.)
11:24 a.m.— Hollingsworth speaks about how donte valve, device used to turn on gas line, was not there. Shows photos of where valve should have been found.
11:26 a.m.— State reiterates how TVs were removed from the home prior to the explosion.
12:03 p.m.—Hollingsworth goes over each count, reads legal definition of each charge
12:11 p.m.—“The defendant is guilty as charged,” reads last slide of State’s presentation as they conclude the first part of their final arguments. Defense to present next.
12:37 p.m.—Defense begins closing arguments. “He is one of us, charged by the government,” says public defender David Shircliff of Mark Leonard
12:39 p.m.— “You’re going to decide Mark Leonard’s fate, which is a hefty responsibility,” says Shircliff to jurors
12:40 p.m.—Shircliff discusses meaning of proof
12:41 p.m.—“We all had to suffer through the horror,” says Shircliff, sympathizing with Longworths family
12:46 p.m.—Defense discusses Moncy Shirley. They argue she is a lead nurse and a smart woman, capable of taking charge
12:50 p.m.—Defense continues painting a picture of Moncy’s relationship with Leonard. Details how it turned from a sexual relationship to a dependent relationship after he moves in with her.
12:55 p.m.—“Does she have no backbone at all? I don’t buy it,” says Shircliff. Defense works to discount Shirley’s past testimony, calling her a “master liar” and “master manipulator.”
12:57 p.m.—Defense says Moncy Shirley is not credible
1:04 p.m.—Mark Duckworth and Mark Leonard met when they were Chippendale dancers. (Defense brings this point out to prove they weren’t random acquaintances. They saw each other often and were friends of 20 years, says defense.) Duckworth is the identified man in Mark Leonard’s alleged hit man scheme.
1:10 p.m.—Public defender Shircliff says it’s unfair to think of Leonard’s hit man scheme is a result of guilt for explosion
1:19 p.m.—Defense spends time reviewing people who testified against Leonard, asks jury if they can rely on their testimonies
1:21 p.m.—Defense displays evidence State presented, says some examples show State “is desperate.” Bring into question Citizens Energy video presented during trial. Shircliff says video was created for training purposes and not specifically for the trial. Shircliff asks Prosecutor Robinson to clarify when State gives their final statements next.
1:28 p.m.—Defense tells jury to remember facts the State did not want them to know about. Shircliff asks jury to recall how State didn’t want the detective, who interviewed Shirley following the explosion, to testify. Defense also says State didn’t want jury to hear from some neighbors.
1:33 p.m.—Defense again argues Moncy Shirley was capable of making her own decisions and wasn’t controlled by Leonard
1:34 p.m.—Defense questions why certain people weren’t called to testify, including two other suspects, and Shirley’s daughter, Brooke.
1:36 p.m.—Defense argues another point of why State was “desperate,” says 6 months before trial they offer Shirley a plea deal
1:39 p.m.—Defense recalls an April 9 deposition, where Moncy says valve was removed by Leonard. Defense argues Moncy lied to work with State to get a better sentencing deal
1:43 p.m.—Defense asks jury when Leonard would have had time to remove the valve on that Friday prior to the explosion if he was at the casino
1:48 p.m.—“Why no burn patterns?” Defense argues investigator was “confirmation bias,” says a lot of information was told to him before conducting independent research. Defense claims investigator took that information and wrote it in final report. Defense says investigator ignored relevant data.
1:57 p.m.— Defense says State never tested microwave or attempted to conduct further testing to prove it was used in explosion. They say everyone assumed microwave was involved due to “confirmation bias,” spread by word of mouth.
2:03 p.m.—Defense addresses State’s “Where are the TVs?” question. Defense lists circuit boards found at scene. They argue many came from the computers in the house, but what about the rest? TVs have circuit boards, says defense.
2:06 p.m.—Defense concludes by saying with it comes to Moncy Shirley, they “don’t buy it.” Defense addresses jury, reads them a part of the jury instructions.
2:12 p.m.—“It’s been a great journey…I’m confident you will do the right thing according to your conscious,” says Shircliff, as he concludes defense’s arguments.
3:33 p.m.– Break
3:50 p.m.– Judge reads jury instructions aloud to jurors. Following instructions, judge dismisses jurors for a brief deliberation. Deliberations to continue tomorrow.
July 9, 2015
9:48 a.m. – Judge John Marnocha enters the courtroom, followed by the jury.
9:51 a.m. – State recalls IMPD detective Jeff Wager to the witness stand.
9:52 a.m. – Last time he testified they discussed December 6, 2012, when DNA swabs were obtained.
9:53 a.m. – Wager obtained a search warrant for Monserrate Shirley’s apartment they were in after the explosion on December 6. The request for a search warrant document is admitted into evidence.
9:54 a.m. – On December 7, 2012, Wager interviewed Glenn Hults, who was babysitting Brooke at the time of the explosion. He was not a suspect at this time.
9:55 a.m. – Not long after that, he considered his investigation to be mostly complete. He began putting together the affidavit for probable cause.
9:46 a.m. – Charges were formally filed on December 21, 2012 for Mark Leonard, Monserrate Shirley and Bob Leonard, Jr. This was before the hit man plot and before Shirley had given a proper statement.
9:57 a.m. – Mark Duckworth was listed in the probable cause. Wager used his initials to protect his identity. Prosecutor Denise Robinson asks why since he wasn’t aware of Robert Smith’s information yet. Defense attorney Diane Black objects and they meet at the judge’s bench.
9:59 a.m. – Charges were later filed against Gary Thompson (January 2015) and Glenn Hults (March 2015).
10:01 a.m. – State enters one photo each of Shirley, Thompson, Hults and the Leonard brothers into evidence. They’re admitted. Jury members receive a copy. The photos are the suspects’ mugshots.
10:04 a.m. – The mugshots are shown via projector.
10:06 a.m. – On November 21, 2012, Wager met with Arthur Kirkpatrick at the Gas Light Inn. He told wager that the Leonard brothers spoke to him about natural gas. He did not give a formal statement, because he wanted to talk to an attorney. The formal statement was given on November 29, 2012.
10:09 a.m. – Wager requested phone records of the suspects. Mark Leonard didn’t talk on the phone to Hults or Thompson after November 9, 2012. The Leonard brothers did talk after November 9.
10:14 a.m. – Wager’s focus was on the homicide investigation, not the science of the explosion. He included opinions of experts in his probable cause, but the origin and cause didn’t affect what he was doing. Without it, he still feels he had enough for the PC. If the fire was ruled undetermined, he still would have filed criminal charges.
10:17 a.m. – After the Robert Smith interview, Wager’s role was complete. Robinson ends questioning. Black cross-examines.
10:18 a.m. – Black said at first, the scene was not considered a crime scene. Within 24 hours, it started looking suspicious. By November 13, he was already getting search warrants and putting documents together. On the 13th, he had interviewed Duckwork and learned about the boarding of the cat.
10:20 a.m. – By the end of November, it had turned into a criminal investigation. He knew the main suspects were Mark Leonard, Bob Leonard, Jr. and Monserrate Shirley.
10:21 a.m. – He did his fist interview with Hults on December 7, 2012. He didn’t have a lawyer and spoke on his own accord. Black says he talked about his relationship with Mark. State objects and they meet at judge’s bench.
10:23 a.m. – Hults willingly gave a buckle swab at that time.
10:24 a.m. – Hults was not immediately a suspect and was not arrested until 2015.
10:25 a.m. – Wager knew about Gary Thompson through the Mark Duckworth interview on November 13, 2012.
10:26 a.m. – Thompson was interviewed soon after that. Thompson did not have a lawyer present. Thompson was not a suspect at that time and was not arrested until 2015.
10:27 a.m. – On January 19, 2015, Thompson did two interviews. He provided information to detectives. He was arrested that month. Monserrate Shirley provided information that led to the arrests of Hults and Thompson.
10:28 a.m. – Black says both men lived freely for those few years. Wager says that’s correct.
10:29 a.m. – Hults was charged with conspiracy, Thompson was charged with several arson counts and two felony murder counts.
10:30 a.m. – Both hired lawyers.
10:32 a.m. – Black says it’s unlikely that they would testify. State objects and judge sustains it.
10:33 a.m. – Juror requested break.
10:47 a.m. – Monseratte Shirley’s statement was given on Januray 9. Plea agreements had already been initiated.
10:48 a.m. – Wager says the statement took an hour or more.
10:49 a.m. – Before Shirley gave her statement, she was told she has to tell the truth. Robinson told her she couldn’t omit anything material, and said it’s the same as lying.
10:50 a.m. – Shirley at one point said Mark Leonard told her he would remove the step-down valve. The State alleges an excess of gas was released into the home. One way that can happen is if the fireplace valve is removed. IFD used it in the origin and cause report.
10:52 a.m. – Black asks if the valve was something material in this case. Wager says it is. Black says nowhere in Shirley’s statement does she mention the valve. Wager says that’s true.
10:54 a.m. – Shirley’s lawyers would prompt her during the statement if she wasn’t speaking up or if she got a date wrong. They remind her of timeframes and tell her several times to “give the facts…remember the facts.”
10:55 a.m. – They prompted her to talk about the totes, the cat, the research Mark and Bob did and how Bob received payment. At the end, Robinson asks if there is anything else. Shirley says no. Robinson ends the tape.
10:57 a.m. – Black goes through the statement, asking if each question in the statement was asked. Wager says yes to all of them.
10:59 a.m. – Black says not once did her lawyers prompt her to talk about the gas valve, nor was she questioned. Wager says yes. Despite this, she was offered a plea agreement. She faces 20-50 years and does not face any murder charges. The 20 years could be suspended. She could potentially go home after she testifies.
11:01 a.m. – Black says a judge can’t take a plea unless all the facts are given under oath. Wager says that’s correct.
11:02 a.m. – Black says Shirley’s lawyers typed up the factual basis document and it’s in evidence. Shirley signed it and so did her lawyers. Black says in that document Shirley never mentions the valve. State objects and they meet at judge’s bench.
11:07 a.m. – Wager is aware that Shirley gave depositions to the defense. Robinson interjects and says she wants to ask a preliminary question. Judge says he wants to hear it first and to meet at his bench.
11:09 a.m. – Black says Wager was not at those depositions, but Robinson was. Wager says yes. He has not read the entire depositions. Black says the first one was March 25, 2015. State objects, saying he wasn’t there. Judge asks them to meet at his bench.
11:13 a.m. – Black says the depositions took several hours each. Eventually, Shirley brings up the fact that Leonard removed the step-down valve from the fireplace. This was the first time she mentioned it. This was 7-8 weeks before the trial.
11:14 a.m. – She was required to come in and testify truthfully. If she didn’t, her plea could be taken away. Black says it’s not up to the jury if she can keep the plea, it’s up to Robinson.
11:15 a.m. – Black says when Wager talked to Thompson, he said, “I know you didn’t mean to kill anyone. You created a situation and this happened.” Wager says yes. This was to put him at ease and make him forthcoming.
11:16 a.m. – Black asks if he thought in reality, they intended to blow the house up. Wager says yes.
11:17 a.m. – Shirley’s plea deal is pending. She testified here, and she must testify against the other suspects.
11:18 a.m. – Black asks again if he thinks the house was meant to blow up. Wager says yes. “Because of pitchforks and torches, Mark Leonard wasn’t offered a plea?” Black asked Wager. State objects and it’s sustained. Black has no more questions.
11:19 a.m. – Robinson says during the investigation, Wager found a fourth person might be involved after interviewing people.
11:20 a.m. – Gary Thompson wasn’t a suspect for a while. He was a person of interest, which just means he’s someone worth investigating.
11:21 a.m. – Wager was aware that Brooke stayed with Hults for the three weeks before the explosion.
11:22 a.m. – During Shirley’s statement to the State, Robinson asks who has all the information. He says Monserrate Shirley and the defense council.
11:25 a.m. – Wager says during the course of the investigation, they found out about the insurance being raised.
11:27 a.m. – Robinson says when Shirley said Leonard removed the valve, she didn’t even know what that meant. Wager says that’s correct. Robinson says what may be material to investigators may not be material to her. Wager says yes. Robinson says that everyone did find out before the trial. Wager says that’s correct.
11:29 a.m. – Black asks to meet at judge’s bench.
11:36 a.m. – Robinson goes through the topics involved in Shirley’s statements, asking wager if anything would have prompted a response about the gas valve. Wager says no to each topic.
11:38 a.m. – Robinson asks if he has sat through many depositions. He says yes.
11:39 a.m. – Robinson says in Shirley’s statement, Shirley said Mark Leonard told her it would just be a small fire. Robinson ends questioning.
11:40 a.m. – Black asks if in depositions, he gives background information about what he does. Wager says yes.
11:41 a.m. – Black says the proffer statement is meant to find out what a person knows about a case, not necessarily background about the case. Wager says yes.
11:42 a.m. – “You didn’t think to ask her about the fireplace valve?” Black asks him. He says they were trying to get an overview of what she knew. She was not asked.
11:43 a.m. – Black says neither of her attorneys promoted her to say it either. It wasn’t until her deposition when the defense team asked if she knew about any valves that she answered. Wager says that’s correct Black has no more questions.
11:45 a.m. – Juror asks a question of Wager – if any DNA samples were taken from Shirley. Wager says none of their swabs contained female DNA profiles, so no.
11:46 a.m. – No more questions for Wager. He is excused.
11:47 p.m. – The State of Indiana rests its case.
11:49 a.m. – Judge Marnocha addresses Mark Leonard directly. He tells Leonard is his decision whether or not to testify.
1:25 p.m. – Judge Marnocha re-enters the room. He asks Leonard if he has made a decision on whether or not to testify. Leonard confirms he will not testify. Judge says he can change his mind at any time if he chooses.
1:26 p.m. – Defense calls IMPD detective Aaron Carter to the witness stand without jury present.
1:27 p.m. – He was on vacation and returned at the last minute. He is wearing jeans and a t-shirt and apologizes for that. He was unable to change due to coming straight from the plane and didn’t have a suit with him on vacation.
1:28 p.m. – He informed his supervisors, who informed State that he was going out of town. Wager was also notified, as well as another prosecutor who is not involved with the case. He never informed the defense.
1:30 p.m. – He had to pay approximately $1,200 to be here today for plane tickets, etc.
1:31 p.m. – State did not tell him to inform defense. State told him it was OK to go on vacation.
1:32 p.m. – He is excused from the witness stand temporarily as jury is called in.
1:33 p.m. – Jury enters the courtroom.
1:34 p.m. – Defense calls detective Aaron Carter to the witness stand. David Shircliff does the questioning.
1:35 p.m. – He has been with IMPD for 15 years. He’s been with the arson unit for the last four years.
1:36 p.m. – Carter lives on the south side and heard the explosion that night. He was on the scene the next day. He checked in but there was no specific task he was given initially. Later, he was tasked with interviewing Shirley three days after the explosion.
1:38 p.m. – He interviewed her in a fire station just north of the neighborhood. It was a lounge type room. Nobody else was in the room.
1:39 p.m. – Carter says he wasn’t really sure at that time what he was dealing with in interviewing her. Carter asked her about where she was at the time. He asked about her relationship with Leonard. He asked about Brooke and how she got to school/where she was at the time of the explosion.1:42 p.m.
1:42 p.m. – Shirley told him they went to a casino in Lawrenceburg. Carter found out that she was a nurse, and shared with her that his wife is a nurse as well.
1:43 p.m. – Carter informed her that they were interviewing everyone involved. Shirley told him she was telling the truth and that she had nothing to hide.
1:44 p.m. – Shirley told him they board the cat whenever they go to the casino.
1:45 p.m. – Carter asked her to go over the layout of the house, and about vehicles and appliances in the home.
1:46 p.m. – Shircliff says Cater said to her, “If this is not an accident, tell us who or what we need to look at.”
1:47 p.m. – He also asked, “If we find out if this is not an accident, what punishment should the person(s) responsible receive?” Carter says these questions are meant to gauge reactions.
1:49 p.m. – State objects to line of questioning, saying it’s hearsay. Lawyers meet at judge’s bench.
1:53 p.m. – Judge tells jury that this is hearsay. A witness may not testify in court as to what another person told them outside of court. He says it sounds like a simple rule but it isn’t. There are 30+ hearsay exceptions. He says the officer will testify as to what Shirley said, but that doesn’t necessarily mean what she said is true.
1:56 p.m. – Shirley responded to the second question, saying, they should be punished and go to jail for life. She also spoke about being Catholic, saying it’s also in God’s hands.
1:57 p.m. – Carter thought her demeanor was normal. She was happy when recalling happy times and sad when talking about the explosion. A range of emotions, but appropriate for the situation.
1:58 p.m. – She denied involvement in the explosion. Carter said the most suspicious thing was the boarding of the cat.
1:59 p.m. – In December, Carter was asked to arrest Shirley and Leonard. There was a team, and he was a part of it. Shirley’s arrest was made on a public roadway. Carter placed her in handcuffs. He rode in the car she was placed in.
2:00 p.m. – He recorded any conversation, which there wasn’t much of. It was about a 15-minute ride. Shirley was concerned about Brooke. Carter told her CPS and the police department was taking care of it. During the ride, she never mentioned any involvement in the explosion.
2:02 p.m. – Shircliff ends questioning. Hollingsworth asks if he interviewed Shirley alone. He says yes. Mark Leonard and Brooke were at the fire station, but not in the room. No further questions. Carter is excused. He is released from his subpoena so he can go back to vacation.
2:04 p.m. – Shircliff asks to admit WTHR’s tape of Indianapolis media’s interview with Shirley into evidence. Judge asks lawyers to approach his bench.
2:11 p.m. – Judge tells the jury that the interview was admitted. They want to set it up to make sure it works correctly first, so they will take a quick break.
2:29 p.m. – Judge Marnocha re-enters the courtroom, followed by the jury.
2:33 p.m. – The video is played for the court. FOX59’s Aishah Hasnie is doing the questioning. Shirley talks about going to the Hollywood Casino a lot, and explains that’s where they were the night of the explosion. She says she got a call Saturday night after 11 p.m. from a neighbor about the explosion. Shirley says they always board the cat on the weekends when they go to the casino.
2:35 p.m. – Shirley says her husband talked about the malfunctioning thermostat, not her. She said she has a restraining order aginst him.
2:36 p.m. – Shirley said Leonard did change the thermostat. They stayed in the hotel because the house was too cold. Nobody checked the heater for problems.
2:37 p.m. – Shirley said that solved the problem.
2:38 p.m. – Shirley said her daughter smelled gas a few weeks before the explosion. Shirley said she couldn’t smell it. After the thermostat was replaced she didn’t smell gas.
2:39 p.m. – Shirley says she was told the house blew up and was gone. They left the casino and went straight back.
2:41 p.m. – Shirley said she talked to the police. Shirley gets emotional as she explains she was told the people next door died.
2:42 p.m. – Hasnie asks her what she told police. Shirley says she doesn’t remember. The tape is then stopped.
2:43 p.m. – Defense rests their case. “Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve heard the evidence in this case,” Judge Marnocha says.
2:44 p.m. – Final instructions and closing arguments will be on Monday.
*LEFT COURTROOM TO REPORT UPDATE*
2:53 p.m. – Lawyers are discussing the different jury instructions for the various charges and lesser-included charges.
2:55 p.m. – Judge explains that he will play the video again to the jury of his reading of Leonard’s charges. State points out that there are some type-os.
3:01 p.m. – Judge will not read all 108 verdict forms. They will be grouped where applicable.
*END OF COURT FOR JULY 9*
July 8, 2015
9:53 a.m. – Judge John Marnocha enters the courtroom. He says they are having a juror issue. Juror 12 was excused. Her former spouse who she still lives with was having artery blockage problems. Turns out he needs heart surgery. Judge exits courtroom.
10:15 a.m. – Judge re-enters the room. He says there has been a motion to strike witness testimony from yesterday. State filed a written response this morning. He says the witness testified that he was a master mechanic. Judge says he was certified, but doesn’t seem qualified under rule 702. Under rule 701, he qualifies as a skilled witness – meaning he has more knowledge or experience than a normal person would.
10:19 a.m. – He says what the witness testified to and the fact that he is regularly hired by insurance companies factors into his decision.
10:21 a.m. – Judge denies the motion to strike witness testimony.
10:23 a.m. – Defense says an ATF explosives expert Michael Eggleston who is to testify today was only on the scene for 4-5 hours and that he looked at the microwave and cylinder but didn’t do any testing. Said what happened to the microwave was an anomaly.
10:25 a.m.- Defense attorney Diane Black says this is not his area of expertise. Because he is an “expert” and has several titles, she says the jury will trust his testimony more than others and they may end up confused.
10:27 a.m. – Prosecutor Denise Robinson says there’s no risk of confusion here. The jury had already heard all the facts he will discuss. He will take facts that the jury was aware of and add in information related to his particular training.
10:30 a.m. – Eggleston takes the witness stand without the jury present. He is an explosives expert for ATF. He explains that an explosive is anything that is bomb-like that violates federal law and causes damage or death.
10:31 a.m. – Earlier today, Black showed him a list used to govern the manufacturing of explosive materials. Natural gas is not on the list, other federal agencies handle/regulate it.
10:33 a.m. – On the law enforcement side, a group investigates explosions, fires or anything that goes above a certain level of damage.
10:34 a.m. – He goes to a scene and compares samples to known explosive devices. He says he tries to find as many pieces as possible and compare it to federal code. He was not asked to the scene to look for a destructive device. He was asked to come to the scene to try and determine if this was accidental or not – and what might have caused it.
10:35 a.m. – He didn’t believe the microwave was a destructive device. He says there were anomalies with the microwave. He didn’t do any testing on it. Same results for the metal cylinder.
10:36 a.m. – He says the blast pattern was extremely large and violent. In his report, he says the kitchen area was likely where the explosion happened. He said in the report that it might have been the microwave or something around it.
10:38 a.m. – Eggleston’s report was shared to a detective in 2012. Black has no further questions.
10:39 a.m. – Robinson asks if his process is used on the regulatory side or the law enforcement side. He says it’s primarily used for the regulatory side.
10:41 a.m. – Robinson asks him to speak about his educational background. He quickly goes through his degree and training. He has ATF explosives training and also has training in law enforcement.
10:44 a.m. – If there was a destructive device used, he believes he would have been able to locate the item. He did not in this case.
10:45 a.m. – He explains that during an explosion, there is a positive and negative pressure wave. After, there is an incendiary event that causes the fire.
10:47 a.m. – Robinson has no more questions. Black says anything Eggleston would testify to has already been discussed in detail. Robinson says his testimony is cumulative.
10:49 a.m. – She says the State must prove that this originated by explosion, fire, or destructive device. Eggleston’s testimony would rule out a destructive device and back up IFD Lt. Mario Garza’s testimony about it being an explosion.
10:50 a.m. – Judge says the rule about cumulative testimony isn’t written in stone and can sometimes just waste time. He says this witness’ testimony isn’t needlessly repetitive. He would not exclude the testimony on those grounds.
10:51 a.m. – Judge also believes that the witness would qualify as a skilled witness or expert witness depending on his testimony. He believes the witness’ testimony would be useful to the jury.
10:55 a.m. – Judge says he will allow the witness to testify but he cannot testify on his opinion about whether the explosion was intentional.
10:57 a.m. – Jury enters the courtroom for the first time today.
10:59 a.m. – Judge apologizes to them for the delay in getting them out here.
11:00 a.m. – He tells the jury a juror has been excused and to not speculate as to why.
11:01 a.m. – State calls Whitney Essex to the witness stand. She lives in Indianapolis. In November 2012, she was pregnant and living with her fiancé. He was working third shift – late night to early morning.
11:02 a.m. – She was Bob Leonard’s neighbor. There was an empty lot between their homes. She has known him for 13 years—the whole time she lived there.
11:03 a.m. – Robinson shows a photo on the projector of Bob Leonard’s trailer. Essex identifies it. She lives to the left of this trailer. Essex said he drove a red Ford Mustang. The Mustang is shown and Essex identifies it.
11:04 a.m. – Essex became aware of the explosion by seeing it on the news. She went to the hospital Friday night before explosion and got back Sunday morning.
11:05 a.m. – When she left, she noticed a white van at Bob Leonard’s trailer. She said he never had company so it seemed odd.
11:06 a.m. – A photo of the white van is shown and Essex identifies it.
11:07 a.m. – When she got back Sunday morning, she didn’t notice if the van was there or not. The next day, Monday, she saw a black pickup truck at Leonard’s trailer. She didn’t see anyone associated with the truck.
11:08 a.m. – She later saw them moving items from the trailer to the truck. She says it was two men – Bob was one of them. She said Bob’s son was driving the truck.
11:09 a.m. – She saw the van there off and on for a few weeks.
11:10 a.m. – She was home when a search warrant was served at Bob Leonard’s trailer. She saw golf clubs being moved. Bob asked her if the media talked to her about what she saw. She said yes. Bob told her he was just using the van to move his brother’s things. Robinson has no other questions. Defense attorney David Shircliff asks if she ever saw anyone who was associated with the van. She says no. Essex is excused.
11:11 a.m. – State calls Michael Eggleston to the witness stand.
11:12 a.m. – Robinson asks him to go over his educational background.
11:16 a.m. – He was notified of the explosion by phone call the day after. He was asked to come to the scene the next morning to see if he could figure out what caused it.
11:17 a.m. – He checked in and was escorted to the main area of the blast.
11:19 a.m. – Robinson asks him to go over how explosions work. He provides the same explanation he provided earlier for the court.
11:20 a.m. – He did see evidence of an explosion at Shirley’s home.
11:22 a.m. – Eggleston explains for the jury what he looks for at the scene of the explosion: An incendiary device, explosive material or anything that could have caused it.
11:24 a.m. – He said the microwave was much more charred and damaged than the other appliances.
11:26 a.m. – Robinson shows photos of the microwave via projector.
11:27 a.m. – Eggleston said all the appliances had significant damage, but not to the extent of the microwave.
11:28 a.m. – He said the canister found at the scene was BLEVE-ed, which means something ruptured it from the inside.
11:30 a.m. – Robinson ends questioning. Black asks him if there is a photo of the exact location of where the canister was found. He says no.
11:32 a.m. – Black asks if the microwave was a vented, above-the-stove microwave. Eggleston says yes.
11:33 a.m. – Black asks if the stove and refrigerator had damage. He says yes. She asks if the microwave had more damage than them. He says yes.
11:34 a.m. – He does not know what happened to the evidence after he left the scene.
11:35 a.m. – Black ends questioning. Robinson asks him if he was aware of any tests done of evidence from the scene. He says he’s not aware. Everything he testified about was just from his observations. Black asks if a lab could have done reconstruction tests. He says yes, if they are asked to do so.
11:37 a.m. – Juror asks if he has ever seen a microwave used as an ignition source. He says no, but it certainly could be used as an ignition source, given that it was programmable. Black asks about the timeframe. He said it would have had to be programmed within 24 hours of the blast.
11:38 a.m. – Eggleston is excused.
11:40 a.m. – State calls Skip Shand to the witness stand. He is an investigator at Shand Forensics. He investigates the origin and cause of fires.
11:42 a.m. – Shand Forensics was hired by State Farm Insurance to investigate the explosion. He didn’t get involved until December 12. He helped with the sifting process and taking of core samples.
11:43 a.m. – A core sample is taking a sample of concrete from the ground. Concrete is like a sponge, and absorbs things like ignitable liquids.
11:44 a.m. – Steve Shand, Skip’s father, was the lead investigator. He was there with Skip, along with other investigators.
11:46 a.m. – A photo is shown of the concrete slab at the Shirley home after the explosion. Before taking samples, they remove debris and wash it down with water. They do this to see burn patterns in the concrete. That tells them where to extract samples.
11:47 a.m. – A mason jar full of the concrete samples is admitted into evidence. The jury members look at the contents of the jar.
11:52 a.m. – Core samples were taken from other Richmond Hill homes. They were used for comparison purposes.
11:54 a.m. – Those comparison core samples are admitted into evidence.
11:56 a.m. – Robinson asks if all the samples were taken using the same process. Shand says yes.
11:58 a.m. – Robinson shows him samples of debris from the fire. Shand says they also collected that at the scene for analysis. The sample is admitted into evidence.
11:59 a.m. – A map of Shirley’s home is admitted into evidence so Shand can show were samples were collected from.
12:01 p.m. – Some samples were taken from the former locations of the family room, the basement stairway and the kitchen.
12:05 p.m. – The samples were taken back to the Shand facility north of Fort Wayne. They were then sent for testing to a lab in New Haven, Indiana. They drove the samples over and handed them over.
12:06 p.m. – The chain of custody document is admitted into evidence.
12:07 p.m. – After testing, Shand Forensics kept the samples until used for trial.
12:11 p.m. – He was part of the sifting process from December 12 through the weekend, Then December 17 -21.
12:12 p.m. – They found business cards, batteries, notebooks and more. Robinson ends questioning. Black says a few things on the map aren’t labeled. She points out were the fireplace and utility room are. No further questions from Defense.
12:14 p.m. – Juror asks how long an ignitable liquid can stay in concrete. He says for years. No further questions. Shand is excused.
1:25 p.m. – Judge Marnocha re-enters the courtroom.
1:27 p.m. – Shircliff says they’ve run into an issue with a witness – Detective Aaron Carter. He informed the State a month ago he was going on vacation and didn’t inform the Defense. The State decided not to call him but the Defense wants him to testify. He’s in Wyoming. He let the State know on June 17.
1:29 p.m. – Judge says he is under subpoena and needs to get here. Robinson said she thought he was going to be gone a week, not a month. Defense is given five minutes to call the detective and inform him of the judge’s decision.
1:42 p.m. – Shircliff says the witness has been informed that he needs to return to testify.
1:44 p.m. – Jury re-enters the courtroom.
1:45 p.m. – State calls Ross Ott to the witness stand. He works for Fire Findings Investigation (FFI), a fire origin and cause firm. They also do lab inspections and provide training. Located in Michigan.
1:47 p.m. – In November 2012, FFI was contacted regarding Richmond Hill. State Farm contacted them via email. They were requested to represent State Farm and investigate the origin and cause of the explosion.
1:49 p.m. – On December 12, 2012, he arrived on the scene. He was there for 8 days.
1:50 p.m. – He was involved with taking concrete core samples. Shand was hired to represent the claims from the origin home. Ott was there to represent the other claims in the neighborhood.
1:53 p.m. – Robinson brings out the concrete core samples previously admitted into evidence. Ott identifies them as the samples from the scene of the explosion.
1:54 p.m. – The samples were stored in his office until they were tested.
1:56 p.m. – He numbered the samples differently than Shand did. He explains which one is which. They were all taken from the Shirley home.
1:57 p.m. – The samples were wrapped in bubble wrap, sealed with tape, put in a box and shipped to the lab.
1:58 p.m. – The documents detailing the transportation back and forth are admitted into evidence. When they were returned, Ott kept the samples in his office until he handed them over to police. That was the extent of his involvement. No more questions and Ott is excused.
2:02 p.m. – State calls Craig Balliet to the witness stand. He is a chemist and lab manager of the testing facility for the core samples – Barker & Herbert.
2:04 p.m. – He received the concrete core samples from both forensic investigation companies. They search for ignitable residue in samples.
2:06 p.m. – Their methods are scientifically reliable and approved.
2:08 p.m. – Some of the samples in this case were hand-delivered. Others were shipped. Both are accepted methods of sending samples.
2:10 p.m. – The sample of fire debris, gasoline residue is present.
2:13 p.m. – With gasoline, some elements are evaporated. That’s why they look for residue. They can’t necessarily tell if it was unleaded, plus, premium etc.
2:14 p.m. – A core sample had a petroleum product, such as kerosene or diesel fuel. Another had “styrene,” which indicates a type of Styrofoam product. It’s present in many plastic products and even some carpets. Styrene is not a significant finding.
2:16 p.m. – Another sample had nothing present. The next had petroleum. Another had gasoline residue, styrene and turpentine residue. The next item had gasoline residue and styrene. The last had styrene residue.
2:19 p.m. – The samples from the other homes had petroleum residue in both. This could also be caused by floor sealers.
2:21 p.m. – Several other samples had petroleum. The sample from the southeast corner of the Shirley home had gasoline residue. This sample is the only significant finding.
2:23 p.m. – Robinson asks if it’s true gasoline can stay in the core for years. He says yes. Robinson ends questioning. Black asks about the gasoline residue found in some of the samples. She asks about the percentage found.
2:24 p.m. – He says in Sample 10, there was a considerable amount. He does not make a determination about evaporation rate. Sample 10 is from the garage of the Shirley home.
2:25 p.m. – She asks about the evaporation rate of other samples. He again tells her he doesn’t measure that. She has no further questions and Balliet is excused.
2:27 p.m. – State calls Steve Shand to the witness stand. He works for Shand Forensics. Skip Shand is his son. He has been a cause and origin expert since 1989. His wife and kids work with him.
2:31 p.m. – He has been involved with 125-150 explosions of various sizes.
2:33 p.m. – He became aware of the explosion via a call from a co-worker on Sunday morning. He did not know he would be involved.
2:34 p.m. – State Farm contacted him about becoming involved in the investigation.
2:35 p.m. – He got to the scene on Monday. He said there was security everywhere and they were escorted to a mobile command unit to check in and show credentials. After that, they were escorted to the scene.
2:37 p.m. – He said they were looking at a very large explosion. The debris field was a block in diameter and housing pieces were everywhere. “It looked like a tornado went through,” he says.
2:38 p.m. – They start in the area with the least amount of damage and move inward. He had a camera and documented his findings. He says they try and shoot everything because they don’t know what will be important during the trial. He says several others were taking photos, too.
2:41 p.m. – He starts at the front of the house and moves to the left. He always tries to start with the areas with the least amount of damage.
2:43 p.m. – He says it’s important to have a system and reproduce it in every case.
2:47 p.m. – He was at the site for a couple of weeks.
2:49 p.m. – He says there was a ton of security on the scene, and he assisted in putting up the fence around the crime scene. After that he had no access unless designated by the fire department. He said it drove him crazy, but he understood why that process was necessary. “Police/fire get first dibs.”
2:51 p.m. – In these cases, Shand says everything has to be done right the first time.
2:53 p.m. – Anytime they are at the scene, Shand says his people know that if the fire department is there, they’re in control. “Everybody’s got a job to do.”
2:54 p.m. – He didn’t get full access until December 10. He says they and insurance companies often offer monetary resources because many police departments don’t have a lot of resources for things that cost money.
2:56 p.m. – “The scene was huge. It requires cooperation from everone,” Shand says.
2:57 p.m. – Juror requests break.
3:26 p.m. – Defense tells judge that Detective Carter has found a flight back and will be able to testify Thursday.
3:27 p.m. – Robinson gives Shand some photographs and asks him to identify them. He says he took them at the scene of the explosion and they are admitted into evidence.
3:32 p.m. – The photos are shown on the projector. On December 10, the fence had been set up.
3:33 p.m. – IFD was in charge of the scene, but they allowed Shand to go in and do his job. He had access during the day, but IFD retained command.
3:34 p.m. – Shand said their normal equipment would not do the job in this case. State Farm allowed him to design and build special sifters to use at the scene. A photo of the sifters is shown.
3:36 p.m. – He says the sifters allowed them to pick out things as small as coins and paper clips.
3:37 p.m. – Anything they found was property of IFD/IMPD. There were several Bobcats on the scene as well, but everything was hand-loaded into them. No physical evidence was driven over. They even collected the rocks. “When we were done, there weren’t even any leaves on the ground,” he said.
3:40 p.m. – No gasoline-powered vehicles or equipment was used.
3:41 p.m. – After they collect debris off of the foundation, they clean the floor with a hose. They do this so they can see burn patterns.
3:42 p.m. – The carpet and pad absorb liquids, and so does the concrete.
3:44 p.m. – Shand says the gas evaporates much more quickly after debris and other things are removed – that’s why they use the concrete. There is no oxygen for it to burn and gets trapped.
3:45 p.m. – Shand says in this case, there was carpet and padding on top of the concrete. Gasoline as a liquid doesn’t burn, the vapors do. The only way there are burn patterns if gasoline was recently put on that spot.
3:47 p.m. – In the garage, the gasoline isn’t unusual. But the leakage from the garage stays in the garage– it doesn’t spread through the home. They did find liquid accelerant but that doesn’t mean much to them. Finding it in the living room is a different story. “There was liquid accelerant in the carpet at the time of the fire,” says Shand.
3:49 p.m. – Shand’s origin and cause finding was that it was an incendiary fire. NFPA 921 lists incendiary, accidental or undetermined fires as possible origins. Incendiary means it was arson, or it was intentional in some way.
3:51 p.m. – There were two separate fires occurring at the same time – in the kitchen and in the living room – Shand says that means it was intentional.
3:52 p.m. – Shand later interviewed Monserrate Shirley. She did not make any admissions of guilt or explain how the fire started. Leonard was with her during the interview. Shand identifies Leonard for the court. Robinson ends questioning and Shircliff cross-examines.
3:54 p.m. – Shircliff says he’s the first witness to testify about gasoline, even after not being on the scene for 30 days. Shircliff says nobody else on the scene testified to gasoline.
3:55 p.m. – Shand said informed everyone involved about his findings after his report.
3:56 p.m. – Shircliff goes through Shand’s long list of credentials and training and lists it on an easel in the courtroom. “This has been your life work, it’s the family business,” Shircliff says. Shand says that’s correct.
3:58 p.m. – Shircliff brings up that Shand said, “It’s important to do everything right the first time.”
3:59 p.m. – Shircliff asks about the interview with Shirley. Shand says he takes people at their word, but needs physical evidence to back it up. “Physical evidence doesn’t lie,” he says.
4:00 p.m. – Shircliff asks if he would’ve gotten to the scene first and he could have done his work, he would have carved out a wider birth for the fence perimeter. Shand says yes. Shircliff says Shand would have made 10×10 grids and worked from the outside in if he had his way, and mark where specific pieces of evidence were found. Shand says that’s correct.
4:02 p.m. – Shircliff says there have been a few items shown, but nobody could say where they were found exactly.
4:03 p.m. – Shircliff said he had to pick things out of dumpsters instead of plotting them like he wanted to. “That was heartbreaking for you, wasn’t it?” Shircliff asks. “Yes,” Shand replies.
4:05 p.m. – Shand is aware now that natural gas was in the home at the time. He says all gases are lighter or heavier than air. It depends on air temperature and movement. Natural gas and gasoline vapors can mix. They ignited at the same time in this case.
4:07 p.m. – Shand said there were two spots with gasoline, but both of those and the natural gas ignited at the same time.
4:08 p.m. – Shircliff asks why someone would put gasoline on the floor when they filled the home with natural gas. Shand says it’s probably a redundancy measure. If the explosion is small, another fuel can pick it up and maintain it.
4:10 p.m. – Shand says he couldn’t replicate this exact event if he wanted to. There are so many factors and each one was perfect in this case. “They didn’t have a clue what they were doing. They got lucky,” Shand said. Shircliff ends questioning.
4:11 p.m. – Robinson asks if he would have done things a bit differently. He says yes. Robinson asks if it would have changed anything. Shand says no. “They found what they needed to find, I found what I needed,” he says. He notes that there are different ways to approach something and still reach the same conclusion.
4:14 p.m. – Shand says he knows people who have worked their whole career to produce things like this and failed.
4:15 p.m. – Robinson brings up the multiple failed attempts. She asks if they failed the first time just using gas, they might use gas too the next time. He says that’s possible.
4:17 p.m. – Robinson asks if someone wanted to burn down their home or explode it for insurance purposes, would you need to start such a large process. Shand says even small kitchen fires, sometimes the entire home has to be gutted. He says you can start a small fire in a waste basket, not involve natural gas, and still collect all the money on the home. Robinson ends questioning.
4:19 p.m. – Shircliff says Shand testified that (the accused) had no idea what they were doing. State objects and lawyers meet at judge’s bench.
4:21 p.m. – Shircliff says Shand couldn’t reproduce this in 50 years, and natural gas wasn’t needed to collect the money. Shand says yes.
4:22 p.m. – Shand says they may have attempted to do an explosion, but doing something at this catastrophic level took a “perfect storm.”
4:24 p.m. – Shircliff says they may have just wanted to do a small fire. State objects and it’s sustained. Judge asks lawyers to meet at his bench.
4:25 p.m. – No further questions for Shand. He is excused.
4:26 p.m. – State calls David Bolgren to the witness stand. He works for Menards as an investigator. He investigates thefts – employee theft, shoplifting and everything in-between.
4:27 p.m. – Investigators requested video from Bolgren from the Indy South Menards. They were interested in the aisle with thermostats. He pulled video from the requested day.
4:28 p.m. – A timestamp, name of the camera and name of the store could not be copied over to the court-playable version.
4:30 p.m. – Still shots from the original copy with all the information are admitted into evidence.
4:31 p.m. – The video is shown for the court, but not explained as to what we’re seeing. Someone gets something from an aisle and appears to buy it at a register.
4:36 p.m. – Hollingsworth provides Bolgren with a purchase receipt and asks if he was able to match it to the video. He says yes. The receipt is admitted into evidence and jury members receive a copy.
4:40 p.m. – A thermostat and a ceramic heater were purchased. A credit card was used to purchase the items. Bolgren has no knowledge of who might be on the video. No further questions and Bolgren is excused.
4:42 p.m. – State calls Andrew Pierson to the witness stand. His father-in-law was the owner of the Old Meridian Pub. He has sold it since 2012. Pierson was more or less the “IT” person by volunteer.
4:44 p.m. – The pub had a cash register system and video surveillance system. He was the “only one willing to learn” the systems.
4:45 p.m. – Someone from the pub contacted law enforcement about the Richmond Hill explosion. Bolgren knew from the media that police were looking for a white van. Someone on staff told Bolgren to come look at a video, said she saw the van and the Leonard brothers. He recognized it as the van he saw on TV.
4:47 p.m. – The surveillance video from the pub is admitted into evidence, along with a credit card receipt with Leonard’s name on it.
4:50 p.m. – The date on the receipt is November 8, 2012. The date on the still shots from the video was November 9. He says the correct date was November 8.
4:52 p.m. – The video is shown for the court. Two men walk through the parking lot and into the pub. The two men are seen walking through the bar area. The video cuts to the two of them walking back outside.
4:57 p.m. – Still shots from the video are shown with the timestamp on them. No further questions for the witness and Bolgren is dismissed.
5:01 p.m. – Next witness is expected to go long. Taking a break so judge can decide what to do.
5:13 p.m. – Jury will hear from the witness today.
5:22 p.m. – Judge Marnocha re-enters the courtroom, followed by the jury.
5:23 p.m. – State calls Arthur Kirkpatrick. He is retired but used to work for Citizens Energy Group. He worked there for 36 years.
5:24 p.m. – He was part-owner of the Gas Light Inn in November 2012. He is still affiliated with the bar.
5:25 p.m. – He knew of Bob Leonard for 5 years. His neighbor brought him to a party once. On November 9, 2012, Kirkpatrick saw Bob Leonard at the Gas Light Inn bar. Mark was there with him. Kirkpatrick met him that night. Kirkpatrick identifies Mark Leonard for the court.
5:28 p.m. – That night, he spoke to both Mark and Bob. The conversation eventually turned to the topic of gas. Kirkpatrick says he was wearing a Citizens Energy shirt.
5:29 p.m. – Bob Leonard initially brought up the subject of gas. He was seated next to Mark. Bob asked what the difference was between natural gas and propane gas. Kirkpatrick says natural gas is 7lbs of pressure, while propane is 11lbs.
5:30 p.m. – Bob asked if there was something wrong inside the house, would the regulator still work. Mark said it would still work, Bob said it wouldn’t. They turned to Kirkpatrick to ask him.
5:32 p.m. – Kirkpatrick said that the regulator would still work if there was something wrong inside the house. He did not inquire why they were asking. He says people ask him questions all the time.
5:33 p.m. – After the regulator conversation, Bob asked how much gas it would take to fill a house. Mark was still sitting there. Kirkpatrick told them gas would continue to fill it until it blew up.
5:34 p.m. – Kirkpatrick provided security video from that night to law enforcement.
5:36 p.m. – The video is shown for the court. The system has four cameras.
5:39 p.m. – The video shows the street behind the bar. Mark and Bob are seen coming in the back door.
5:42 p.m. – Mark and Bob Leonard are seated at the bar. Another camera shows the outside of the bar looking toward Meridian Street.
5:44 p.m. – The video is skipped ahead to the 20-minute mark. Kirkpatrick shows with a laser pointer where he is and where the Leonard brothers are.
5:45 p.m. – His duties there that night were just to do some paperwork. He later switched shirts. When he’s behind the bar, he doesn’t want to wear his Citizens shirt.
5:46 p.m. – Kirkpatrick stopped and talked to them, as he does with all the customers in the bar.
5:47 p.m. – He does not remember ever seeing Bob Leonard in there before.
5:49 p.m. – Video is skipped ahead again. The camera is zoomed in on the Leonard brother and Kirkpatrick while the three talked.
5:52 p.m. – A different angle is shown. They’re still talking.
5:55 p.m. – Kirkpatrick heard about the explosion on the news. These conversations happened the day before.
5:56 p.m. – The video continues to play. The three are still talking.
5:57 p.m. – Kirkpatrick eventually walks away. He says that was the end of the conversation. The Leonard brothers leave in the video. Hollingsworth has no more questions. Shircliff cross-examines.
5:59 p.m. – “Memory is a funny thing, isn’t it?” he asks. Kirkpatrick says yes. Shircliff asks if he was tired. He says he wasn’t.
6:00 p.m. – Shircliff asks if he knew Bob Leonard very well. Kirkpatrick says that’s correct. He just so happened to see Bob and recognized him. Kirkpatrick says that’s correct.
6:01 p.m. – Shircliff says he testified the conversation wasn’t unusual because people always ask him gas questions. Kirkpatrick says that’s true.
6:02 p.m. – Shircliff asks when the police showed up at the bar. Kirkpatrick doesn’t remember. Shircliff says it was about 11 or 12 days after, according to when the video was collected.
6:03 p.m. – Shircliff uses the easel again. He puts the date the video was shot, then the day the police came to inquire.
6:04 p.m. – Shircliff said he didn’t say anything to the police on the 21st about having a conversation with the two men. Kirkpatrick belives he did have that conversation. Shircliff asks if he was interviewed. He says he may have been.
6:05 p.m. – Shircliff says on November 26, Kirkpatrick gave a recorded statement. Shircliff corrects himself, says the recorded statement was on the 29th.
6:06 p.m. – Shircliff asks what he did between the 21st and 29th – if he did anything significant. He says he doesn’t remember. Shircliff asks if he remembers seeking legal council. He does. Shircliff asks if it was because he was afraid of Mark Leonard. Kirkpatrick says yes.
6:07 p.m. – Shircliff asks if he was interviewed by Detective Wager but didn’t record the first few minutes. Kirkpatrick says he doesn’t recall.
6:09 p.m. – Shircliff asks if he has knowledge of gas/oxygen mixture. He says no. Shircliff says in his statement, he said it’s like a balloon filling up with pressure in popping. Today he said explode instead of pop.
6:11 p.m. – Shircliff says Kirkpatrick was shown a few photo arrays. He identified Bob Leonard but not anyone else. No more questions for Kirkpatrick. He is excused.
*END OF COURT FOR JULY 8*
July 7, 2015
9:30 a.m. – Media enters the courtroom.
9:50 a.m. – Judge John Marnocha enters the courtroom, followed by the jury.
9:53 a.m. – State recalls IMPD Detective Jeff Wager to the witness stand. On November 21, 2012, his investigation continued by gathering records from Arbor Lane Kennels.
9:54 a.m. – He interviewed the owner of a restaurant where the Leonard brothers went to eat. He got video of the two inside the restaurant.
9:55 a.m. – Wager went to the Gas Light In after hearing that Leonard brothers were there the Friday before the explosion. There was also surveillance video at this location.
9:56 a.m. – He spoke to David Gill, an acquaintance of Leonard’s. Wager collected fingerprints and DNA. He was excluded as a suspect.
9:57 a.m. – Wager later received the autopsy reports for Dion and Jennifer Longworth.
9:59 a.m. – On November 29, he served search warrants on cell phones for Glenn Hults, Bob Leonard and Monserrate Shirley. The search warrants are admitted into evidence.
10:03 a.m. – The phone records are admitted into evidence.
10:04 a.m. – Data was also collected from Mark Duckworth’s phone.
10:05 a.m. – Wager did not have contact with Duckworth after that.
10:06 a.m. – Wager typed up requests to have the Leonard brothers fingerprinted.
10:07 a.m. – On December 5, Wager interviewed Travis Bell – the Hollywood Casino DJ. John Duncan, Shirley’s ex-boyfriend was interviewed as well.
10:10 a.m. – He did buckle swab tests to extract DNA.
10:13 a.m. – The swabs were taken to the IMPD lab to be evaluated. Robinson ends questioning, saying the witness is to be recalled later. No cross-examination.
10:14 a.m. – State calls Detective Ben Boirce to the witness stand. He is an IMPD detective. In 2012, he was in the homicide unit. Wager requested he get a DNA sample from Bob Leonard.
10:17 a.m. – Robinson shows him the evidence envelope the swab was kept in. He identifies it as Leonard’s. It’s admitted into evidence. Robinson ends questioning and defense does not cross-examine. Boirce is excused.
10:18 a.m. – State calls Tanya Fishburn to the witness stand. She works for the IMPD Crime Lab. She performs DNA analysis.
10:20 a.m. – Robinson asks Fishburn to explain what DNA is. The crime lab prepared a PowerPoint for use during trials to show how DNA is tested.
10:22 a.m. – The PowerPoint is shown. Fishburn explains that your DNA never changes. They look at white blood cells, tissue cells, sperm cells, etc. She explains that we have 46 chromosomes. She then goes into further details about DNA and how the testing is done.
10:28 a.m. – Fishburn says many standards were used in this case – standards are a sample from a known person.
10:29 a.m. – The buckle swabs are admitted into evidence.
10:32 a.m. – She also conducted testing on items such as doors.
10:36 a.m. – A screen door from the Shirley home had no interpretable DNA. No DNA profile was found on the front passenger door of the white van.
10:39 a.m. – More DNA swabs admitted into evidence.
10:40 p.m. – If two people touch the same spot, both of their DNA profiles can be present in a test.
10:41 a.m. – If DNA is present, but there is not enough for a full profile, the test will be inconclusive.
10:44 a.m. – DNA tests are performed on crime lab employees so that samples can be tested for their DNA to prevent contamination. If an employee’s data is found, the sample is ruled inconclusive.
10:46 a.m. – A maroon door was tested and was ruled inconclusive. Same with a white door. Same with samples on an armrest, window and door handle from a car. Passenger exterior door handle from the white van was also inconclusive.
10:49 a.m. – More samples admitted into evidence. Exterior handle of front door matched Bob Leonard’s DNA.
10:51 a.m. – Sample from door handle of driver’s exterior side matched Bob Leonard’s DNA.
10:52 a.m. – Samples from steering wheel and turn signal matched Bob Leonard.
10:53 a.m. – Sample from trunk handle of van matched Bob Leonard.
10:55 a.m. – On the letter from Robert Smith, Mark Leonard’s DNA was a match.
10:56 a.m. – On some items in the van, samples were taken. Those tests were inconclusive. That concluded Fishburn’s investigation.
10:57 a.m. – Fishburn is excused.
11:25 a.m. – State calls Donald Engle to the witness stand. He is an insurance agent for State Farm.
11:26 a.m. – He has 2 employees under him.
11:28 a.m. – He says with technology, he doesn’t see as many clients face-to-face as he used to.
11:29 a.m. – Monserrate Shirley was a client of his since 1998.
11:30 a.m. – He said he was made aware of the Shirley divorce. Typically, one spouse has a different address so records of that need to be made. They can also remove a spouse from a policy.
11:31 a.m. – Part of his objective is to find the coverage amount they need. If something happens to the home, he hopes that they can get 100 percent of the value. This goes for the contents of the home as well.
11:34 a.m. – He said when the explosion occurred, his wife thought he blew their shed up. He had placed a gas-powered item in their earlier in the day.
11:35 a.m. – Shirley was insured through State Farm at the time of the explosion.
11:36 a.m. – Engle said he didn’t take the initial request for Shirley to raise her insurance. He found out about it later.
11:38 a.m. – She also had automobile insurance for cars and a motorcycle. In December, she doubled her policy.
11:40 a.m. – He was in church when he got a text message to call State Farm after the explosion. He was told their property was a “bad loss, probably a total.” He called Shirley to talk to her about it, and then later had a meeting with her on Monday, November 12.
11:41 a.m. – Mark Leonard attended the meeting with Shirley. Engle identifies Leonard for the court.
11:42 a.m. – Engle went over the coverage they had. Typically they provide an advance for clothes, food and other necessities. He wrote a check for $5,000 and gave it to them.
11:43 a.m. – A copy of the check is admitted into evidence.
11:44 a.m. – Shirley came to Engle’s office several times over the next few weeks for various reasons.
11:45 a.m. – Leonard and Shirley were talked to in separate rooms by agents. Shirley’s policy was current. He says she was good about paying for it.
11:46 a.m. – No more questions from Robinson. Defense attorney David Shircliff begins cross-examination.
11:47 a.m. – Shircliff asks if John Shirley was on the policy. Engle says yes. Shircliff asked if Leonard was on the policy. Engle says no. He was not covered on the policy.
11:48 a.m. – Shircliff asks if all of the policy decisions since 1998 were made by Monserrate Shirley. He says yes or John Shirley.
11:51 a.m. – Shircliff asked if he was aware of Leonard’s policies. Engle says he knows that Leonard did not have a policy with him.
11:52 a.m. – Engle said that Leonard was cordial towards him and didn’t talk much.
11:54 a.m. – Shircliff asks if there was any reason provided by Shirley about why the house exploded. Engle said she didn’t say anything about what caused it. Shircliff ends questioning.
11:57 a.m. – Robinson asks Engle what Leonard said in the conversations. He says Leonard said a few things, but nothing that he can really remember fully. Engle was mostly talking to Shirley. Engle said she kept saying, “My house is gone.” Robinson ends questioning.
11:59 a.m. – Jury member wants to ask a question of the witness. Judge reviews the question with the lawyers. Juror asks what happens when receipts are burned up in the fire. Engle said sometimes there are pictures, bank records or other things that may help prove an item was owned.
12:00 p.m. – Engle is excused.
12:01 p.m. – State calls Tracey Slaven to the witness stand. She works for State Farm. She manages a team of people who decide if a home or item will be insured.
12:02 p.m. – Robinson asks her to identify Monserrate Shirley’s homeowner policy. She does. The policy is admitted into evidence. Jurors receive a copy.
12:04 p.m. – Robinson has no further questions and defense does not cross-examine. Slaven is excused.
12:05 p.m. – State calls Jeri Massey to the witness stand. She works for State Farm. She deals with automobile applications.
12:06 p.m. – Massey identifies a policy in Shirley’s name for the Harley Davidson motorcycle. It’s admitted into evidence and the jury members receive a copy.
12:08 p.m. – Massey identifies a policy in Shirley’s name for a 2006 Cadillac. It’s admitted into evidence and the jury members receive a copy.
12:11 p.m. – Both policies were active during November 2012. Robinson ends questioning and defense does not cross-examine. Massey is excused.
12:13 p.m. – Robinson offers BMV records for the motorcycle and car into evidence. They’re admitted. Jurors receive a copy.
12:16 p.m. – State calls Anita Robinson to the witness stand. (Going forward Anita = Anita Robinson and Robinson = Prosecutor Denise Robinson).
12:17 p.m. – She works for Donald Engle. Anita met John and Monserrate Shirley after they moved here from Michigan in 1998. They initially had a renter’s policy.
12:18 p.m. – First significant change was in 2002/2003 when they bought the house in Richmond Hill. The policy is determined by a computer algorithm using information about the home.
12:19 p.m. – The contents are typically insured at $75,000 unless the policy owner increases it.
12:20 p.m. – Anita knew about the divorce after Shirley called to have John’s name removed from the policy.
12:22 p.m. – A second mortgage was added at some point. The coverage of the contents was increased in December 2011. Monserrate Shirley called to increase it. Anita took the call and the policy was increased to $300,000. Anita asked her why, and Shirley said she bought a bunch of new stuff.
12:24 p.m. – Receipts or proof of items don’t need to be shown until a claim is made.
12:26 p.m. – Anita heard the explosion and later watched the news coverage.
12:30 p.m. – She got a call later from Engle, which she knows means something bad happened to a client.
12:31 p.m. – He said to her, “What do you know about Monserrate Shirley?” And informed her that her house was damaged in the explosion.
12:32 p.m. – Anita told him that she increased her coverage “a long time ago.”
12:33 p.m. – Anita says Leonard was with Shirley when they met at the office. She identifies Leonard for the court.
12:34 p.m. – After the explosion, she was with Leonard every time she came in. They never discussed what led to the explosion. Robinson ends questioning.
12:35 p.m. – Shircliff asks if she was aware of the check. Anita said she wrote it and Engle signed it.
12:36 p.m. – Over the years, she says she almost always talked to Monserrate and not John. She would maybe call twice a year. Shircliff has no more questions. Anita Robinson is excused.
2:00 p.m. – State calls Darcy Smith to the witness stand. She works for State Farm insurance. She is the Fire Product Investigator. She works to find out if there is a 3rd party responsible for a loss. If there is a fire loss and it was caused by a defective furnace, they will file a claim against the manufacturer. She had the same job in November 2012.
2:02 p.m. – She saw news coverage of the explosion. She lives an hour north of Indianapolis.
2:03 p.m. – Sunday morning, she reached out to a origin and cause investigator, Steve Shand, and asked him to work for them temporarily.
2:05 p.m. – She called him because he is certified and they worked together in the past.
2:06 p.m. – She arrived on the scene Monday afternoon.
2:07 p.m. – She found out first that they had the Longworth home, then she found out that they had the origin home.
2:08 p.m. – She says there was a mobile command unit on the scene and anyone coming in had to check in there. They weren’t just letting anyone in. Smith and Shand were escorted through. When she was there, IFD was the lead on the scene.
2:09 p.m. – Shand was taking photos and documenting things. They attempted to determine what appliances were in the home and who the utility company was.
2:11 p.m. – She offered to assist in putting fencing up. She hired a fencing company to help secure the scene further.
2:14 p.m. – State Farm did not retain a key of the fence. IMPD and IFD had the only two keys.
2:16 p.m. – State Farm later took over the scene once the fire department released it.
2:19 p.m. – She did not have any direct contact with Mark Leonard or Monserrate Shirley.
2:20 p.m. – She was the first State Farm person on the scene. No more questions from the State. Defense attorney Diane Black cross-examines.
2:21 p.m. – Black asks if this was Shand’s first time coming to such a large scene. She says no.
2:22 p.m. – Black asks about their long-term professional relationship and asks if she trusts his work. She says yes.
2:23 p.m. – Black asks if Shand’s company has testing facilities and the ability to use specialized equipment. Smith says yes.
2:24 p.m. – Black asks if Shand was able to move around the scene. She says yes. Black asks if it was her idea to use the fences. She says yes.
2:26 p.m. – They also helped pump water from the Longworth home.
2:27 p.m. – Black says within a week, officials asked the investigators to stay away from the scene. Smith says she doesn’t think that’s the case, they just decided to stay away until the scene was marked clear by IFD.
2:28 p.m. – Black says Shand was concerned about evidence possibly being contaminated at the scene. Smith says she doesn’t recall his thoughts. Black provides the email for her.
2:29 p.m. – In the email, he said he was concerned about the scene being compromised and noted the amount of labor that was being used.
2:31 p.m. – He did do some reports about the core samples, but did not do an origin and cause report. Black has no more questions. Prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth says the scene was worked for weeks and weeks. Smith says that’s correct.
2:32 p.m. – He says Shand used an outside lab to do analysis. She says yes and is then excused.
2:35 p.m. – State calls Amber Horine to the scene. She works in the Special Investigation Unit for State Farm.
2:37 p.m. – She was aware of a claim for a Cadillac and a Harley Davidson. They were two separate claim files. She became involved because there were indicators that were suspicious. Monserrate Shirley didn’t have a license to ride a motorcycle. There were questions about the cause of the explosion as well.
2:39 p.m. – State Farm put Shirley in a rental vehicle.
2:40 p.m. – During her investigation, Mark Leonard’s name came up. He was the titled owner to the Cadillac and the driver of the Harley Davidson. She conducted an interview with him.
2:41 p.m. – Horine identifies Leonard for the court.
2:42 p.m. – During the interview, she asked him when and where the Cadillac was purchased. He purchased it from an auction and used cash only.
2:43 p.m. – She asked Leonard about the condition of the exterior, interior, mechanical, etc. Leonard told her everything was in great condition. He said it was “gorgeous.” He said there was a flat tire but nothing else.
2:44 p.m. – She asked the same type of question for the motorcycle. He said he bought it off of Craigslist. Leonard showed her text messages with the seller. She noticed the price was more than what Leonard said.
2:46 p.m. – She requested an interview with the seller. He declined. The Harley was purchased 3 or 4 months before the motorcycle. He indicated Shirley paid a portion of the price.
2:48 p.m. – Leonard told her that the Harley was in great shape and had lots of extra accessories: Chrome pieces, etc.
2:49 p.m. – The vehicles were present, to a certain extent, after the explosion. She had a forensic expert look at the vehicles to determine what the condition was before the incident.
2:51 p.m. – She also asked Leonard about financial matters between him and Shirley.
2:52 p.m. – She asked questions about who paid for the vehicles, how, was there financial trouble in the home, etc.
2:53 p.m. – Leonard told her that they shared their finances, as if they were a married couple. He said that he “got her out of the hole” in terms of financial troubles. He also said, “What’s mine is hers and what’s hers is mine.”
2:54 p.m. – She asked about boarding Snowball the cat. She was aware of Snowball being boarded several times before the explosion. She went to all 3 kennels to get records.
2:56 p.m. – She found the cat had been boarded 3 times just before the explosion, but never before that.
2:57 p.m. – The automobile claims were denied. Robinson has no further questions. Shircliff cross-examines. He asks if he also interviewed Shirley. She says yes. Shircliff asks if she asked the same questions. She says yes and most of the answers were the same, but not all of them. No further questions from Shircliff. Horine is excused.
2:59 p.m. – State calls Keith Dickerson to the witness stand. He is an entrepreneur and owns about 10 businesses. He is a partner of a furniture company called Global Furniture. He typically dealt with military contracts and insurance companies.
3:01 p.m. – The company would help provide furniture after a catastrophe.
3:02 p.m. – State Farm contacted him to provide furniture to Monserrate Shirley in December 2012.
3:03 p.m. – Documents detailing the deal between State Farm and Global Furniture are admitted into evidence. Jury members receive a copy.
3:05 p.m. – The contract has August 24, 2012 as the date. Dickerson said it was likely a template error. The first line of the contract has the correct date.
3:09 p.m. – The furnishings were selected online. The insurance company then would approve the items. The contract was to run through June 2013. It ended before that, after Shirley was arrested. State ends questioning.
3:11 p.m. – Diane Black asks if Leonard’s signature appear anywhere on the documents. He says no. Dickerson is excused.
3:38 p.m. – State calls Ken Bailey to the witness stand. He works for State Farm insurance in the Special Investigation Unit. He investigates claims that have the potential for insurance fraud. In 2012, his focus was mainly homeowner claims.
3:40 p.m. – He was contacted about the explosion on November 13. He had heard about it from the news but was not living in Indianapolis at the time.
3:41 p.m. – Bailey was asked to drive to Indianapolis to assist in the investigation. Darcy Smith also called him that day to provide directions.
3:43 p.m. – He said he had to check in and show credentials before getting to the scene. The site had been fenced off at that point. At the scene, he made contact with Steve Shand. Smith was at the scene as well.
3:43 p.m. – He was aware that the owner of the house that blew up was a State Farm client.
3:45 p.m. – A form letter from State Farm to Monserrate Shirley is admitted into evidence. Jury members receive a copy.
3:47 p.m. – The letter states that a homeowner who submits a claim must comply with any and all investigations.
3:48 p.m. – Bailey says they used a State Farm office to conduct interviews with Shirley and Leonard.
3:49 p.m. – Bailey says they conducted a scene canvas, where they would go door to door and ask people questions. Many had been displaced, though.
3:50 p.m. – He says in the event that it appears reasonable to think the incident was not accidental, insurance agents and law enforcing must share that information with each other.
3:52 p.m. – Bailey helped coordinate in getting Shirley a rental apartment and furniture for the apartment.
3:53 p.m. – Bailey later interviewed Shirley. She told him she received a text message about the explosion, and then a phone call.
3:54 p.m. – He talked to her about how she met Mark Leonard and how he came to move in. They discussed the house being for sale at some point.
3:55 p.m. – Bailey asked her about her financial condition and eventually asked about the explosion. She told him she was at a casino at the time, and for the previous two weekends.
3:56 p.m. – Shirley told him the cat had been boarded at 3 different facilities over 3 weekends. Shirley also said Brooke had been staying at Glenn Hults’ home.
3:57 p.m. – She indicated that the white van belonged to Leonard. She said the Cadillac had a flat tire, but that was it. She mentioned the Harley Davidson as well.
3:58 p.m. – She said she knew how the fireplace worked, but didn’t operate it. John Shirley did before the divorce, Leonard did it after.
3:59 p.m. – She said Leonard had replaced the thermostat. She said she had a few gas cans.
4:01 p.m. – Bailey asked her why she increased her coverage.
4:02 p.m – She said she purchased two large TVs.
4:04 p.m. – Leonard and Shirley were interviewed separately.
4:05 p.m. – Leonard was interviewed by Bailey as well, in the same office at a different time.
4:06 p.m. – Leonard talked about knowing Glenn Hults. He also said there was $20,000 cash in the home at the time of the explosion.
4:07 p.m. – He did not find any money at the scene. Leonard confirmed he owned the white Ford work van. Leonard said he replaced the original thermostat, then later changed it back.
4:08 p.m. – Bailey was told that the house was cold, and that’s what led to changing the thermostat.
4:11 p.m. – Leonard confirmed the cat had been boarded three weekends in a row.
4:12 p.m. – Bailey said several questions to Leonard were answered with “I don’t know,” “I’m not sure,” etc.
4:13 p.m. – Leonard told him he played blackjack for an hour or so. Security video showed he played for nine minutes.
4:14 p.m. – Leonard told him he used the fireplace a few times a week. He said the Cadillac in the garage was in good shape but had a flat tire.
4:15 p.m. – Bailey later returned to the scene later and assisted with sifting items. He was raking things for them to sift. He said he did this for about 10 days.
4:16 p.m. – The claim for the house was denied by State Farm. State ends questioning and Diane Black cross-examines.
4:17 p.m. – She says Shirley participated in several interviews, at least 3, with State Farm. Bailey says yes.
4:18 p.m. – Black says Shirley told him the cat was always boarded when they went away. She also told Bailey that the white van was left at the bar when they left. Bailey says yes.
4:19 p.m. – Shirley also mentioned that Brooke smelled gas in the home before the explosion. She mentioned she bought a Picasso in Puerto Rico and had several other expensive items.
4:20 p.m. – Shirley told him she had no idea how the explosion occurred and she had nothing to do with it. She said she didn’t care about money. She told him she could walk away with just her clothes and she’d be fine.
4:21 p.m. – Shirley never told Bailey about having a conversation about starting a small fire. She never mentioned Glenn Hults or Gary Thompson. Black says Shirley never told him that Leonard was making her say what she said. Bailey says that’s correct.
4:22 p.m. – Defense has no further questions. Bailey is excused.
4:23 p.m. – State calls Edward Nightingale to the witness stand. He works for Herdon and Associates (not spelled for the court). They are private arson investigators.
4:24 p.m. – Nightingale also deals with automobile claims. They do work for insurance companies, police departments, etc.
4:25 p.m. – State Farm employed them to look at the Cadillac and Harley Davidson. On May 28, 2013 he met with the insurance adjuster.
4:26 p.m. – The vehicles were stored in a secured salvage yard. He was asked to look at the mechanical condition and worked to determine if they could run prior to the explosion.
4:28 p.m. – Nightingale’s report and photos he took of the vehicles are admitted into evidence.
4:31 p.m. – A photo of the Cadillac is shown. It’s badly damaged from the explosion. He says he’s looking at parts that would take impact damage or something out of the ordinary. He wouldn’t be able to know about minor damage done to the car.
4:34 p.m. – Certain fluids would be drained as they were stored in plastic containers.
4:35 p.m. – The spark plugs were still within the engine. The wiring was damaged enough that the car would not run. The right front headlamp assembly was unplugged and put on the inside of the vehicle.
4:37 p.m. – He looked at the engine cradle. It was bent and pushed in. He could tell it was run on a flat tire. He also could tell it would have impact before the explosion and could not have been drivable.
4:39 p.m. – Most of the trunk lid was unbolted. The latch that closes it was in nearly perfect condition.
4:40 p.m. – After his examination, he concluded that the vehicle had been involved in an impact on the right front prior to the explosion. He said the car was also in the process of being parted out. Prior to the explosion, it was not drivable.
4:41 p.m. – Photos of the Harley Davidson are admitted into evidence
4:44 p.m. – He said the first thing he noticed was that the wheels and tires were melted.
4:45 p.m. – There was damage to the fender on both sides. The spark plugs were in good shape. The gears were in good shape as well. The handlebar was not attached to the bike. It’s not something that typically falls off during a fire or explosion.
4:47 p.m. – He said it looked like there had been impact at some point prior to the blast and the handlebars were removed. It was not in perfect condition. Robinson ends questioning and David Shircliff cross-examines.
4:48 p.m. – Shircliff asks about his training. Nightingale says he has fire and automotive training. Before this incident, he had never investigated vehicles after an explosion. Shircliff ends questioning. Robinson asked if the actual explosion had bearing on his findings. Nightingale said the findings would have been the same if the explosion happened or not. He is excused from the witness stand.
*END OF COURT FOR JULY 7*
July 6, 2015
9:30 a.m. – Media enters the courtroom.
9:45 a.m. – Mark Leonard enters the courtroom.
10:00 a.m. – Judge John Marnocha enters the courtroom.
10:02 a.m. – Jury enters the courtoom.
10:04 a.m. – State recalls Detective Jeff Wager to the witness stand.
10:05 a.m. – Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson asks if it’s common during an investigation to acquire text and/or cell phone records. Wager says yes, after attaining a search warrant. Leonard and Monserrate Shirley’s phones were searched during the investigation.
10:06 a.m. – Leonard and Shirley’s records are admitted into evidence.
10:07 a.m. – Wager was in contact from time to time with Lt. Mario Garza.
10:10 a.m. – Wager said if they request a search warrant on a phone, they usually get it within 24 hours.
10:11 a.m. – Robinson said in an interview, Tammy Leonard spoke about receiving text messages from Leonard.
10:13 a.m.- Wager prepared a summary of text messages with timestamps.
10:15 a.m. – Jurors receive a copy of the summary.
10:17 a.m. – The summary is displayed on a projector.
10:18 a.m. – On November 13, investigators found out that a thermostat had recently been purchased from a Menards. Wager verified the purchase and got surveillance video of Mark and Bob Leonard inside the store.
10:20 a.m. – Wager also went to Barkafellers to obtain records of Snowball being boarded.
10:21 a.m. – Wager was asked to make a phone call to Mark Duckworth, who had information about the case. He set up an interview with him.
10:22 a.m. – Wager also requested a search warrant for the Shirley home.
10:23 a.m. – Items recovered during a search warrant must be logged in a report.
10:24 a.m. – On November 16, wager was aware of a white van. It was located at an old abandoned motel. He took photos of it.
10:26 a.m. – The photos are admitted into evidence.
10:27 a.m. – Wager contacted the Marion County Crime Lab to document its location and condition.
10:29 a.m. – More search warrants entered into evidence
10:31 a.m. – Wager also obtained a search warrant for Duckworth’s phone.
10:34 a.m. – The text messages recovered were from November 1 -12 , 2011.
10:36 a.m. – Jurors receive copies.
10:37 a.m. – Leonard and Duckworth talked over text message ad
10:38 A.M. – November 17, Wager took a day off. He said it had to do with his daughter.
10:42 a.m. – On the 19th, Wager was lead to Jessica Goodwin. On November 20, he took a statement from her.
10:46 a.m. – Cell phone records for Goodwin and Bob Leonard are admitted into evidence.
10:48 a.m. – Wager searched the records. He prepared a summary of texts between Bob Leonard and Goodwin., and a separate record of the brothers’ conversation.
10:52 a.m. – Robinson continues to admit records and police requests into evidence.
10:55 a.m. – Photos of Bob Leonard’s trailer is shown via projector. Several large plastic totes were discovered. This is what investigators were looking for, but Shirley’s personal items were not found.
10:57 p.m. – A set of golf clubs were discovered and removed.
10:59 a.m. – John Shirley identified them as his clubs.
11:01 a.m. – A statement was taken from Justin Leonard, Bob Leonard’s son.
11:02 a.m. – Robinson ends questioning. Defense attorney Diane Black cross-examines.
11:03 a.m. – She asks if he has the ability to get the content of text messages. Wager says yes. Black asks if he could have gotten Tammy Durham’s records. He says he sent the request to late to request them.
11:04 a.m. – Black asks how he found out about the thermostat. Wager says Leonard told another investigator something about it.
11:08 a.m. – Black asks if Justin Leonard had access to Bob’s phone and if he used it to make calls. Wager says yes.
11:09 a.m. – Black asks if Bob Leonard’s trailer was messy. Wager says yes. There was a lot of clutter in the trailer.
11:10 a.m. – Black asks what was in the totes. He said they were filled with clothes. Wager is excused.
11:13 a.m. – Black tells judge that Duckworth talks about Mark Leonard scamming people in his statements. He also talks about Leonard being abusive. She moves to limit his testimony.
11:14 a.m. – State says they believe his testimony about Mark Leonard and Monserrate Shirley is admissible.
*RETURN FROM BREAK*
11:33 a.m. – State calls Mark Duckworth to the witness stand. He’s lived in Indianapolis for 54 years. He has known Mark Leonard for 20 years. Duckworth identifies him for the court.
11:35 a.m. – Duckworth met Monserrate Shielry about a year before the explosion. He met her through Leonard. Duckworth had been to the Shirley home several times. Duckworth also knows Gary Thompson and Glenn Hults through Leonard.
11:36 a.m. – Duckworth is asked to provide his phone number from 2012. He does. He says he had several conversations with Leonard prior to the explosion.
11:38 a.m. – On November 2, 2012, there was an 11-minute call between Duckworth and Leonard. They were both working on the north side. Duckworth asked if he wanted to get something to eat. Leonard was too busy.
11:39 a.m. – On 11/7, Duckworth called him while coming home from work and Leonard told him he was looking for a Ferrari online.
11:40 a.m. – Duckworth asked where he got money for that. Leonard told him he was getting $300,000 after tsunami winds blew up fireplace and house.
11:41 a.m. – Leonard told him he was staying in an apartment.
11:42 a.m. – Leonard later told him on Friday he was kidding about what he told him on the 7th.
11:44 a.m. – Duckworth says he thought Leonard was his friend.
11:45 a.m. – On November 11, Duckworth texted Mark Leonard, saying, “I think you made the news last night.”
11:46 a.m. – Duckworth was woken up from the explosion. He lives about 5 miles away.
11:47 a.m. – Duckworth sent a text message to Glenn Hults the next day. He said, “your buddy made the news last night.” Duckworth has not spoken to Leonard since November 11, 2012.
11:48 a.m. – Duckworth knew Leonard had curbed his Cadillac coming home from a bar and it was damaged. He associated Leonard with a Harley, a Ford Taurus, and a white van. Leonard never told Duckworth about having issues with the fireplace or thermostat.
11:49 a.m. – Duckworth told his father he knew “too much” about Leonard. His father, a former IMPD officer, called police and set up an interview.
11:50 a.m. – Robinson shows Duckworth a hand-drawn map and asks if he knows what that is. Duckworth says it looks like his house.
11:51 a.m. – The map is shown to the courtroom. Duckworth says the map identifies his car and home. The map shows an old man lives next door.
11:52 a.m. – In March, Detective Wager told Duckworth that Leonard had said he wanted him to be killed. Robinson ends questioning. Diane Black cross-examines.
11:53 a.m. – Black asks if they were friendly and sometimes worked together. Duckworth says yes.
11:54 p.m. – Black asks if they became close friends. Duckworth says yes.
11:56 a.m. – Black asks if they attended church a few times together. He says yes. When Leonard was sick, Duckworth went to visit him frequently.
11:57 a.m. – Black says in his statement Duckworth said Leonard indicated he was getting $100,000, and Shirley was getting $200,000. Duckworth says that’s correct.
11:59 a.m. – Leonard said the $100,000 was going to be from the Cadillac and the Harley Davidson. Duckworth says that’s correct. Black ends questioning and Duckworth is excused.
12:01 p.m. – State calls Justin Leonard to the witness stand.
12:02 p.m. – In 2012, Justin was living in the Fountain Square area of Indianapolis. He was living with his girlfriend, Jessica Goodwin and a few other people.
12:03 p.m. – Bob Leonard is Justin’s father. Mark Leonard is his uncle. He identifies Leonard for the court. He never met Shirley, Hults or Thompson.
12:05 p.m. – Justin found out about the explosion from the news. He was not aware of the Richmond Hill subdivision.
12:06 p.m. – Justin was pulled over for driving on a suspended license and was taken to the City County Building. He later gave a statement to police.
12:07 p.m. – Justin met Detective Wager and provided a statement.
12:08 p.m. – Justin said some property was moved soon after the explosion from Bob’s trailer to his home. Bob had called Jessica’s phone to speak to Justin.
12:11 p.m. – Bob asked Justin to come over. He went with his girlfriend. There was a white van outside the trailer.
12:12 p.m. – Justin said he had never seen the van before that. Bob usually drives a Ford Mustang.
12:13 p.m. – Robinson asks what Bob asked him to do when he got there. Defense objects and lawyers meet at judge’s bench.
12:15 p.m. – Robinson asked the question again. Justin said he was asked to take some things salvaged from the Shirley home and store them at his house. Justin agreed.
12:17 p.m. – Justin took a green tote, a grey tote, some golf clubs and a briefcase out of the van and put them in the truck. Justin did look inside the totes. They contained household items. He wanted to make sure there were no drugs or contraband inside.
12:18 p.m. – Robinson shows him photos of the golf clubs. Justin identifies them as the ones he moved.
12:20 p.m. – Inside the briefcase, there was a lot of financial paperwork.
12:21 p.m. – The van was empty, besides an old TV. Justin took the items to his home and stored them in the basement.
12:23 p.m. – Justin had a fight with his girlfriend and left the home. He never went back. He ended up at his dad’s trailer.
12:25 p.m. – Robinson ends questioning. Black asks to approach the judge’s bench.
12:27 p.m. – Black asks if he got to leave after providing his statement. Justin says yes and Black ends questioning. The witness is excused.
2:15 p.m. – Judge Marnocha re-enters the courtroom, followed by the jury.
2:18 p.m. – State calls Jessica Goodwin to the witness stand.
2:19 p.m. – Goodwin and Justin Leonard were living together in Indianapolis in 2012. They lived there with two other people.
2:20 p.m. – She knows Bob Leonard. He is her son’s grandfather. Justin is the child’s father.
2:21 p.m. – Goodwin never met Mark Leonard or Monserrate Shirley.
2:22 p.m. – She occasionally shared her phone with Justin.
2:23 p.m. – She took a call from Bob Leonard in 2012 and handed the phone to Justin.
2:24 p.m. – They left the home and went to Bob Leonard’s trailer around 5:30 p.m. They were there for 30-45 minutes. She stayed in the truck. She saw a white van in the driveway.
2:26 p.m. – She fell asleep and she woke up to find Justin and Bob loading totes into the truck, along with a golf bag.
2:28 p.m. – Robinson shows her photos so she can identify the trailer, van and golf clubs.
2:30 p.m. – After loading up the truck, they leave and go home. She went inside the house and Justin carried the items from the truck to the basement. Inside a cardboard box, she said there was a large golf club.
2:31 p.m. – The items were in the basement for a few days. Goodwin provided a statement to police.
2:33 p.m. – She and Justin got into an argument and he left the house. She woke up the next day to a phone call from Bob Leonard, asking to come get the items.
2:35 p.m. – Bob arrived and took the items with him. That was the last time she saw them. Robinson ends questioning. Diane Black asks her if she ever knew Mark Leonard. She says no and is dismissed.
2:36 p.m. – State calls Gina Griffin to the witness stand.
2:37 p.m. – In 2012, she was living with Jessica Goodwin and Justin Leonard.
2:38 p.m. – She learned about the explosion from the news. The day after, she says some things were brought into the home. She knew the items were from Bob Leonard’s home and were related to the incident.
2:39 p.m. – She didn’t look inside the items. Justin carried them in.
2:40 p.m. – Griffin met Bob Leonard when he came to the house to pick up the items.
2:41 p.m. – Bob took all the items. She didn’t see them again until she saw the golf clubs on the news.
2:42 p.m. – Robinson shows her photos of the items to identify. She asks if Griffin gave a statement to police. She says yes. Robinson ends questioning. Defense attorney David Shircliff cross-examines.
2:43 p.m. – He asks if she has ever known Mark Leonard. She says no. He has no more questions and Griffin is excused.
2:44 p.m. – State calls Lisa Prater to the witness stand. She worked for the Marion County Crime Lab in 2012. She had been there for 5 years.
2:46 p.m. – She does the same sorts of things that Lisa Liebig does.
2:47 p.m. – She processed a vehicle in relation to the explosion.
2:49 p.m. – Prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth shows her a set of photographs. They are of Bob Leonard’s van. She identifies the fan as the one she processed.
2:52 p.m. – Photos of the van are shown on the projector.
2:56 p.m. – They show evidence that was collected by her in the van.
2:57 pm. – She says she has the ability to get fingerprint analyzed. Fingerprint processing was run on the van.
3:01 p.m. – An envelope is seen via projector. Hollingsworth shows a fingerprint card. It has the case number and the detective’s name. She drew a photo of the spot on the driver’s side van door where the print was. The back of the card has more identifying information.
3:03 p.m. – Another card is shown with a fingerprint from a different area – the passenger door.
3:05 p.m. – They cannot always lift a fingerprint for a number of reasons. She is also trained to take DNA swabs.
3:07 p.m. – Prater explains how they perform a DNA swab.
3:09 p.m. – Several DNA swabs from the vehicle are admitted into evidence. She explains where each one came from. Hollingsworth has no further questions and defense does not cross-examine. Prater is excused.
3:11 p.m. – State calls Donald Toth to the witness stand. He also works for the Marion County Crime Lab. He has been there for 4 years.
3:13 p.m. – He is in charge of the Crime Scene Specialists. In November 2012, Lisa Liebig went to the scene. He was her supervisor.
3:14 p.m. – His duties at the scene was to make sure Liebig had everything she needed.
3:15 p.m. – In terms of the white van—Toth took over the case after Prater left her job. Toth resumed her duties.
3:16 p.m. – He used 3 mothods – super glue, black powder and a chemical called RAY.
3:18 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks him to identify some latent fingerprint scans. He does so, saying his name is on the form.
3:19 p.m. – The lab has a computer system. They store the files/photos and forward them to IMPD.
3:24 p.m. – Toth made two amended reports regarding his work on this case.
3:25 p.m. – Toth took evidence from Citizens Energy Group to be moved in the crime lab. Hollingsworth has no further questions. Defense does not cross-examine. Toth is excused.
3:44 p.m. – State calls Daniel Recker, IMPD officer, to the witness stand. He is currently assigned to the latent print unit. They receive crime scene evidence and analyze it.
3:45 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks him to define a latent fingerprint. Recker says latent has a dual meaning – a print that is unseen until it’s been developed. It also means a print collected at a crime scene.
3:46 p.m. – Their primary job is to match a fingerprint to an individual.
3:48 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks Recker to identify an order to fingerprint Mark Loenard. He does. Ricker did the physical fingerprinting of Leonard.
3:50 p.m. – The prints were taken on December 12, 2012. Recker identifies Leonard for the court.
3:52 p.m. – Recker identifies Leonard’s fingerprints. Hollingsworth asks if they matched the fingerprints collected from the van.
3:54 p.m. – Seven collected prints were matched to Leonard’s, in Recker’s opinion. He said he doesn’t count it as a match unless he’s sure. Hollingsworth has no further questions.
3:57 p.m. – Shircliff asks if the fingerprints came off of cigarette packs. Recker says yes. No more questions and he is excused. Judge asks to see lawyers.
*END OF COURT FOR JULY 6*
July 2, 2015
9:57 a.m. – Defense Attorney David Shircliff argues to Judge John Marnocha that the fact the State offered Monserrate Shirley a plea bargain before they knew what she was going to say is troubling and puts the defense in a tough spot constitutionally.
9:58 a.m. – Judge says he doesn’t see this as a violation. She was cross-examined on the topic and the jury is aware of the situation and they can decide for themselves if she is to be trusted.
9:59 a.m. – Judge Marnocha says trials are fluid things. Sometimes witnesses say things for the first time during trial, sometimes they change their stories. “It’s something we all have to work with,” he says.
10:00 a.m. – As long as it happens in trial and in front of the group of people who will make the decision (the jury) – he says that’s just the way trials are. They decide the credibility of the witness, not the judge.
10:02 a.m. – Shircliff says Robert Smith (testifying today) passed medications to Mark Leonard before Leonard allegedly tried to hire a hit man to kill a witness. Shircliff says those medications violated Leonard’s due process.
10:03 a.m. – Shircliff says they were antipsychotics and drugs for depression.
10:05 a.m. – Shircliff says Smith was not taking his own medication and used them as currency in the jail.
10:06 a.m. – Deputy prosecutor Denise Robinson says the State just recently found out about that situation. She says Leonard must have voluntarily taken them. They don’t know what Leonard took when or even why.
10:08 a.m. – Robinson says in his deposition, Smith denied passing Leonard drugs.
10:10 a.m. – Judge says the courts have been clear. “It’s flat out admissible,” he says. Threats to kill a witness constitute an admission of guilt. He says he’s not going to contradict the law as it is today.
10:11 a.m. – Judge says in the June pretrial, he listened to the recorded conversation. It seemed to him that Leonard was well oriented and he didn’t believe Leonard wasn’t aware of what he was doing.
10:13 a.m. – Judge says he won’t exclude the testimony. The jury will hear it and they will decide its merit. “It’s just part of trial,” he says.
10:18 a.m. – Shircliff says there is audible proof of Leonard taking pills and that Leonard may be willing to testify about this situation if allowed.
10:20 a.m. – Mistrial motion denied.
10:30 a.m. – State calls Stephen Belt to the witness stand. He is a Richmond Hill resident.
10:32 p.m. – Around 11 p.m. the night of the explosion his wife was on the phone and she saw the ceiling go up about 6 inches. Belt got an episode of confusion, he says.
10:36 a.m. – He says there was glass all over the floor and they went outside. There was stuff floating down. “It was a surreal scene.” He said his wife heard someone who later lost their life asking for help.
10:37 a.m. – They got in their car and went to the front of the neighborhood. They went to his brother-in-law’s house.
10:39 a.m. – Robinson puts back up the map of Richmond Hill from the beginning of the trial with lots colored in by other residents.
10:40 a.m. – Robinson shows him photos of his home after the explosion. They are admitted into evidence.
10:41 a.m. – The jury is shown the photos on a poster board. The explosion twisted the house. There was serious structural damage. Most of the glass was blown out. The ceiling was loose from the rest of the house. “It was pretty much obliterated,” he said. It needed to be demolished. Its value was around $200,000. Robinson has no more questions and defense does not cross-examine. Belt is excused.
10:44 a.m. – State calls Cory Grogg to the witness stand. He works for EJ Prescott as a marketing representative. He used to be with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office from 2010-2014. He was with the gang and intelligence unit.
10:46 a.m. – About 1,000-1,350 people are in the Marion County jail at any given time. A lot of his work is was to protect prisoners from themselves.
10:47 a.m. – In 2013, he came into possession of a letter. The letter was addressed to Corey McGriff, a corporal in their unit who Grogg supervised. There is one more letter as well.
10:49 a.m. – Grogg contacted Detective Wager and Denise Robinson about the letters to let them know what he had.
10:52 a.m. – One letter is admitted into evidence. The other is not.
10:53 a.m. – Inmates can send out mail from the jail. The mail can be intercepted under certain circumstances. Grogg says another letter was presented to him and he again contacted Wager and Robinson. The letter is admitted into evidence.
10:56 a.m. – Prodecutor Mark Hollingsworth says they will have to publish the exhibits at another time.
10:59 a.m. – Grogg says the forwarding of those letters was the extent of his involvement. State has no more questions and defense doesn’t cross-examine.
11:00 a.m. – State calls Corey McGriff to the witness stand. Hollingsworth asks to approach the judge’s bench. There was a numbering issue with the letters.
11:04 a.m. – McGriff is with the Noblesville Police Department. Prior to that he was with the Marion County Sheriff’s office. He was there for 7.5 years with the gang and intelligence unit.
11:05 a.m. – An inmate can request certain services using a “call card.”
11:06 a.m. – Robert Smith reached out to them from his cell block in jail, wanting to provide information to the Sheriff’s office.
11:07 a.m. – Smith was moved into block 4D because of a previous case he worked with the Sheriff’s office on. He received a letter from Smith regarding Leonard. The letter also had a map.
11:10 a.m. – If there’s an inmate on the jail on pending charges, an investigator would typically would be assigned to the case. If he gets information about an inmate, he reaches out to that detective. No further questions from Hollingsworth.
11:11 a.m. – Defense attorney Diane Black cross-examines.
11:12 a.m. – McGriff has knowledge about gangs. His responsibility was to keep inmates safe.
11:13 a.m. – When a gang member is arrested, they sometimes still continue gang activity from in the jail. He came in contact with many members of the jail.
11:14 a.m. – Black asks if it’s beneficial for an inmate to be a part of a gang. He says it can be.
11:15 a.m. – McGriff says they didn’t necessarily see all that much gang activity in the county jail.
11:16 a.m. – Black asks if it’s helpful for an inmate to provide information about another case. He says that’s fair to say. They have their own cases pending and they don’t want to go to prison. Finding out information about others can help them. She asks if there are inmates who do this on a more regular basis. He says yes. She asks if Robert Smith is one of those guys. McGriff says yes.
11:17 a.m. – He met Smith in the summer of 2012. Smith worked with them on a few cases.
11:19 a.m. – After he started working with Smith, McGriff looked at Smith’s criminal history. Black offers that history into evidence.
11:20 a.m. State asks to approach the judge’s bench.
11:23 a.m. – The history is admitted and the jury receives copies of it.
11:24 a.m. – Starting when Smith was 18, he had charges for conversion, forgery, carrying a handgun without a license, theft and neglect of a dependent. At one point he disobeyed home detention and was arrested again.
11:27 a.m. – Smith knew the right channels to go through to get his letter delivered.
11:28 a.m. – Sometimes inmates just talk to each other about their cases. Inmates get to take their charging information and probable cause documents into jail with them. The papers are kept with the inmates. Sometimes other inmates can read those papers.
11:31 a.m. – Black says she will refer to “snitches” as “information inmates.”
11:32 a.m. – Black says Smith was an information inmate. He wrote a letter that was addressed to McGriff. She asks if a risk is involved with being an information inmate. He says yes. Black asks if they can be harmed outside or inside prison. He says yes.
11:33 a.m. – Sometimes inmates do take that risk because there can be a big benefit. They may get out of jail early.
11:34 a.m. – Black asks if a person is arrested on an escape charge if they get to go back to community corrections. State objects and they meet at the judge’s bench.
11:35 a.m. – Smith wrote between 30-40 letters during his times in jail. Some said “I need to get out of here,” and others were similar. Others had information about other inmates. Other cases he provided information about didn’t get him very far.
11:39 a.m. – McGriff also had face-to-face contact. He talked to Smith’s wife several times on the phone.
11:41 a.m. – McGriff says he physically met with Smith 10-20 times. He had about 5-10 phone conversations with Cathy, Smith’s wife.
11:42 a.m. – Black says Smith referred to McGriff as “his cop.” McGriff says it’s typical of the inmates to think that an officer is on their side, but it’s not necessarily the case.
11:45 a.m. – Black asks if he had a conversation with Kathy in February. He says he doesn’t recall. Black has no more questions and State declines redirect. McGriff is excused and judge asks to meet with lawyers.
12:59 p.m. – Judge Marnocha re-enters the courtroom, followed by the jury.
1:01 p.m. – State calls Robert Smith to the witness stand.
1:02 p.m. – In November 2012, he was incarcerated in the Marion County jail. He had been there for 11 months.
1:03 p.m. – He was in jail for theft and escape. Initially was in 4A block. Later moved to 4D. It’s a maximum-security prison. They’re in their cells 23 hours a day.
1:04 p.m. – While he was in jail, Mark Leonard came in to the jail around November or December. He was in 4D at the time. He found out about Leonard after talking to him. Smith was not aware of the media attention surrounding the jail.
1:05 p.m. – Smith’s plea agreements are entered into evidence. Jurors receive a copy.
1:08 p.m. – He was charged with class D felonies. The sentence range is 6 months – 3 years. A middle range sentence is 18 months, do 9. There is a day-for-a-day credit.
1:09 p.m. – He served a 3-year sentence. The sentence was split. He did 9 months work release and 9 months on home detention.
1:10 p.m. – There was no availability for his felony to be reduced to a misdemeanor. The State did not file the habitual offender charge, which would have given him more time.
1:11 p.m. – His plea agreement does not require him to testify against mark Leonard. For the escape charge, he served 2 years. Also a felony conviction.
112 p.m. – The plea agreement for the escape charge also does not require him to testify against Leonard.
1:13 p.m. – He did not escape from the Marion County jail. He broke the terms of his work release, which is considered escape. He turned himself in.
1:14 p.m. – The sentence for the theft charge is completed. He is also done serving for the escape charge. He has no current pending charges.
1:15 p.m. – He has not had any arrests since those charges.
1:16 p.m. – His bond was set at $5,000 which means he could pay $500 to get out. His bond was later reduced to $1,000.
1:18 p.m. – His bond was reduced based on the information he provided about Leonard.
1:19 p.m. – He is here today because he “thought it was the right thing to do.”
1:20 p.m. – In 1982, he had charges of conversions and disorderly conduct. He was 18. These charges were in Marion County. In 1984-85 there were forgery cases against him.
1:21 p.m. – He served prison time for the forgery cases. He was 21. In 1989, he got a DUI charge. In 1994, he had a handgun charge. In 2005, another theft case.
1:22 p.m. – In 2008, he bought stolen merchandise. “I buy items sometimes at a cheap price,” he says. The jury laughs. In 2010, he failed to pay child support but does now. He currently works for a fencing company in Indianapolis.
1:23 p.m. – Next listed are the previously discussed 2012 charges.
1:24 p.m. – At some point Smith and Leonard start talking. Their hour away from the cell coincided. Smith identifies Leonard for the courtroom.
1:25 p.m. – They talked about what Leonard was in for. Leonard talked to him about the explosion. Smith says other inmates talk about their cases all the time. “I don’t understand why, but they do it,” he says.
1:26 p.m. – They had a set of bars between them, even during this time away from the cells.
1:27 p.m. – Smith says Leonard told him he was at a bar in Greenwood with Bob Leonard. Smith is from Mars Hill, and told Leonard that. Bob Leonard lived in a trailer park not far away. Smith said he didn’t know Bob Leonard.
1:28 p.m. – Leonard told Smith over the course of time that he went to the casino because he knew he’d be on camera.
1:29 p.m. – Leonard told him Bob drove the van to the Shirley home. A neighbor spotted it and thought it was Mark. Bob was supposed to step on the gas line to just make it crack. Instead, he broke it. Leonard also told him Bob used a microwave to set the explosion.
1:30 p.m. – Leonard told Smith he expected to gain $300,000.
1:31 p.m. – Smith said Leonard had a lot of paperwork that he would always be reading. He would talk about his frustration with the amount of witnesses, but Smith did not read the actual paperwork.
1:32 p.m. – Mark Duckworth was also from Mars Hill. He was a witness against Leonard. Smith did not know him. Leonard said he wanted him killed. That got Smith’s attention.
1:33 p.m. – Leonard said Duckworth was lying and setting him up to be in jail for the rest of his life. Leonard asked Smith if he could kill Duckworth or knew anyone who would. Smith told him he used to be involved with the Aryan Brotherhood and a different motorcycle group – The Cherry Hill Riders.
1:34 p.m. – Smith has an Aryan Brotherhood tattoo. He later covered the patch up. “it’s a racial group, things change,” Smith said.
1:35 p.m. – Leonard said he was willing to pay to have Duckworth killed. Smith said he could find someone to do it. Smith was not serious, his intent was to inform police of Leonard’s request.
1:36 p.m. – He has worked with police in the past to perform drug deals. He said he gets a thrill from it.
1:37 p.m. – If he provides information about another case, it’s possible to get reduced time.
1:38 p.m. – Smith sent the information to MgGriff. He says he regularly wrote letters to the officer.
1:39 p.m. – The letter is admitted into evidence.
1:40 p.m. – He did not receive an immediate response from McGriff. He contacted another officer.
1:41 p.m. – He eventually told McGriff of Leonard’s request. At some point, Smith sent a second letter to jail employees about the Duckworth situation.
1:44 p.m. – Leonard signed the letter that Smith wrote. A map is included, drawn by Leonard. Leonard’s handwriting is also on the map.
1:46 p.m. – He gave Leonard his mother-in-law’s address to contact him when he was out, since Leonard would owe money for killing the witness. Smith never got the letter.
1:47 p.m. – Leonard told Smith he did demolition and hotel work, along with running security.
1:48 p.m. – Upon arrival at the jail, an inmate is given a handbook about the rules of the jail. It says phone calls and mail are monitored. There are also signs on the wall saying calls are recorded. When you use a phone, a message reminds the inmate it’s being recorded.
1:49 p.m. – All of Smith’s phone calls were to his girlfriend Kathy. He knew they were recorded.
1:50 p.m. – He told her about cases he provided information on.
1:51 p.m. – At some point, Detective Wager came and spoke with Smith to take a statement. Another officer Smith has worked with before was there.
1:53 p.m. – He provided the officers with the same information he provided here today.
1:54 p.m. – Robinson asks about someone named Jay. She asked if it was a fictitious name. He says yes. Smith was provided with “Jay’s” name and phone number to give to Leonard. Officers couldn’t take Smith’s word, they had to know it was a credible threat. Smith gave the name and number to Leonard.
1:55 p.m. – Inmates use a unique number when they use the phone. Smith told Leonard to use his number instead of Leonard’s own.
1:56 p.m. – The phone on that block is located right by Smith’s cell. Leonard called “Jay” and Smith heard it (one side) while locked in his cell. Smith said he made 2 calls.
1:57 p.m. – When Smith talked to his girlfriend, he told her it was a “worldwide case.” He said that gave her extra motivation to move faster.
1:58 p.m. – He told her there would be a “big cash bowl at the end of the rainbow.” He thought he would receive money for this case. He didn’t. “I’m still broke,” Smith said, “But I’m still here.”
1:59 p.m. – Defense Attorney David Shircliff begins cross-examination.
2:00 p.m. – “Wow, the jury just heard you say my client tried to have a witness killed,” Shircliff says. “Yes,” Smith replies. Shircliff asks about medications he was on.
2:01 p.m. – Shircliff asks if he wasn’t taking his medication. Smith says he was. Shircliff says he was giving it away. “No,” Smith said. “It’s not possible. The nurses check.”
2:02 p.m. – Shircliff asked if they increased the medication. Smith says he asked but they didn’t. Shirlciff says he never took any of them. Smith says he took them all.
2:03 p.m. – Shircliff asks to play a phone call to impeach his testimony. Judge asks lawyers to approach.
2:04 p.m. – The phone call is played for the court. Smith is heard in the call saying he gave pills away. Smith earlier said he never took “Rimrod.” In the call, he says he did take them.
2:05 p.m. – “I ain’t never took none of them,” Smith is heard saying on tape.
2:06 p.m. – Smith said that’s what he told his girl. He had to take the pills. The nurses make sure.
2:07 p.m. – Shircliff says it’s easy to pass medications. Smith says it can be. Shircliff says he gave medicine to Leonard. Smith denies it. Shircliff calls him a snitch and asks him what it’s like.
2:08 p.m. – Shircliff says he professional scavenges information and gets paid or gets out of jail. “I served my time,” Smith says.
2:09 p.m. – Around March 26, 2013, Shircliff says he met with Robinson. Shircliff says Robinson told him what he can and can’t do.
2:10 p.m. – Robinson asks to approach the judge’s bench. The lawyers meet there.
2:11 p.m. – Shircliff says Robinson told him some things at the meeting. Robinson told him he couldn’t talk to the media and had to stay out of trouble. On March 28, Smith was released from jail.
2:12 p.m. – Shircliff says he’s been a snitch on 3 cases. Shircliff said he knew he wasn’t getting out of jail from those and needed something else. Smith said he still had to do a deposition. He denies “digging up information on Leonard.” He said Leonard gave him the information.
2:15 p.m. – Shircliff says someone delivered Leonard’s paperwork to him. Smith says that didn’t happen.
2:16 p.m. – Shircliff asked if he was worried about being a snitch. “Of course,” Smith says. Shircliff asks if it’s useful to know personal information about the person he’s snitching on. “Yes,” Smith says.
2:17 p.m. – Shircliff asks if he uses his girlfriend to contact officers for him. He says yes. Shircliff asks if the more worked up she gets, the more likely she is to actually do it. He says yes.
2:18 p.m. – Shircliff says he told his girlfriend he would get $10,000. Smith said he never has gotten anything from prosecutors and told her that so she’d pass along information quicker.
2:20 p.m. – Shircliff says Smith testified he was in 4A to 4D. Shircliff says he moved to 4D around the time Leonard got there. “I guess,” Smith replies.
2:22 p.m. – On one of the letters, he indicated to officers not to touch it. He knew Leoanrd had and hoped they could get his fingerprints from it.
2:23 p.m. – Shircliff says he’s here today and is receiving no benefit. Smith says that’s correct.
2:24 p.m. – If Smith gets arrested again, Shircliff says he still has his previous connections and now this case. Smith says he doesn’t understand and State objects. Lawyers meet at the judge’s bench.
2:26 p.m. – Shircliff asks if the State could have put him in jail for a long time. He says yes. Shircliff asks if he’s aware that this is one of the biggest cases in Indiana. Smith says yes. Shircliff said he testified he got no benefit other than reduction of bond. “Yes,” Smith replies.
2:27 p.m. – Shircliff says that Smith said in a call that he might be on the news and might even get a sitcom. The jury laughs. No further questions from Shircliff. Smith is excused.
2:45 p.m. – State calls AFT agent Jeremy Godsave to the witness stand.
2:47 p.m. – Godsave saw the letters regarding Leonard wanting to have a witness killed.
2:48 p.m. – He says when they receive information that a life is at risk, they take action.
2:49 p.m. – Godsave says Leonard could possibly have been talking to more people than just Robert Smith.
2:50 p.m. – Godsave was never at the scene, but he knew about the explosion.
2:51 p.m. – Godsave briefed his superior on the letters.
2:52 p.m. – They came up with a plan of action on how to proceed.
2:53 p.m. – Godspeed “played” the hit man in the murder for hire plot. The name he used was “Jay.” Leonard would have to initiate the phone call.
2:54 p.m. – Godspeed, or “Jay,” got a call from Leonard on March 13, 2013.
2:55 p.m. – Leonard called again later. In both conversations, he expressed a desire to have a witness in the Richmond Hill trial killed.
2:57 p.m. – A tape recording is played. Leonard is heard calling “Jay.”
2:58 p.m. – Leonard says he can’t get into it much on the phone and wishes he wasn’t in this position. Jay asks if he gave him a map. Leonard says he drew it.
3:00 p.m. – Leonard explains where the witness’ home is.
3:01 p.m. – Leonard identifies the witnesses’ car.
3:02 p.m. – “The dude’s kind of a homebody. He doesn’t have a friend in the world,” Leonard says. Jay asks if there’s anyone else in the home. Leonard says no.
3:03 p.m. – Leonard says the back door would be the best entry point. Jay asks if he’s going to get jumped. Leonard says no. Jay says he’s going to check it out and asks Leonard to call him back tomorrow.
3:04 p.m. – “This will get me out of here,” Leonard says. The recording ends.
3:05 p.m. – Robinson says yesterday Monserrate Shirley testified she identified Leonard’s voice in that recording.
3:06 p.m. – Godspeed he asked Leonard about the map because he wanted to make sure Leonard drew it.
3:07 p.m. – Godspeed said he wanted to make sure Leonard was fully committed. He didn’t know Leonard and wanted to give him every opportunity to back out. At that time they knew there was a fourth conspirator who had not been identified. They didn’t find out then who that person was.
3:08 p.m. – The next day, Godspeed received the second call. A recording is played for the court.
3:09 p.m. – “Jay” picks up the phone. He says the map was a little bit messed up but he found it.
3:10 p.m. – Jay says it’s going to be perfect. Leonard says he’s glad Jay sees it that way.
3:12 p.m. – Leonard tells Jay to call 911 before the hit and say (as if he is the witness), “I did not mean to frame Mark and Moncy for their own house in Richmond Hill. The large amounts of money he leaves laying around is what bought a lot of drugs and whores.”
3:13 p.m. – Jay asks if Leonard is good to go. Leonard says yes. Jay says when he gets out to call him about being payed. The recording ends. No more questions for Goodspeed and defense doesn’t cross-examine. Godspeed is excused.
*END OF COURT FOR JULY 2*
July 1, 2015
8:45 a.m. – Media enters courtroom. Mark Leonard is wearing a white shirt and a black and white pattern tie.
9:18 a.m. – Judge John Marnocha enters the courtroom.
9:20 a.m. – Jury enters the courtroom
9:21 a.m. – State calls Monserrate Shirley to the witness stand. She comes in with handcuffs, ankle chains and a chain around her stomach. She is wearing a blue jumpsuit and has long black hair.
9:23 a.m. – She says is 49 years old.
9:24 a.m. – She says she is in custody for the south side explosion. At one time she was charged with Mark Leonard. She has pleaded guilty in the case. She was charged in December 2012.
9:25 a.m. – She puts on reading glasses to observe her plea agreement, provided by Prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth.
9:26 a.m. – She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to 2 counts of commit arson (A and B felonies). Arson and murder charges were dismissed. State was seeking life without parole sentence, but dropped after plea agreement.
9:27 a.m. – She still faces a sentence range of 20-50 years in prison. The standard sentence is 30 years.
9:27 a.m. – She understands she could be sentenced to 50 years. Part of her plea agreement included coopering with the State and testifying against the other suspects in this case, including Mark Leonard, Bob Leonard Jr., Gary Thompson and Glenn Hults.
9:30 a.m. – She lived at 8349 Fieldfare Way since 2003. She was married to John A. Shirley, who previously testified. They built the house. They had one child together, Brooke Shirley.
9:31 a.m. – John moved out in February 2010 after the divorce was finalized in the summer of 2010. She remained in the house up until the explosion.
9:32 a.m. – The home was signed over to her after the divorce. She had sole ownership. She has been a registered nurse for over 20 years. Started in Michigan. Her husband’s job brought her to Indianapolis. She was with the VA hospital in Indianapolis for 17 years.
9:33 a.m. – She worked in the ICU. She worked at St. Francis Hospital South and Community Hospital South. She was practicing up until the explosion.
9:34 a.m. – John Shirley typically did the maintenance around the home. She knows the home had 3 gas appliances: the water heater, the fireplace and the furnace. The stove was electric.
9:35 a.m. – The home was built with a gas fireplace. John replaced it with a system that would burn real wood. After the system was installed, she never smelled gas in the home. It worked OK.
9:36 a.m. – She didn’t ever use the fireplace after John moved out. Mark Leonard used it last. She had a microwave in the home. It was installed above the stove after they moved in. It had a programmable timer on it.
9:37 a.m. – She met Mark Leonard at a bar called “Crazy Street” on the south side of Indianapolis on November 12, 2011. She went there with a female friend. By this time she was already divorced.
9:38 a.m. – When she walked in, she said, “Mark Leonard was staring at me right away.”
9:39 a.m. – She is from Puerto Rico and moved to the U.S. when she was 25.
9:40 a.m. – She had a beer and they kept looking at each other. They met up and her friend later decided to go home. She told Shirley she “was in good hands.” Shirley said he was very handsome, wore nice clothes and drove a Hummer.
9:41 a.m. – Shirley identifies Mark Leonard for the court. They talked at the bar for a couple of hours. Her friend Mary was long gone by then.
9:42 a.m. – Mary told her that he could take her home. She asked his friends if she would be safe. They said yes. Later, he took her home in the Hummer. He ended up staying the night.
9:43 a.m. – Brooke was not there that night. She was with John for the weekend. She was expected back by noon. He was still there around then and she had asked him to leave. “Please, no, leave, leave,” she told him. He decided to hide in the bathroom.
9:44 a.m. – Brooke came into the house but John did not. John noticed the Hummer in the driveway and commented on it through a text message. Mark and Brooke met. It was not friendly. Brooke had a problem with Mark, and later Shirley had to speak with her.
9:45 a.m. – Mark Left late that day. He left for a few hours to the zoo. This was the start of a romantic relationship between the two of them.
9:46 a.m. – In December 2011, Leonard moved in with her. She says he was a nice guy. They would cook together. “He was charming, a very lovely man.”
9:47 a.m. – The relationship took a turn for the worse after 5 months.
9:48 a.m. – Leonard became ill in March 2012. He had bad headaches and he took himself to the clinic. The headaches got worse and she thought it was something serious. She took him to Community South, where she worked. He had hemoglobin of 5, which means he needs a blood transfusion. Normal is 16-18 for a man.
9:49 a.m. – He stayed in the ICU for 3 days in critical condition. He left to go to IU Medical Center downtown because his condition was getting worse. She wanted him to be at a larger hospital. She was by his side most of the time. She took leave from work.
9:50 a.m. – She usually worked Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. She worked 12-hour shifts.
9:51 a.m. – He stayed at the IU medical center ICU for more than a week. His hemoglobin was 3 and his body was rejecting blood transfusions. He went into a coma at Community South and was on a ventilator.
9:52 a.m. – The had to radiate the blood to give it to him. His body accepted it and he began to get better. He had a bilateral clot in his lungs. She stayed with him every night at the IU med center. He was released and went home for a day before relapsing. He went back to IU and stayed for 4 days to receive more treatment.
9:53 a.m. – He was able to come back home after that but still needed care. She took care of him for a few months. More appointments, medication adjustments and lab tests. Around the end of April 2012 he was getting better and became mobile again.
9:54 a.m. – She says that when they met, Leonard told her he had a construction business. He said it was a roofing company called Mastercraft.
9:55 a.m. – He had a contract with a hotel in Southport.
9:56 a.m. – He bought cars, fixed them up in Franklin and resold them. Sometimes he would work on the cars at her house. He had a set of tools.
9:57 a.m. – Prior to meeting Leonard, she never went to a casino. Her first time was 3 or 4 months after they met. They went to the Hollywood Casino. She does not gamble, but said Leonard did. “He played blackjack,” she said. He taught her how to play. Her first time, he gave her $3,000 to wager. She lost it all.
9:59 a.m. – He said, “That’s how it goes, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.” He never gave her that much again. He kept playing, betting anywhere from $2,000-$10,000. She wasn’t worried because he told her he had been playing for a long time and was good at it.
10:00 a.m. – Typically she would just drink and eat, and sometimes play slots. She played the dollar machines.
10:01 a.m. – Leonard had a Harley Davidson motorcycle and they would go on rides. She had never been on one before and she said it was very exciting.
10:02 a.m. – One time she saw Leonard lose $7,000 at the casino. Most of the trips would be while Brooke was at school. She was 11 at the time. She went to Our Lady of Greenwood, a Catholic school. Sometimes they had to get a babysitter for Brooke – Glenn Hults’ wife.
10:03 a.m. – Her home was insured with State Farm. In November 2012, she had been their client for over 20 years. The home and its contents were covered, along with the vehicle. She owned a 2006 GMC Envoy. “Mark Leonard sold my car,” she said. He sold it to Ray Skillman. Glenn Hults worked at that dealership.
10:05 a.m. – He wanted her to buy a 2011 Cadillac STS. It was very pricey and her credit wasn’t great. She didn’t want it. He took her to rent one, and she used it for a while and later told her Ray Skillman wanted to give her $10,000 for her car. He said he’d buy her a BMW. She liked her car, but he sold it. She ended up with a 2000 Ford Taurus for $750.
10:06 a.m. – Leonard ended up driving a Cadillac STS. He bought it at an auction and they fixed the car at a body shop in Franklin. He bought it for $6,000 of his own money.
10:07 a.m. – She did not like the Taurus more than the Envoy.
10:08 a.m. – They discussed the house insurance about two weeks after he moved in. He brought it up to her. He asked what name the house was in. She said it was in her name and John Shirley didn’t have rights to the house anymore. If anything happened to it, she would get the money.
10:09 a.m. – Leonard reviewed the insurance, and he said it was underinsured. She had expressed no concern to him about this and isn’t sure why he brought it up to begin with. He told her she needed to call State Farm and increase it. House was insured for $180,000 and contents were for $150,000. Leonard wanted it increased to $300,000. He said he was going to fix it up and bring a lot of stuff in.
10:10 a.m. – He brought in 2 TVs but that’s it. She easily made the adjustment with State Farm to $300,000.
10:11 a.m. – She didn’t question him. “I just did it,” she said.
10:12 a.m. – The Envoy was insured until it was sold. His Cadillac was insured through her insurance at his request. She insured the Harley Davidson as well.
10:13 a.m. – Hollingsworth has her confirm an insurance policy document but doesn’t offer it into evidence yet. He also has her identify the insurance document for the Harley Davidson and another one for a 2006 Cadillac STS.
10:17 a.m. – She says she would never thought to increase her insurance if not for Leonard.
10:18 a.m. – After the divorce, she and John took care of Brooke together. They filed for bankruptcy, but it was closed after she wasn’t paying enough. She was working full time at Community South and also worked at St. Francis hospital in Mooresville.
10:19 a.m. – She decided to put the home up for sale after the divorce. Her realtor said she needed to do a short sale. At some point an offer was made on the home. It was accepted, but then she withdrew it. She felt bad about selling it because “it was Brooke’s house.”
10:20 a.m. – She made the decision before meeting Leonard.
10:21 a.m. – The realtor took photos of the home. Hollingsworth hands her the photos and asks her to identify them.
10:22 a.m. – The photos of the home are shown via projector.
10:23 a.m. – Hollingsworth asks if she knew her neighbors. She says yes, getting emotional. She holds back tears as she talks about knowing the Longworths.
10:24 a.m. – She says she had good neighbors around her. She begins to lose her composure when talking about the photo of their daughter above the fireplace. She is 5 years old in the photo. Shirley says it’s very special to her.
10:25 a.m. – She says they key to the fireplace was kept on the mantle. She said John would operate the fireplace. Leonard also did after the divorce.
10:27 a.m. – She says the photos are very similar to how the house looked before the explosion.
10:28 a.m. – She said the TV in the bedroom was replaced with a 65”-70” flat screen TV.
10:29 a.m. – The last time she was in the home, the flat screen TV was still there. The TV in Brooke’s room had also been replaced with a 42” flat screen TV.
10:31 a.m. – Hollingsworth asks about other TVs. She says there was an old TV downstairs that was never used. The last time she was in the house before the explosion was November 9, 2012. Both the TVs were there that day, she says.
10:32 a.m. – The home was 3,000 square feet. At some point in time, he asks if there was a discussion about setting a fire in the home. “Yes,” she says.
10:33 a.m. – Defense asks to meet at judge’s bench.
10:53 a.m. – Judge Marnocha re-enters the courtroom. The sound of chains can be heard as Shirley walks to the witness stand again.
10:55 a.m. – The jury re-enters the courtroom. For the first time in the trial, the courtroom is standing room only.
10:56 a.m. – Shirley says a conversation about burning the house down happened in February 2012. Leonard initiated the conversation at the home. They were in the bedroom. He told her, “I’m going to show you how to make money. You know how Glenn’s house was set on fire? Gary Thompson did it.” He said it would be easy, especially since he had no criminal record.
10:58 a.m. – Shirley said it was supposed to be just a fire in the garage, nothing more.
10:59 a.m. – Thompson worked for Leonard and that’s how she met him. She also met Glenn Hults through him.
11:00 a.m. – Shirley said she thought it was crazy, but went along with him. On July 4, 2012, the idea was brought up again. Hults invited Leonard to a pool party around Geist Reservoir. Brooke, Leonard and Shirley went to the party. Hults knew the chiropractor that threw the party.
11:02 a.m. – They went in Leonard’s Cadillac. Hults was there. Brooke like the horses there and wanted to ride one. Hults’ girlfriend Sharon took Brook to the horses.
11:03 a.m. – They drank beer at the party. The subject of the house fire came up again between Shirley, Leonard and Hults. The conversation happened at the pool. Leonard initiated it.
11:04 a.m. – Leonard asked Hults to explain how his house burned down and how easy it was to collect the money. Hults told them to be careful, and said he knew someone who was convicted of arson and got 75 years.
11:05 a.m. – Hults asked who would get the money. Leonard said he would. “Me of course, I always get the money,” Shirley recalled Leonard saying.
11:06 a.m. – Shirley told them, “That’s too crazy, I’m not going to do that.” At that time she didn’t think it was going to happen.
11:07 a.m. – The next time the topic came up was in October 2012 — the week before Halloween. Leonard brought it up again. He said he talked to Thompson and told him that they were ready. Leonard said to tell him that she was OK to do it.
11:08 a.m. – Thompson arrived about a week before the first attempt. There were 2 attempts at this before the fatal explosion.
11:09 a.m. – Leonard gave her instructions on what to tell Thompson. She was instructed to tell him it was OK to start a small fire. She said Leonard told her, “Nobody is going to get hurt.”
11:10 a.m. – Hollingsworth asks her when the first attempt was. She asks to see a calendar. She says it was Saturday, October 27, 2012.
11:11 a.m. – The jury receives a copy of the calendar for their binders.
11:13 a.m.- In the week of the first attempt, Thompson came over on the 22nd or 23rd. Leonard invited him over. Brooke was at school. He came over in the afternoon.
11:14 a.m. – They went to the garage and Leonard told Thompson they were ready. Leonard asked Thompson to explain how easy Hults’ fire was. Thompson said he should not be telling her everything that happened.
11:15 a.m. – Leonard said they were “just going to do a small fire,” Shirley recalls. Thompson checked the thermostat. They were going to use it to start the fire. They did not explain to her exactly how it would happen. Thompson explained it to Leonard.
11:16 a.m. – The fireplace came up when they were discussing their plans. Shirley says Thompson told Leonard that through the fireplace, it would “click in” and start the fire.
11:17 a.m. – She did not say anything while they were coming up with the plan. She did not have any suggestions to give.
11:18 a.m. – Thompson was at the home for a few hours. That was all she heard of that conversation. After Thompson left, Leonard told her not to worry. “It’s just a small fire, nobody’s going to get hurt,” Shirley recalls him saying.
11:20 a.m. – Shirley was asked to get a babysitter for Brooke, to make reservations for the casino hotel, and make arrangements for the cat “if she wanted to keep it.” Brooke got the cat, Snowball, when she was 9.
11:21 a.m. – She said Leonard didn’t care about the cat. Shirley made all those arrangements. The cat was taken to Surgar Grove. Snowball had never been boarded before.
11:22 a.m. – Brooke went to a friend’s house to spend the night so they could go get Halloween costumes. She asked the friend’s mom to take Brooke to Hults’ house the next morning.
11:23 a.m. – Reservations were made at the Hollywood Casino hotel for that Saturday night. On Friday night, Leonard asked Shirley if she had sentimental items about Brooke. She said yes and they took those items, mainly photos, to Hults’ home.
11:24 a.m. – The photo of Brooke above the fireplace was taken down. Shirley said she didn’t want anything to happen to it. Leonard helped her remove the pictures and pack them in a plastic blue tub.
11:25 a.m. – About 8-10 photos were removed from walls. The photo of Brooke did not fit in the tub, so Shirley wrapped it in bubble wrap instead. She put the items near the front door.
11:27 a.m. – Leonard said Thompson was going to take the items to Hults’ home. Thompson showed up Saturday morning around 10 a.m. to get them. Leonard went to pick him up in a white van that belonged to Leonard.
11:28 a.m. – He had the van for a few months. Thompson came in and Shirley had her items for the casino. Leonard and Thompson loaded the van with the sentimental items.
11:29 a.m. – The items were to go to Hults’ home. Thompson drove away with the items.
11:30 a.m. – Shirley did not necessarily have any assurances that Brooke might come back for some reason, but knew she wouldn’t.
11:31 a.m. – Shirley and Leonard left for the Hollywood Casino. They arrived and checked in to their room. Then, they went to eat and gamble before returning to their room around 2-3 a.m. She did not know exactly when the fire was supposed to happen. They were waiting for a phone call.
11:32 a.m. – Leonard told her Thompson was supposed to go to the house and start the fire.
11:33 a.m. – Shirley was expecting Abby Jackson, a neighbor, to call her after she saw the fire. Shirley never got a call or message. Leonard kept asking her if she received any calls.
11:34 a.m. – Nobody ever called. They left early the next morning. They drove back to her home. Leonard was upset, so she didn’t want to bring it up. He said Thompson didn’t do the job. They could see the house still standing.
11:35 a.m. – They did not go back inside the house. The drove to Thompson’s house on Thompson Road. Thompson was home and he spoke to Leonard.
11:36 a.m. – Leonard said to him, “You can’t even do a fire, you’re a piece of s***.” Thompson told him he got pulled over and couldn’t do it. Leonard was upset and said it’s not possible because the van had no papers. Shirley did not believe Thompson either. “Leonard was very, very mad,” Shirley said.
11:37 a.m. – Leonard commented that Hults should have been the one doing it, because he owed Leonard a favor.
11:38 a.m. – The first conversation about second attempt was in the last week of October. Leonard said, “This has to be done, we’re going to do it again.”
11:39 a.m. – Brooke was never around to hear any of these conversations. Shirley told him he was crazy, and told him not to. Leonard told her it had to be done. “He never took no as an answer,” she said.
11:40 a.m. – The plan for the second attempt was the same as the first. Leonard said to Thompson that it would be better if they put cardboard on the fireplace so they wouldn’t lose gas.
11:41 a.m. – She saw the cardboard was cut and saw Leonard and Thompson positioning it so smoke couldn’t escape.
11:42 a.m. – They looked at the thermostat again. It was a General Electric digital thermostat.
11:43 a.m. – Leonard took Thompson back home. The date of the 2nd attempt was November 3, 2012. Leonard picked the date.
11:45 a.m. – On November 1, Leonard came home after work and gave the house’s address to his brother Bob Leonard. Leonard told her, “(Bob) would do anything I ask him to do.”
11:46 a.m. – She had never met Bob before. She met him that night. Shirley said he didn’t look like Mark at all. Brooke was there that night.
11:47 a.m. – Brooke wouldn’t have been able to hear their conversation. They went to the garage and Mark was explaining the job to Bob. Bob confirmed with Shirley that she was aware.
11:48 a.m. – Bob then talks to Mark in the garage. Shirley went to the bedroom and didn’t hear the conversation. Bob left the home later that night.
11:49 a.m. – Leonard later told Shirley that his brother would do it Saturday, and that it would be a small fire. Leonard told Shirley he would pay Bob $10,000 to do it. They expected to gain more than $300,000 from insurance.
11:50 a.m. – Leonard did not explain what exactly was going to happen. Shirley was still going along with it.
11:51 a.m. – Leonard asked her to make arrangements again for the hotel, the cat and Brooke. She did. Hults said Brooke could stay at their house. Hults’ girlfriend had 14 and 15 year-old daughters. The cat was taken to Arbor Lane. She had no reason to go to a different location.
11:53 a.m. – She and Leonard left for the casino Saturday morning. Leonard was to leave the fireplace running. She saw him turn it on (the gas) before they left. The fireplace was not lit.
11:55 a.m. – They arrived at the casino in the afternoon. It’s about a 2-3 hours.
11:56 a.m. – The thermostat was supposed to click, creating a spark, around midnight.
11:57 a.m. – They checked into their room at the casino and then went and sat around the bar. Again, they were expecting someone to call. Again, nobody called.
11:58 a.m. – Shirley says Leonard was upset. They stay the night at the casino and go back in the morning. The house was still standing. They did not go in the house. Mark called Bob and told him to meet them at a CVS.
11:59 a.m. – Bob arrived after Shirley and Mark. Mark told Shirley to go get Brooke. She did and didn’t hear the conversation between Mark and Bob. She received a phone call from Mark and told her to get a hotel because the house was too cold. They were going to try again that Sunday night.
12:01 p.m. – Hults said they were going to “explode the whole neighborhood.” Shirley said she thought it was a joke. She got a hotel room at the Farefield Inn.
12:03 p.m. – Brooke was with Shirley. Mark Leonard stayed the night at the hotel. This is Sunday, November 4. Shirley didn’t think anything would actually happened since they failed before.
12:04 p.m. – They got back to the home Monday morning. She noticed gasoline containers in the garage. They had one gas tank for the lawnmower, but now there were 3.
12:05 p.m. – She didn’t inquire about them. Nothing else was different. Leonard brings up another conversation about a new attempt.
1:16 p.m. – Judge Marnocha re-enters the courtroom and Shirley returns to the witness stand.
1:18 p.m. – Shirley says she called a heating and cooling company on November 4. When she went to the hotel, Leonard told her to call to ask how much they would charge to fix the house because it was too cold. This was just to make it appear something was wrong “if something happened.” Leonard did not want anyone to actually go to the house.
1:20 p.m. – Back at the CVS meeting, Bob Leonard was driving Mark’s white van.
1:21 p.m. – During the first 2 attempts, Brooke was at the Hults’ home. They had babysat her before.
1:22 p.m. – On Monday, November 5, 2012, Shirley was present for a conversation between Mark and Bob. Mark was upset that the plan didn’t work. The conversation happened at a Steak N Shake near the hotel.
1:23 p.m. – They thought the house’s size was the reason for the failure. They decided to change the thermostat. When she got back to the home she saw a cheaper thermostat was installed. The digital one was uninstalled and in the kitchen. It had worked fine.
1:25 p.m. – She asked if they (Mark and Bob) would reinstall the digital thermostat because she liked it and it was nicer. They laughed at her. It was switched back later that day.
1:26 p.m. – When she was last in the home, the digital thermostat was installed. The cheap one was still in the kitchen.
1:27 p.m. – On November 8, Shirley returned from work and learned that the Leonard brothers had been doing arson research at a library. They found a house the same size as hers that burned and there were no injuries. Mark Leonard used this information to try and put her at ease about their plan.
1:28 p.m. – They still had the Cadillac and the Harley Davidson. Both were in bad condition in the garage. Leonard hit a curb in the Cadillac and it was damaged. The motorcycle had scratches on the left side.
1:29 p.m. – Shirley offered to call State Farm about the vehicles to repair them “the legal way.”
1:30 p.m. – Leonard said not to do that.
1:31 p.m. – When asked by insurance investigators, she told them both vehicles were in good condition. Both vehicles were in her name. Originally the Cadillac was in Leonard’s name but they later switched it.
1:32 p.m. – Shirley wanted to back out of the deal and offered her 401K instead. $10-12,000 was in there. Leonard said that wasn’t enough and he wanted $300,000.
1:33 p.m. – “I would give him anything because I was in love with him,” Shirley said when asked if she was serious about the offer. “It was not enough.”
1:34 p.m. – On Tuesday, Thompson was in the house again checking the thermostat.
1:35 p.m. – She made arrangements again for the casino, Brooke and the cat. Brooke was to be taken to the babysitter’s on Friday evening after she got out of school. This was November 9. She was to stay for one night. Snowball was boarded at Barkafellers.
1:37 p.m. – If Snowball had died, Shirley said Brooke would have been “devastated.” After the explosion, they told Brooke that the photo of her above the fireplace had been sent to someone to be reframed.
1:38 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks why they kept going to the casinos on the weekends. “Because we were trying to set the house on fire,” she said.
1:39 p.m. – The hotel reservation was for Friday, November 10, 2012. She worked that day. She took a shower that morning and had hot water. She walked out of the house around 6:50 a.m.
1:40 p.m. – Leonard took Brooke to school. Arrangements were made so that she would go to Hults’ home after school. Leonard was to drive her there too.
1:41 p.m. – When she left the house Friday morning, Leonard and Brooke were in the home. That was the last time she ever saw her house.
1:42 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks if she knows if any of the suspects did anything to the home after she left. Shirley says she doesn’t know.
1:43 p.m. – She got off work around 7 p.m. that night. She left from there and went to see Brooke at the Hults’ home. She changed clothes there. This was around 7:30 p.m.
1:44 p.m. – She was to meet Leonard at a bar called Rock House. She got there and Leonard was there in the white van with his brother Bob. Bob was driving.
1:45 p.m. – She was in the Ford Taurus. She parked next to them and Mark told her to come to the van. She sat in his lap and asked for $40 to give to Bob. Mark told Bob he needed to go get a “part.”
1:46 p.m. – She got her luggage from the van. She heard Mark say, “Make sure you go get that part.” Bob Leonard then left. He never mentioned what the part actually was.
1:47 p.m. – She heard him tell Bob to get that part twice. After the conversation, Leonard did not give her any insight about the part. He did say they met with a guy on the west side that worked for an energy company who told them “how to do it.”
1:49 p.m. – They got gas for the Taurus and they left for the casino. When they arrived Leonard told her they’d have to stay one more night and needed to change the reservation.
1:50 p.m. – They were put on a list for the second night because no room was available. She was not aware this was supposed to be a two-day trip. She texted Hults’ girlfriend and asked if Brooke could stay another night. She told Shirley yes.
1:51 p.m. – They got to the room and Leonard wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to do anything. Shirley went and played the slot machines. After that, she went and got some food for the two of them and returned to the room. This was about midnight.
1:52 p.m. – They stayed in the room the rest of Friday night.
1:53 p.m. – She knew it was supposed to happen Saturday night. She was not aware of what time it was supposed to happen, just at night.
1:54 p.m. – She wakes up on Saturday morning, took a shower and ate breakfast. They went and got a beer around lunch and they gambled a bit. They returned to the bar for a long time. They sat there for hours. “He didn’t have any money to play with,” she said.
1:55 p.m. – On this night, she got the phone call. John Duncan called and said a “terrible, horrible thing” happened on her street. He was checking to make sure they were OK. It was a short conversation.
1:56 p.m. – Shirley called a neighbor, who told her she was glad she was alive. “You don’t have a house to come back to,” the neighbor said. She said it was a huge explosion.
1:57 p.m. – Shirley talked to her husband, who told her to breathe and take it easy. She said she couldn’t believe it. “Everything they were telling me, it could not be possible.”
1:58 p.m. – She said she thought it was crazy. “There was an explosion there, that’s not what you told me. It cannot be real,” she remembers telling Leonard. (Shirley is now crying). “It’s huge, it’s huge, you never told me about this,” she recalls saying.
1:59 p.m. – Hollingsworth reminds her that the jury has seen video of them at the casino. Shirley says Leonard was with her, and said it was done.
2:00 p.m. – “Don’t worry about it, everything is under control,” She says Leonard told her.
2:01 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks about her eyes when she cries. She says she does not have the ability to form tears. “Are you crying for real right now?” He asks. “Yes,” she says.
2:02 p.m. – Leonard kept telling her to calm down as they drove to Mary Bryan Elementary School. She says they were interviewed by police in a police car. She was still very upset as Leonard talked to the officer. She did not reveal anything about the plan. Neither did Leonard. (Crying harder now).
2:03 p.m. – She says she was scared to say anything. They went to Leonard’s sister’s home. He told her not to say anything in the car to him because he was afraid it was bugged.
2:04 p.m. – They did not talk about it at his sister’s home either. The next morning, they went to Bob Leonard’s trailer – where he lived.
2:05 p.m. – It’s just Shirley and the Leonard brothers in the trailer. They discussed what happened. She said she didn’t want to be a part of it. “I didn’t want money, I didn’t want nothing. Innocent people died.” They told her, “Oh well.” And said she’s in it with them now.
2:06 p.m. – She asked them what happened. Mark said he didn’t know, Bob said he didn’t want to talk about it.
2:07 p.m. – Shirley said Mark gave Bob $500 at a later date. Shirley gave Mark the $500 to give to him. (No longer crying).
2:08 p.m. – She said before the explosion Bob asked for money from Mark – before the second attempt. He wanted $1,200.
2:09 p.m. – Shirley says Leonard coached her on talking with investigators after the first interview with police.
2:10 p.m. – She was told to say they were having trouble with the thermostat. She did tell that story to investigators.
2:11 p.m. – After the explosion, they stayed at Candlewood apartments for a few days. A teacher at Brooke’s school, Mrs. Quebe, offered to have them stay with her. Shirley took care of this woman’s mother while she was dying in the hospital. They stayed there for a couple of weeks.
2:13 p.m. – Leonard told her there in the garage not to worry because “they’ll never find what they are looking for.” He told her they were looking for a step-down valve that was removed.
2:14 p.m. – Later, they went to another apartment that State Farm referred them to.
2:16 p.m. – Shirley had no idea what the step-down valve was or what it had to do with the explosion. “Why would you go along with this plan?” Hollingsworth asks.
2:17 p.m. – “I was scared. I love him so much, I would do anything to make him happy,” Shirley says. Defense asks to approach judge’s bench.
2:18 p.m. – Judge says Shirley gave answers to questions that were not asked. The jury is asked to disregard that last statement.
2:20 p.m. – Shirley says that she felt for Leonard, throughout all of this.
2:21 p.m. – Brooke was picked up from Hults’ home Sunday morning. Hults, his girlfriend and two daughters were there. Hults was mad at Leonard. “Get the f*** out of here,” he told Leonard. That was the last time she saw Glenn Hults.
2:22 p.m. – The last time she saw Bob Leonard was when he was given $500.
2:23 p.m. – On Sunday, November 11, she gave a statement to an ATF agent with Leonard present. On Monday, she gave a statement to IMPD. She doesn’t remember if Leonard was present. On the 14th, she met with an insurance investigator.
2:24 p.m. – In those statements, she did say she went to the casino. She did say that Brooke was at a babysitter and the cat was boarded. She did not say anything about her knowing how the house blew up. She said she didn’t tell the truth.
2:25 p.m. – When asked why she didn’t tell the truth, she said, “Because I was scared.”
2:26 p.m. – Leonard’s lawyer at the time arranged for her to speak to the media. She spoke to several media sources at the same time. Leonard didn’t want to be on TV.
2:27 p.m. – She told reporters about the cat, about the casino, and said they had problems with the thermostat. She admits now that they did not have any problems with it. She did not mention to them that she was aware of the plan.
2:29 p.m. – Shirley’s insurance agent did give her a check for $5,000. They money was put into her checking account.
2:31 p.m. – Hollingsworth shows her a manual of her thermostat. She recognizes Leonard’s handwriting on it. Defense Attorney David Shircliff asks how she recognizes it. Shirley says he never writes in cursive and she can tell it’s his. He wrote checks and she has seen him write other things.
2:34 p.m. – Lawyers approach the judge’s bench.
2:35 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks if she recognizes the handwriting again. She says yes. He asks if she’s familiar with his signature. She says yes.
2:36 p.m. – He asks her to identify the writing on an envelope. She says it’s Leonard’s. He asks her to identify writing on a yellow piece of paper. She says it’s Leonard’s.
2:39 p.m. – She identifies Mark Leonard’s writing on a map. She does.
2:40 p.m. – After her arrest, she was shown photo arrays. Hollingsworth provides them to her and she says her signature is on there. She identified Glenn Hults and Gary Thompson in two separate arrays.
2:42 p.m. – Jurors receive copies of the arrays.
2:43 p.m. – Shirley listened to audio recording of voices. She identified Mark Leonard as one of the voices.
2:44 p.m. – Being a nurse, she knows people can be hurt or killed by fire. She said she knows at least the fire department will respond to a fire. Defense objects and lawyers meet at judge’s bench.
2:45 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks if the Longworth family deserves what happened to them. “No one deserved what happened, no one,” she said.
3:09 p.m. – Defense Attorney David Shircliff is prepared to cross-examine Shirley.
3:12 p.m. – Judge Marnocha re-enters the courtroom.
3:15 p.m. – Jury re-enters the courtroom.
3:17 p.m. – Shircliff says they want to figure out from what she said, what is true and what is not. Her life in some way depends on how the State feels about her testimony. She says yes. In some ways you don’t know if you’re telling the truth, he says. “That’s not true. I’m here to tell the truth and nothing but the truth,” she says.
3:18 p.m. – He says her job (as an RN in the ICU) is pretty important. She says yes.
3:19 p.m. – He asks if she had lives in her hands on a regular basis. She says yes. Along with the doctors, she made life and death situations.
3:20 p.m. – He asks if she is good at making decision in high-pressure situations. She says yes. “What about in your personal life?” He asks. “Sometimes,” she responds.
3:21 p.m. – Shircliff asks about when Leonard got sick. He was living at her house in March 2012 and she came home from work. Leonard was lying in bed and said he had a bad headache. He didn’t want to go to the hospital but she was concerned enough to take him. She made a quick decision.
3:22 p.m. – She found out he had a serious blood issue.
3:23 p.m. – She realized he may need specialist and had him transferred to IU. She cared for him there as much as she could. Shircliff asked if she advocated for them to not put a feeding tube in. She says yes. He was later induced into a coma.
3:24 p.m. – When he got home, she kept an eye on him. Shircliff asked if he got the wrong medications. She says yes. So she took him back to the hospital.
3:25 p.m. – Eventually he was able to come home. She took care of him there. She gave him shots and medicine. He eventually recovered and got back to normal.
3:26 p.m. – Shircliff brings up the first time they met at the bar. Her friend was only there 10-15 minutes. After that she decided she would go home with him. Leonard took her to her house and ended up having a romantic/sexual evening.
3:27 p.m. – She asked him to leave the next morning and he didn’t. Shircliff asks if she liked that he had money, clothes and a Hummer. She says yes.
3:28 p.m. – He stayed for another night before going back to his home. She took Brooke to his home and found out that he was going to be on home detention for DUI.
3:29 p.m. – 3 or 4 weeks later, Shircliff asks if he came to live with them. Shirley said Leonard asked her if he could move in. She accepted.
3:30 p.m. – Shircliff says in her deposition she said it was December 16th when he moved in, now she says it was before.
3:31 p.m. – When she increased her house insurance, she was already in debt.
3:32 p.m. – Shircliff says in the divorce, she was responsible for the bankruptcy and the two mortgages. She says yes. Shircliff goes over again that she wanted to short sell her home but then withdrew after an offer was made.
3:34 p.m. – Shircliff writes on an easel the order in which she made official statements regarding the explosion in 2012.
3:38 p.m. – In a different column, he lists the “proper” she provided to the State about the incident this year. Below that, he lists that she went to court and agreed to a factual basis of the plea. Her attorney drafted that this year.
3:40 p.m. – Shircliff said the defense team did a few depositions this year, and lists those. He also lists the trial testimony.
3:43 p.m. – He asks about her invitation on July 4, 2012 to go to Geist with Hults and Leonard. The three of them were in the pool. They talked about how they’d burn down the house and collect the money. He asks if she was thinking that she could use the money. “They said it would be a small fire,” She said. “I could pay my mortgage off or buy a car. Is that what you were thinking?” Shircliff asks. “Mark said he would get the money. He said he’d buy me a car,” she responded.
3:45 p.m. – In her proper, Shircliff says Shirley said “I’m not doing this, it’s too risky.” She says yes. He asks if in July she was already interested in pursuing it. She says yes.
3:46 p.m. – Shircliff says it was her house and her insurance policy. She says yes. Before she raised her insurance, he said she must have checked out the situation beforehand. She says she did not.
3:48 p.m. – The first weekend she identified there might be a small fire, Thompson came to the house and she told him she was ready. She also told him she didn’t want anyone to get hurt. That was going on in the living room, the very place she was ready to burn down. “Brooke’s house, Snowball’s house, your pride and joy house,” he said. “Yes,” she responded.
3:50 p.m. – Shircliff said Shirley said she was OK with a small fire. He asks if she was taking things from the house. Shirley says Leonard told her to, but she did it.
3:51 p.m. – She mentioned earlier that Leonard didn’t care about the cat, but told her to get the sentimental stuff out of the house. She says that’s true. Every weekend, she was the one to make sure there was somewhere for the cat to go, for Brooke to go, and that there were reservations. “That was my job,” she says.
3:52 p.m. – Shircliff asks if she created all the distractions. She says yes.
3:53 p.m. – Shircliff says in February she was all in after Leonard explained about Hults’ home. “I said anything to keep him with me. I’d do anything Mark asked me to do because I was in love with him,” Shirley said.
3:55 p.m. – Shircliff asks why she didn’t kick him out when he was sick. “I am a nurse. I love my patients and I have morals,” she said.
3:56 p.m. – Shircliff asks if she had the same charges as Leonard. She says yes.
3:57 p.m. – She was told the State would offer he a plea before she offered her statement. She says yes. Hollingsworth objects and lawyers approach the judge’s bench.
3:58 p.m. – Shircliff says her lawyers told her the State would offer a plea. She says yes. This was before she gave her statement. She says she doesn’t remember. Shircliff said she just testified that was the case and it’s in her deposition.
3:59 p.m. – Shircliff says her attorney must have told the State some facts before she made a statement. She said that’s between her and her lawyer. Shircliff says that’s similar to in her job with her patients
4:00 p.m. – Shircliff says if she wants, she can tell the truth here. Hollingsworth objects and the lawyers meet at the judge’s bench.
4:02 p.m. – Shircliff says earlier today, she told the jury Leonard told her he took out the step-down regulator and put it somewhere nobody would find it.
4:03 p.m. – Shircliff says what he wants to know why that statement doesn’t appear in her statement to the State. She says she told them. Shircliff says she didn’t. “I’m telling the truth,” she says.
4:04 p.m. – Shircliff said her attorney directed her at almost every step during the statement. He never directed her to explain the most important part – about the regulator. “They didn’t ask me,” she says. Shirley says her attorney knew about that but didn’t ask her to say it.
4:06 p.m. – Shircliff asks her to tell the jury why it’s not in her initial statements. “I don’t know. I always tell the truth,” she says. Shircliff says they didn’t know until the first deposition they did with her.
4:07 p.m. – He asks her to explain why. “I know that’s the truth. I don’t know why I didn’t say it in the statement. Mark Leonard told me,” she said.
4:08 p.m. – Shircliff takes her to the night she got the phone call at the Hollywood Casino. They left and went to the school to check in Saturday night into Sunday morning. Monday, Shircliff says she called a doctor to get a prescription. Shirley says she didn’t. She did call a doctor but did not ask for a prescription. It was Dr. Vale (not spelled). Shircliff says the doctor would say she called and asked for Xanex. Hollingsworth objects and the lawyers meet at the judge’s bench.
4:10 p.m. – She did talk to the doctor that morning.
4:11 p.m. – When he interviewed her in the deposition, she did not mention this.
4:12 p.m. – Her friend Mary Berch gave her 2 Xanex the night of the explosion. “I was a wreck,” she said. She later went to the hospital to get Prozac, which she was prescribed.
4:13 p.m. – Shircliff asks if it was her knowledge that gasoline was going to cause the fire. She says no. Shircliff said in her deposition she said yes. She said then Leonard started the log lighter and the pilot light lit and it began to burn.
4:15 p.m. – Shircliff said the second weekend, she testified earlier that the pilot light wasn’t lit.
4:16 p.m. – In her deposition, she was asked if she knew how the fire was to be lit. She said no then.
4:17 p.m. – Shircliff says she has said multiple times that she does what Leonard tells her. She says yes. “He controlled everything.”
4:18 p.m. – Except for one thing, Shircliff says, the media interview. Shirley said she was left there and that he was running away because of his checkered past.
4:19 p.m. – She said Leonard’s attorney told her to do the interview.
4:20 p.m. – Shircliff shows Shirley a tape of the interview. She recognizes it and says that’s what it is. Shircliff asks that it be admitted into evidence. Judge says to approach and the lawyers meet at his bench.
4:39 p.m. – Jury re-enters the courtroom. Shircliff asks about her plea.
4:40 p.m. – Her plea offer requires her to admit that she was part of the conspiracy. Shircliff says she said today that she knew about it and didn’t stop it, which means she’s not admitting she was part of the conspiracy. She says she did three things: calling the hotel, putting the cat in the kennel and getting a babysitter for her daughter. She says, “Mark Leonard told me to do those things. I had no ability to say no.”
4:41 p.m. – Shircliff says her charges are suspendable. Theoretically, after all the trials are over, she will be sentenced anything from 0-50 years. She says yes. “Because you took a plea, you could get zero?” She says the judge will decide that.
4:43 p.m. – Shircliff says the State can make a recommendation on her behalf. She says yes. Shircliff asks where her daughter is. Shirley says she’s in North Carolina.
4:44 p.m. – Shircliff says the State has not had her plead guilty to any form of murder. She says that’s correct.
4:45 p.m. – Shircliff asks even though it was her house, her neighborhood, her decision to start a small fire. “Nobody was supposed to get hurt,” she says.
4:46 p.m. – Shircliff has no further questions. Hollingsworth redirects.
4:47 p.m. – On multiple occasions, Leonard told her it would be a small fire. If Leonard said what Hults said, that they were going to blow up the neighborhood, she would have objected.
4:48 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks her if she even knows what the step-down valve is. She begins to cry, saying she doesn’t know and that Leonard told her not to worry.
4:49 p.m. – In her statement to the State, the detective said they weren’t going to go over every single detail (Regarding why she didn’t talk about the valve in her statement).
4:50 p.m. – The statement she made to the State was 4 pages. Her deposition has two 250-page sections.
4:51 p.m. – Hollingsworth says this crime killed two people. She could face up to 50 years. She says yes.
4:52 p.m. – Shirley said she did the three things she mentioned before, but Mark Leonard made the plans. “He told everyone what they had to do. Nobody could say no to him.”
4:53 p.m. – Hollingsworth has no further questions. Shircliff re-cross examines.
4:54 p.m. – Shircliff asks if there was a factual basis. She says yes. He asks if the part about the gas regulator was in there. She says no. He asks how she could look the jury in the eye and say it’s not important in the overview. “Wouldn’t they want to know that fact.” Shirley replies, “Yes.”
4:56 p.m. – She told the jury that Glenn Hults told her they were going to blow up the neighborhood, but didn’t stop it. “I offered him everything,” Shirley said.
4:57 p.m. – Shircliff says she’s the only one who can validate these conversations. State objects and judge sustains it. Jurors provide questions to the judge for Shirley.
4:58 p.m. – Judge declines to ask the question. He asks for Shirley to be released and talks to the lawyers.
4:59 p.m. – Shirley leaves the courtroom, wearing chains and crying as she goes.
*END OF COURT FOR JUNE 1*
June 30, 2015
9:55 a.m. – Defense Attorney David Shircliff is talking to Judge John Marnocha about a text message allegedly sent from Mark Leonard at the casino to his sister about winning money.
9:56 a.m. – Judge says the person who is testifying will be in court under oath and subject to cross-examination
9:58 a.m. – The judge says we already heard testimony that Shirley and Leonard were at the casino around the time that the message was sent. It’s his sister and she had Leonard’s number programmed into her phone.
10:00 a.m. – Judge says this case is all about insurance fraud. A policy had been increased recently. He then allegedly sent a message to his sister saying he won a large amount of money at the casino. The jury can decide the believability of the witness.
10:01 a.m. – The court will allow the witness to testify.
10:36 a.m. – Judge re-enters the courtroom, followed by the jury.
10:37 a.m. – State calls Tammy Leonard-Durham to the witness stand. She is Mark Leonard’s brother. She identifies him for the court.
10:39 a.m. – Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson begins questioning and Defense Attorney David Shircliff asks if they can approach the judge’s bench.
10:40 a.m. – Robinson asks if she received a text message around 10 p.m. on the night of the explosion. She said yes and that it came under his contact information in her phone. She has received messages from him in the past. He said he was at the casino and he said he won a large amount of money. He wanted to send a limo to pick up her and her boyfriend. She said no because she had her kids.
10:41 a.m. – Not long after, she changed her mind and texted him back telling him to send the limo. They said they might be going in a jet to Las Vegas with a doctor they had met. That was the extent of the conversation.
10:42 a.m. – Leonard-Durham gave a statement to police, which was recorded. $250,000 was the amount Leonard said he had won.
10:44 a.m. – Leonard-Durham and her boyfriend went to go get some food. She knew Monserrate Shirley and had been to the home before.
10:45 a.m. – They finished up eating and they felt a big boom. The restaurant was about a mile away from Shirley’s home. She said there was white stuff falling from the sky and someone thought it was the end of the world.
10:46 a.m. – When she was at the Shirley home, she saw a Cadillac in the garage but it was drivable. The rims were destroyed from being ridden on. She also saw a motorcycle in there but doesn’t remember its condition.
10:47 a.m. – Robinson asks her how Leonard acted toward Shirley. Defense objects and the lawyers meet at the judge’s bench.
10:49 a.m. – Robinson asks if Mark acted loving towards her. She says no. Monserrate Shirley was “overly in love with him,” she said. No more questions from Robinson.
10:50 a.m. – Shircliff asks if she had her phone while she was being questioned by police. She said she did. The police never asked to have the message forwarded to them or took a photo of it. She says no, but she has memory of it. She says, “That’s why I’m forced to be here today, trust me I don’t want to be here.”
10:52 a.m. – Shircliff says while she was at the home, Shirley was providing medication for Leonard. She says she knew Shirley was taking care of him. She is then released from questioning.
10:54 a.m. – Agent Robert Fuller, with the Indiana Gaming Commission takes the witness stand.
10:58 a.m. – He was asked to see if Mark Leonard and Monserrate Shirley stayed at the casino. He says they found out that they did stay at the casino for a time.
11:00 a.m. – Fuller is released. State calls Bret Bastable to the stand. He is also a gaming agent with IGC. Fuller is his supervisor.
*Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry enters the courtroom and sits in the gallery.
11:01 a.m. – He received a call from Fuller to retrieve information from the casino on November 10 and document what they were doing there.
11:02 a.m. – If they use a player’s card, which keeps track of how much is spent, it is easier to figure out what people were doing when.
11:04 a.m. – He has access to the casino systems. There are many cameras running 24 hours a day.
*Left courtroom briefly*
11:10 a.m. – Bastable said for the most part Leonard and Shirley sat in the same area of the casino. Shirley played a slot machine for a while and Leonard went to get Tylenol. They were there for about 12 hours. Leonard played blackjack. He actually lost about $100 instead of winning $250,000
11:16 a.m. – Mark Leonard’s betting records from his trip are admitted into evidence. He bought in for $100, lost it in nine minutes. The jury receives a copy of the record for their binder.
11:20 a.m. – A category in the records says “actual wins.” He says that’s from the casino’s perspective—the casino won $100. The jury laughs.
11:21 a.m. – If a player didn’t use a player card it woudn’t be tracked in their system, but he never saw Leonard do that.
11:23 a.m. – Prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth asks if he knows if Shirley received a call that night. Defense objects. Hollingsworth has no further questions. Shircliff begins cross-examination.
11:24 a.m. – He asks if there is an online system that he could gamble remotely because the times are wrong. Shircliff read the time and date incorrectly and ends questioning. Bastable is excused.
11:27 a.m. – State calls David John to the witness stand. He is a surveillance manager of the Hollywood Casino.
11:28 a.m. – Everything except the restrooms are covered by cameras in the casino – 24/7.
11:29 a.m. – Video would typically be preserved for 7 days and then stored. The system has a GPS unit that stamps the date and time on the coverage.
11:30 a.m. – It’s not unusual to have IGC agents ask him for video.
11:32 a.m. – On November 10, 2012, he was asked to pull video. The people the IGC agent were located. He was asked to to pull all video from their stay. He reviewed 12 hours of video. He put the clips together into a single piece.
11:33 a.m. – A record of the cameras that were used and the times that were clipped are admitted into evidence.
11:36 a.m. – One camera was only able to get a few frames, so a still shot was used in that case. It was put on a separate CD.
11:38 a.m. – A condensed version of the video he made is admitted into evidence, as well as a version playable for the court.
11:41 a.m. – The video is played for the courtroom. Leonard and Shirley can be seen entering the property at 12:27 p.m. They walk through the hallways and enter the casino floor. Several different angles of the same shot is shown.
11:46 p.m. – At one point they stop at a kiosk to check the player points on their cards.
11:48 a.m. – They continue to move through the casino until they sit down at a blackjack table.
11:52 a.m. – Leonard is seen doing a $100 buy in. Shirley is not playing. She’s watching.
11:57 a.m. – While they are at the table, the dealer changes.
11:59 a.m. – They skip ahead in the video. Shirley and Leonard enter the slot machine room and move through it. They move into the high limit section and sit at a closed table with no dealer. An employee comes up and talks to them. Then they get up and walk back out of the room.
12:04 p.m. – The camera switches to a bar in the casino. Leonard and Shirley come in and sit at the bar at 11:45 p.m.. For the rest of the night they remained here. Shirley walks away to talk on the phone and wanders around a bit.
12:07 p.m. – They skip the tape ahead again and Shirley and Leonard are together again. They get up and head toward the exit. This is at 11:56 p.m.
12:11 p.m. – They go to the hotel valet at 12:01 a.m. Shirley still has her hand up to her ear, indicating she may still be on the phone.
12:13 p.m. – They get in the car and leave.
12:15 p.m. – Hollingsworth has no further question and defense does not cross-examine. John is excused.
1:22 p.m. – Judge re-enters the courtroom, followed by the jury.
1:23 p.m. – State calls Avi Morris to the witness stand. She is a database marketing manager for Hollywood Casino.
1:24 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks about the records kept on players. She says when a customer uses their player card, the system records their winnings, losses, and other data.
1:26 p.m. – If a player card is used at different machines at the casino, a separate record of each is recorded.
1:27 p.m. – Shircliff asks to approach judge’s bench. Defense and prosecution meet there with him.
1:32 p.m. – On November 10, 2012, there is a record for Mark Leonard. Hollingsworth asks what games he played and Shircliff objects. They again meet at the judge’s bench.
1:34 p.m. – After being asked again, she says there was a blackjack record for 575 seconds in Mark Leonard’s name. A $100 loss for the patron was recorded.
1:35 p.m. – Some food was given complimentary, but a room was denied. She said rooms are typically denied when a customer has not played enough.
1:36 p.m. – No more questions from Hollingsworth and defense does not cross-examine. Shircliff asks jokingly how much you have to lose to get a free room. She says it depends. She is then excused.
1:37 p.m. – State calls Derrick Collins to the witness stand. He is the hotel manager for the Hollywood Casino.
1:38 p.m. – They keep records of guest reservations or bookings. He provided the state with records of Mark Leonard’s information. Lawyers speak with judge again.
1:43 p.m. – Mark Leonard has records of staying at the hotel for three consecutive weekends before the blast. Leonard did not stay on the night of November 10, 2012. Hollingsworth ends questioning and Shircliff does not cross-examine.
1:44 p.m. – A juror submits a question for the witness. Lawyers meet to discuss if it should be asked. Collins is asked if he is looking at dates that reservations were made or when they checked in. He does not have the dates that the reservations were made. He has no way of knowing when the reservations were called in.
1:47 p.m. – Collins is excused.
1:48 p.m. – State calls Ashley Stuckey to the witness stand. She is the hospital manager of VCA Surgargrove Animal Hospital in Greenwood, Ind.
1:50 p.m. – She runs the administrative side of the hospital with the medical director. Her duties include having access to all records.
1:51 p.m. – In October 2012, a Moncy Shirley arranged for a cat, Snowball, to stay there.
1:54 p.m. – The records are admitted into evidence.
1:56 p.m. – The records show that Snowball was there from October 26-29, 2012. No further questions and no cross-examination. Stuckey is excused.
1:57 p.m. – State calls Katherine Tilson to the witness stand. She is the owner of Arbor Lane Kennels on the south east side of Indianapolis. They provide boarding and grooming for dogs and cats.
1:58 p.m. – In 2012, she was asked to pull records for a cat named Snowball. The records are admitted into evidence.
2:01 p.m. – She believes Snowball was to be boarded from November 3-5, 2012. There was no availability for grooming. This was a first-time visit. She had made a reservation.
2:02 p.m. – After the explosion, she wanted a receipt. Robinson ends questioning.
2:04 p.m. – Shircliff asks if the reservation was just made for boarding. Tilson says yes. He asks if he has heard from her since. She says no. He has no more questions and Tilson is excused.
2:06 p.m. – Jordon Coffey is called to the witness stand. He is the general manager of Barkafeller’s on the south side of Indianapolis.
2:07 a.m. – They require reservations and a deposit. They see a lot more dogs than cats.
2:08 p.m. – In 2012, law enforcement officers came and asked for specific records related to Snowball.
2:11 p.m. – The records are admitted into evidence. The jury receives a copy.
2:13 p.m. – The records show the reservation for Snowball was made for November 9-12, 2012. Whoever drops the animal off must sign. If someone else might pick up the animal, that name is listed.
2:14 p.m. – Mark Leonard dropped off the cat, and Shirley was listed as an additional person that could pick up the cat.
2:15 p.m. – Snowball ended up staying for longer than expected. The cat was picked up on the 15th. Robinson ends questioning and defense does not cross-examine. Coffey is excused.
2:17 p.m. – State calls Mary Rose-Weston to the stand. She is a self-employed realtor. She listed the Shirley residence at one point.
2:19 p.m. – She typically goes into the home to take photos and prepare a listing. She did so in this case. Photos from the listing are admitted into evidence.
2:23 p.m. – Typically this type of listing would be a short sale – where they work with the seller’s lender to take less than the property is worth. A lender or bank has to approve the sale.
2:24 p.m. – She was certain it wouldn’t sell for enough to cover the expenses plus the 2 mortgages on the home.
2:25 p.m. – The home was listed on March 19, 2011. The listing would carry through March 19, 2012. The home was not sold during that time period. An offer had been received but Shirley decided to withdraw the listing.
2:26 p.m. – The offer was received November 12, 2011.
2:27 p.m. – Shirley signed a form to be released from the listing on December 14 and the home was taken off the market. No more questions from Robinson.
2:28 p.m. – Shircliff asks if at the time she was specializing in short sales. She says yes. He clarifies that it’s for someone basically in financial trouble. She says yes.
2:29 p.m. – They start at a certain price, and there is a schedule to change the price as the listing goes on.
2:30 p.m. – Initially Shirley accepted the offer, and then withdrew before the bank accepted.
2:31 p.m. – If the offer went through, she would not have owed the bank any more. No further questions and Rose-Weston is excused.
2:56 p.m. – Judge re-enters the courtroom, followed by the jury.
2:57 p.m. – State calls Alan Strange to the witness stand. He is a forensic auditor for ATF. He recreates the financial conditions of criminal investigations.
2:59 p.m. – He was asked to look at the financial conditions of Leonard and Shirley leading up to the date of the explosion.
3:00 p.m. – Some records were obtained in search warrants. He also looks at bank accounts and credit card statements.
3:02 p.m. – Records he obtained from the bankruptcy trustee are admitted into evidence. Monserrate and John Shirley had filed for bankruptcy.
3:03 p.m. – The divorce decree is also admitted, along with a subpoena for records from Capitol One and other subpoenas.
3:09 p.m. – Defense reviews all the documents and asks to approach the bench.
3:12 p.m. – Strange prepared a report of the records and his findings. The report is admitted into evidence and the jurors receive a copy.
3:16 p.m. – There is an introductory part of the report explaining his role and why he was asked to perform this task.
3:17 p.m. – He discovered that Leonard owned Mastercraft Restoration, L.L.C. Next is the insurance information. Defense asks to approach the judge’s bench.
3:22 p.m. – Judge says something needs to be removed from what the jury received for their binders. 10-minute break while he “deals with something.”
3:55 p.m. – Judge re-enters the room, followed by the jury.
3:56 p.m. – Robinson returns to talking about the report with Strange. The report mentions vehicles, televisions and more.
3:57 p.m. – Documents at the end talk about the real estate listing from 2011. He also obtained information from subscription databases.
3:58 p.m. – His conclusion was that throughout 2012 leading up to explosion, both Shirley and Leonard were experiencing financial difficulties. They had a joint checking account and Leonard had an account for his business. Money flowed between these accounts frequently. “As if what was hers was his and what was his was hers,” Strange said.
4:00 p.m. – The bankruptcy was dismissed because Shirley did not comply with the agreement – she did not make the payments.
4:01 p.m. – In terms of the debts, it goes back to as if the bankruptcy petition was never filed to begin with. Strange also did a cash flow analysis. It appeared that they were just putting enough money in the account to survive. “They were living paycheck to paycheck,” said Strange.
4:02 p.m. – Strange said there was a large period of time that the business was making no money. Part of this was due to the 3-4 month period Leonard was ill, then recovering.
4:03 p.m. – 6 deposits were made through the year for the company totaling around $40,000. The money was spent as soon as it came in.
4:04 p.m. – Mortgage records for 2011 and 2012 showed him that the mortgage payments were often late, sometimes by as much as 3 months. By November 2012, they were just catching up.
4:05 p.m. – 3 civil judgments against Mark Leonard were also discovered.
4:07 p.m. – The bankruptcy petition was filed with assists and liabilities.
4:08 p.m. – John and Monserrate Shirley filed for bankruptcy in November 2007. Following the divorce, Monserrate was responsible for making payments to the Chapter 13 payments. She was given sole ownership of the residence. John signed the house over to her.
4:10 p.m. – Strange said for the ‘banking activity” section of his report, Shirley and Leonard had a $1,000 line of credit associated with personal checking account. There were also several cash advances at casinos and debit card purchases at casinos.
4:12 p.m. – Strange concluded that they were under financial stress.
4:13 p.m. – $5,000 was paid to Shirley from State Farm a couple of days after the explosion. The community got together and donated that money to them.
4:15 p.m. – Taking the picture of the whole, he says gambling is just a factor of the overall stress, especially when gambling with money from a credit line.
4:16 p.m. – Shirley and Leonard went to casinos on 14 separate occasions over 2011 and 2012 — French Lick and Hollywood Casino.
4:17 p.m. – They had player’s cards at those casinos. Sometimes Leonard won money, other times he lost money.
4:19 p.m. – A payment Shirley made in January went toward an October mortgage payment.
4:20 p.m. – A second mortgage was taken on the home. The payments were generally current, sometimes they overdrew to make payments.
4:21 p.m. – Strange also looked up consumer credit reports for Leonard and Shirley. There were 14 adverse accounts, which arise when there are late payments or the accounts are in collection status. Leonard owed about $77,000 from the 3 civil suits and $60,920 from the accounts.
4:23 p.m. Shirley had 14 adverse accounts totaling $173,684.
4:24 p.m. – No more questions from Robinson. Shircliff cross-examines.
4:26 p.m. – Shirley owed over 200,000 from the mortgages and was trying to pay off $91,000 bankruptcy. Leonard did not have these debts.
4:28 p.m. – Shircliff asks no further questions. Strange is excused.
*END OF COURT FOR JUNE 30*
June 29, 2015
10:20 a.m. – Media enters the courtroom.
10:34 a.m. – Judge John Marnocha enters the courtroom. He tells defense that they cannot talk about possible affair with doctor and alleged “hush money” given to her. Defense says she was blackmailing the doctor and it would show she has free will and can indeed manipulate people. Judge says it will not be admitted.
10:40 a.m. – Jury enters the courtroom.
10:41 a.m. – State calls Indianapolis Fire Department Lt. Mario Garza to the witness stand. He was the lead investigator for this case.
10:43 a.m. – Judge asks to talk with lawyers at his bench.
10:44 a.m. – Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson asks him what he does after the collection of evidence.
10:45 a.m. – Garza said he looks over the evidence and formulates a hypothesis.
10:46 a.m. – He explains that they were able to disprove some hypotheses at the scene. It wasn’t a plane crash because there was no evidence of a plane. He heard firefighters talk about a possible meth lab. That was disregarded because there were no chemicals used to create the drug. Weather was also ruled out.
10:48 a.m. – The possibility of a gas leak on the jurisdictional side wasn’t ruled out until later in the investigation.
10:49 a.m. – He could tell the Shirley home was the center of the explosion due to the explosion pattern.
10:50 a.m. – He formed a final hypothesis and prepared an origin and cause report.
10:52 a.m. – Photos from Garza’s report are offered into evidence. Defense asks to approach the judge’s bench.
10:56 a.m. – A few of the photos were not admitted. The others are shown on a projector.
10:58 a.m. – The first photo shows a Google Maps image of the neighborhood. Robinson points out that the houses are close to each other.
10:59 a.m. – A photo of the Shirley home is displayed, showing how close it was to the homes on either side.
11:00 a.m. – In his report, Garza can look at the evidence in various ways: Physical experimentation, using similar data from another situation, or analytically.
11:01 a.m. – A photo of the living room of the Shirley home is shown. Robinson asks if there was a parallel police investigation. He says yes, but they were not involved with each other. At some point he began to become privy to information in the police investigation.
11:02 a.m. – He wrote the origin and cause report nearly a year after the fact. The police had filed charges by that point.
11:03 a.m. – Garza wanted to see photos before the blast so he could see how everything was laid out. He also wanted to see if he could find items in the debris.
11:04 a.m. – Garza said he saw a lot of remote controls in the debris, but not any TVs. There were computers in the debris along with house furniture.
11:06 a.m. – Robinson asks if the evidence he found and what witnesses told him lead him to believe it was a natural gas explosion. He says yes.
11:07 a.m. – A photo of a Bobcat is shown with evidence inside. Garza said the items were not scooped – they were placed there by hand.
11:09 a.m. – Garza says investigators looked in every hard and looked on top of every roof.
11:11 a.m. – Garza said after it was determined it was a natural gas explosion, the furnace, water heater, and fireplace were possible ignition sources.
11:12 a.m. – A photo of the furnace is shown. Garza said the gas lines to the manifold were still intact, along with the furnace components. It was ruled out as an ignition source.
11:14 a.m. – A photo of the water heater is shown. It had all of the lines attached. He said the damage done to is was due to the fire, but the item did not cause the fire. It was ruled out as an ignition source.
11:15 a.m. – A photo of the fireplace remains is shown. He said the CSST line was in intact, along with other piping.
11:16 a.m. – She asks if the fire triangle was present here. He said yes, but for an explosion you also need to be in that 5-15% gas flammability range.
11: 18 a.m. – Robinson asks if there will be leakage when natural gas is put into a home. He says yes. There’s no way to test for leakage here – the house is gone.
11:19 a.m. – Robinson brings up the NFPA 921 guidebook. She asks if it gives information about ignition sources. Garza says yes.
11:21 a.m. – In a natural gas explosion, you can infer that the correct elements were in place for that to happen.
11:22 a.m. – There is a big difference between finding no potential ignition sources and finding some. He says they found candles and several other potential ignition sources.
11:24 a.m. – Photos of the remains of the microwave are shown. It’s his opinion that there was an internal force inside the microwave that pushed energy outward. Basically, he says, there was an explosion inside of it.
11:25 a.m. – Garza said the manual for the microwave was found in the kitchen area, in one of the debris area.
11:26 a.m. – State offers more evidence to be admitted. Judge Marnocha calls the lawyers to his bench. The evidence is admitted and jurors receive a copy for their binders.
11:27 a.m.- A photo of the microwave manual is shown. One of the pages show that someone can delay the microwave to come on at a designated time.
11:30 a.m. – Three metal bottles were collected at the scene. One BLEVE-ed, the others did not.
11:31 a.m. – The gas manifold from the Shirley home is shown. All of the lines were open and the step down regulator was missing. It was replaced by some piping. He says it’s impossible for it to be an explosion, rearrange itself and come back with new parts. Some chuckles are heard in the courtroom and Leonard smiles.
11:33 a.m. – Garza was on the scene for about 20 days. Part of his job is to try and disprove his hypothesis.
11:35 a.m. – A photo of dirt being collected is shown. Garza explains that they take a scoop and break it down. He said it’s sort of like in the movies where they take cocaine and break it down into thin lines. Robinson said she’s glad he said, “like in the movies.”
11:37 a.m. – Garza says the guideline book allows for other agencies to assist with his investigation. He was always on site and under his supervision.
11:38 a.m. – The insurance investigators were certified and so were many others on the scene. He said there was always someone there who had the necessary expertise to answer a question anyone may have.
11:40 a.m. – A photo of a custom-made sifter is shown. More photos of the sifting process are displayed.
11:43 a.m. – The key to the Shirley fireplace was found in the sifting process. A photo of it is shown.
11:44 a.m. – Robinson says a few fireworks were found in the home. Garza said there were not very many. There were not enough fireworks to cause an explosion. They were also not the correct type.
11:48 a.m. – Photos of the log igniter from the Shirley home are shown. Everything related to the fireplace was discovered with the exception of the shutoff valve.
11:49 a.m. – Garza said he believes that the valve was removed before the explosion.
11:51 a.m. – Garza said an older mechanical thermostat with mercury could be a possible ignition source. They found one of those, along with a digital programmable thermostat. The programmable one can’t be an ignition source itself, but can tell the furnace to come on at a certain time, creating a possible source.
11:54 a.m. – Garza said the furnace couldn’t have been a source in this case because of the removal of the regulator. The furnace would not work as expected.
11:56 a.m. – Judge asks to speak with lawyers at his bench.
1:13 p.m. – Judge re-enters the courtroom, followed by the jury.
1:14 p.m. – Lt. Mario Garza returns to the witness stand.
1:15 p.m. – A copy of Garza’s origin and cause report is admitted into evidence. The jury also receives a copy for their binders.
1:19 p.m. – In the weather section, Robinson asks why it says, “see attached.” Garza says he always does a separate attachment and prints out a weather report from a website. He says weather was not a factor in this case.
1:20 p.m. – There are 4 categories he can use to rule a fire/explosion: Incendiary, accidental, natural and undetermined. This was ruled as incendiary, an intentional act.
1:22 p.m. – He includes reports from first responders in his origin and cause report because they typically they arrive before he did and he needs to know what happened – what doors were breached, what windows were broken, etc.
1:24 p.m. – On November 10, he noted the basic observations of what was going on at the scene. A general overview. On November 11, the same thing.
1:26 p.m. – His report shows when pieces of evidence were discovered and in what condition they were in.
1:28 p.m. – Robinson goes through his report, asking what he was doing each day, confirming his previous testimony.
1:38 p.m. – In the investigative section of the report, Garza notes his conclusions. There is a section for evidence and witness statements.
1:40 p.m. – He says Mark Duckworth told him he had a conversation with Leonard about the fireplace a week prior to the explosion. A second witness statement said Leonard and his brother were talking with a Citizens Gas employee at a bar about how much gas it would take to fill a home and asked about the regulator.
1:42 p.m. – Garza said nothing he found in the investigation disproved his hypothesis
1:43 p.m. – Final hypothesis: Gas was intentionally released into house, and the explosion was the cause of the two deaths.
1:44 p.m. – NFPA 921 2011 edition was available at the time. Just weeks after the explosion, the 2014 version came out.
1:46 p.m. – Defense attorney Diane Black asks to approach the judge. They meet at his bench.
1:49 p.m. – Changes in the versions included revised paragraphs and new sections. The 2014 version did not affect his report. Robinson ends questioning and Black cross-examines.
1:52 p.m. – Black asks if this was his first explosion case. He says yes.
1:53 p.m. – Black says many homes had debris. Garza says there was not debris from 8349 around the neighborhood. Black says there’s a lot of debris photos from the neighborhood. Within the origin area, there were literally thousands of pieces.
1:55 p.m. – She asks if he had to sort though the glass, bricks, wood, etc. He says yes. She asks if he was the one responsible for placing the red flags at the scene. He says yes but he was not along, it was a team effort.
1:56 p.m. – Black asks if the photos admitted into evidence here are the only ones. He says no. Garza believes several thousand photos were taken. Black says it was the State’s decision on what photos were used for the trial. He says yes.
1:58 p.m. – She asks if the report his is opinion. He says yes. There were others on the scene capable of producing an origin and cause report. She notes that this was a huge task that rested on his shoulder.
1:59 p.m. – He says his job as a fire investigator is to find the origin and cause of whatever is assigned to him. If it’s accidental equipment, they can fix that. If it’s a poor habit issue (leaving on iron, etc.) they can work with that person. If it’s intentional, they obviously need to know that too.
2:00 p.m. – Black says he had interaction with the residents. He said he had very little and probably couldn’t identify them.
2:01 p.m. – Black asks if he received information from other entities on the scene that went into his formation of his opinion. He says yes.
2:02 p.m. – She says that some data was received from other people and used in his report. He says yes and that it is typical.
2:03 p.m. – Black says the reason NFPA 921 is used is because it is reliable, and he wants his statements to be reliable. He says he supposes that’s true.
2:06 p.m. – She asks if the police rely on his results for their investigation. He says no, that’s a separate investigation. Garza said he doesn’t know if police used his results in their investigation.
2:07 p.m. – Black reviews the classifications for a fire/explosion again. She says he can’t pinpoint an exact ignition source. He says that’s correct, there were multiple potential ignition sources. Garza said he knows there had to be one, due to the house exploding.
2:10 p.m. – Initial potential ignition sources: Water heater (later ruled out), furnace, chafing dishes, incense, candles and any electronic device with a spark. She asks if static electricity can be a competent ignition source. He says yes but that’s stretching it.
2:13 p.m. – The microwave is also a competent ignition source. He cannot point to any one of these things and say 100% that it’s the ignition source.
2:14 p.m. – She goes back to the microwave. Said pieces were found and displayed in the courtroom. It’s the type that is built in above the stove. Garza says yes. She says the manual indicates the microwave has a 24-hour delay. Garza says yes.
2:16 p.m. – If the microwave had been put on a delay, she says it would have had to have been set Friday night. Garza says not necessarily, it just had to be within that 24-hour range. She asks if he’s aware Leonard was at the casino during that 24-hour period. He says yes.
2:17 p.m. – Black asks if any testing was done to the microwave. Garza says he didn’t feel it was necessary. Black says the microwave was sent to an ATF lab. Garza says yes.
2:18 p.m. – Bailiff gives Judge Marnocha a note and he asks to speak to the lawyers. Juror needs a break.
2:43 p.m. – Black asks Garza about the metal cylinders found at the scene. One was BLEVE-ed, another was damaged and the third was the least damaged.
2:45 p.m. – She asks if the cylinder with the most damage was sent to the ATF lab in Maryland. He said he’s not sure. She asks if he’s aware of any report or chemical testing was done. He says it was sent to their lab.
2:48 p.m. – Black asks if it’s best to come to a scene where nothing was moved. Garza says yes. She says for the first 7 or so hours, the scene was focused on fire suppression and saving lives. Garza says yes but they were focused on the surrounding houses, not the Shirley home.
2:49 p.m. – Garza says the hoses were not dragged over the area of the Shirley house.
2:50 p.m. – In the very beginning hours, Black asks if his focus was on preserving evidence and taking photos. He says no.
2:51 p.m. – Black asks about where the microwave was found. Garza says the majority of it was found at the Shirley residence. Some of the pieces were moved when they went to search for another possible person. He noted it in his report but did not take a photo. They believed a child might have still been trapped (Turned out not to be the case).
2:53 p.m. – Black asks if the report was finalized about a year after the incident. He says yes.
2:55 p.m. – He used the data of the blast pattern, saw the regulator was removed and replaced with pipe, saw the valve was missing from the wall.
2:57 p.m. – She brings up Sullivan’s report that used the wrong type of piping and wrong orifice hole. Garza says the origin and cause was not affected by that report.
2:58 p.m. – Black brings up the witness report of a white van around 2:30 p.m. at the Shirley residence. Garza says while that was considered, it doesn’t change the facts: the house filled with gas, there was an ignition source, and the house exploded.
2:59 p.m. – There were other witness reports that he didn’t include in his report. One woman heard a hissing sound, but he said that’s a normal function and sound to observe.
3:00 p.m. – In the Citizens Energy video, a hissing sound is used. That witness was not asked to listen to the sound in that video. Garza said it didn’t occur to him.
3:02 p.m. – Other neighbors talked about smelling gas. He says he’s been a firefighter for many years, and people think they smell gas all the time.
3:03 p.m. – Black asks about the core samples and gasoline being found in the living room and garage. He knew that information by December 2012, but it’s not in his origin and cause report. He says this was because he did not see it himself. Black said he could’ve amended his report but didn’t. He says yes, because it wasn’t going to change his report.
3:06 p.m. – She asks if it’s fair to say people think gasoline is used to burn things. Garza says yes.
3:07 p.m. – Black asks about the Maxitrol regulator and union fitting. Garza says anyone can buy a union fitting but only certified people can go buy a regulator.
3:08 p.m. – Black asks if he knows if anyone went around to hardware stores to ask if Leonard bought a union fitting. He says no, but it wouldn’t be unusual to have some around the home. Black ends cross-examination and Robinson begins redirect.
3:09 p.m. – Robinson said the white van was seen several times the day of the explosion. Garza says yes.
3:10 p.m. – Robinson says Leonard was at the casino that day, but other suspects were not. Garza says yes.
3:11 p.m. – Robinson asks if there would be a gas smell would be present with or without the regulator. He says not necessarily.
3:12 p.m. – Black asks to approach the judge’s bench. She and Robinson meet there.
3:13 p.m. – Robinson asks if the hissing sound in either event would prove or disprove his hypothesis. Garza says the regulator was still missing, the home filled with gas and the 2×4 attached to the missing gas valve should have been shattered.
3:14 p.m. – Robinson asks about the amount of gas that filled the home, Black objects and asks to approach judge. She and Robinson meet there with him.
3:15 p.m. – Garza says the 12,800 excess gas usage in the home was based on the meter being read.
3:16 p.m. – Robinson asks if she wanted to blow up her home, could she have used more than one ignition source. Garza says, “If you wanted to make sure the job got done, that’s probably what you’d do.”
3:17 p.m. – Robinson says while this house was obliterated, there was still substantial evidence collected. Garza says that’s correct. The manifold was found with the lines attached and the regulator was removed. The replacing of the regulator had to have been an intestinal act. Robinson ends questioning.
3:19 p.m. – Black asks if you could also use three or four ignition sources to light a fire as well. Garza says it’s possible but unlikely. Pumping natural gas into the situation implies more intent than just starting a fire.
3:21 p.m. – Juror asks question – If there is a logical reason to remove the gas valve. Garza says no, and it’s the only safety feature of the fireplace. He clarifies that the valve does not serve the same purpose as the regulator.
3:22 p.m. – Lt. Garza is excused from the witness stand.
3:23 p.m. – State calls Detective Sargent Jeff Wager to the stand. He is employed with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD). He has been a police officer since January 1986. He currently is a late shift (10:30 p.m. – 7 a.m.) homicide supervisor.
3:25 p.m. – Homicide detectives are assigned in a rotation. On November 10, 2012, he was working and next up in rotation. Just because homicide is called to a scene, it doesn’t mean a homicide has occurred. They investigate all deaths, and show up without knowledge that a crime has been committed.
3:27 p.m. – He and his partner were on the north side of Indianapolis when they learned of the possibility of two deceased people at the scene.
3:28 p.m. – Wager says death investigations are treated the same as homicides in the event that it might turn out to be criminal.
3:29 p.m. – He initially went to Mary Bryan and then went to Richmond Hill. Officers were directing traffic and let him in after identifying himself.
3:30 p.m. – He leared that two people were confirmed to be deceased. IMPD contacts the Coroner’s office to recover the bodies and take them to the morgue. He attended the autopsies in this case.
3:31 p.m. – Monserrate Shirley, Mark Leonard, Brooke Shirley and a cat were identified as the residents of the home. They were located and already spoken to.
3:32 p.m. – IMPD has a separate and distinct arson unit from IFD. ATF was also present.
3:33 p.m. – Shirley and Leonard were at the Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, IN. Brooke was at a babysitter’s with Glenn Hults. The cat, Snowball, was located at Barkafeller’s kennel.
3:35 p.m. – Robinson ends questioning. Defense doesn’t cross-examine.
3:36 p.m. – State calls Randall Cook to the stand. He is an IMPD officer, has been for 23 years. He was an officer with Indianapolis Police Department before the merger. (Prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth does the questioning.)
3:37 p.m. – In November 2012, he was in operations division as a backup arson investigator.
3:38 p.m. – He was watching the Notre Dame football game in his home when he felt the explosion, then his pager went off. He lives about 4-6 miles away.
3:39 p.m. – He had a feeling he would be needed. He was sent to Richmond Hill and entered the subdivision. He said there “was a lot of devastation.”
3:40 p.m. – He says there were so many people on the scene, he doesn’t quite remember who was in control. He was sent to Mary Bryan Elementary School to gather names and information about the residents.
3:41 p.m. – He spoke to Leonard and Shirley outside of the school in his police car around 3 a.m. The Marion County Sheriff directed them there. Wager identifies Leonard as sitting in the room, wearing a white shirt and blue tie. Leonard was in the passenger seat, Shirley was in the back passenger seat.
3:42 p.m. – Leonard was doing the talking while Shirley was crying.
3:44 p.m. – Leonard said they came from the Hollywood Casino after receiving phone calls from neighbors and family.
3:45 p.m. – Leonard said they smelled gas in the house a week or two before, and smelled it in the neighborhood. He indicated he has issues with the thermostat. They never said they knew what happened. The conversation was brief – he was just tasked to get identifying information. Leonard was not asked any questions, he was just talking.
3:47 p.m. – Hollingsworth has Cook identify Shirley’s and Leonard’s phone numbers from his notes. He ends questioning.
3:49 p.m. – Defense Attorney David Shircliff asks if they were directed to their car. Cook says yes. Leonard said there had been a plane crash – that’s what neighbors told him.
3:50 p.m. – They got out of the car and Cook didn’t talk to him again. Shircliff ends questioning, Cook is excused and Black asks to meet at the judge’s bench.
4:13 p.m. – Jury re-enters the courtroom.
4:14 p.m. – State calls Patrick Hand (not spelled for the court), Indianapolis ATF agent/Supervisor.
4:15 p.m. – He responded to the Richmond Hill scene on November 11 with a few other agents to do an overall assessment.
4:17 p.m. – They had to show ID to get to the area. The first day he was there, he didn’t assist in looking for evidence or clearing debris. He was later.
4:18 p.m. – He was aware that they were looking for a valve.
4:19 p.m. – He did not perform any interviews on the scene.
4:20 p.m. – ATF did not have the primary investigative role. Robinson ends questioning and defense does not cross-examine. Hand is excused.
4:21 p.m. – State calls Dan Shirley to the witness stand. He is an ATF special agent. Has been there since January 1999. In November 2012, he was called to the scene of the explosion.
4:22 p.m. He was not involved in evidence collection. He assisted in gathering statements from witnesses.
4:23 p.m. – He knew a contact with the gaming commission, and obtained a phone number for someone at the Hollywood Casino.
4:24 p.m. – He was involved with serving a search warrant at Bab Leonard’s trailer. He did not collect evidence but is aware evidence was collected. Shircliff objects and asks to approach the judge’s bench.
4:25 p.m. – He was present and observed the items in the trailer. He saw a set of golf clubs being removed. Robinson ends questioning and Shircliff cross-examines.
4:26 p.m. – Shircliff asks if he interviewed Glenn Hults. He says yes. The last action he has taken in this case was 5 months ago when he assisted in an interview at IMPD headquarters with Glenn Hults and Kerry Thompson. Shircliff ends questioning. Dan Shirley is excused.
4:28 p.m. – Lawyers approach judge’s bench.
4:31 p.m. – State calls Travis Bell to the witness stand. He is the disc jockey at the Hollywood Casino, located in Lawrenceburg, IN. It’s a riverboat casino. There is a dance club and bands perform.
4:33 p.m. – Normally he is the 70s DJ. Sometimes he plays in the casino with video in addition to the music.
4:34 p.m. – Bell did know Bob Leonard, but not Mark. Because of his profession, sometimes people recognize him that he doesn’t recognize.
4:35 p.m. – He still lives on the south side of Indianapolis and makes the 100+ mile one way trip every day because he loves his job. The night of the explosion, he was working in the room that plays to the casino.
4:36 p.m. – He has done that specific job less than 10 times in 6 years. Typically he works another room. There was an Elvis impersonator there that night.
4:37 p.m. – Bell took the stage around 8 p.m. that evening. Bell said one of the bartenders was frantically trying to get his attention. This was the first time a bartender got up on stage with him. The bartender, Brian, got up there with a note on a napkin.
4:39 p.m. – Napkin said, “It’s our anniversary, could you announce it?”
4:40 p.m. – Brian came up a second time, saying this guy really wanted to talk to you. Bell put on a long song so he could figure out what was going on. The two guests were Mark Leonard and Monserrate Shirley.
4:41 p.m. – Bell got back on stage and put on another song. At some point he did announce that it was their anniversary. He identifies Mark Leonard as being in the courtroom.
4:42 p.m. – He said Leonard was doing most of the talking, but did shake hands with Shirley. They remained at the bar for at least until 10 p.m.
4:43 p.m. – Bell said he learned of the explosion through a friend. The friend initially told him a plane crash happened near his home. Bell lives within 4 miles of Richmond Hill.
4:44 p.m. – He did not see Leonard and Shirley leave the bar. He later relayed this information to law enforcement after he saw Shirley and Leonard’s photos on the news.
4:45 p.m. – He told a local news reporter about it first, who told him he should contact police. The next day he contacted the detective involved in the case, Jeff Wager, who previously testified.
4:47 p.m. – He said he did not notice Shirley or Leonard trying to get his attention prior to the bartender’s message. If not for that, he wouldn’t have left the stage. Hollingsworth ends questioning and Shircliff begins cross-examination.
4:48 p.m. – Shircliff asks if he did not see them leave that evening. He says that’s correct. No more questions. Bell is excused.
*END OF COURT FOR JUNE 29*
June 25, 2015
9:00 a.m. – Media enters courtroom.
9:10 a.m. – Judge John Marnocha enters the courtroom. He says the defense filed a motion for mistrial and the State filed a response. Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson says it wasn’t necessarily a response to that motion.
9:11 a.m. – She says Dr. Sheppard won’t be called as a witness. Defense Attorney Diane Black still intends to provide information for mistrial.
9:13 a.m. – She quotes a law school review article (paraphrased) “A prosecutor s courtroom conduct. An attorney serves an adversarial role and quazi-judicial role. They have a constitutional and ethical duty not just to seek a conviction, but justice. They have a duty to seek the truth. The prosecutor’s obligation under due process to not use false evidence or suppress evidence. The prosecutor has a virtual monopoly on the evidence. “
9:15 a.m. – She says she’ll provide the quote to the judge. He says he’s well aware of it. A PowerPoint is presented. She says any person has a right to due process through constitutional grantees.
9:16 a.m. – She says the judge is the guardian of these legal rights. Black says she believes the prosecution has misled the defense.
9:17 a.m. – She says Robinson met with Citizens Energy as early as May 27 about making the two videos. Sometime after May 19, the videos are made. Around May 27 the State did contact Dr. Shepperd. Paul Puckett from Citizens Energy said it was created within 30 days of the timestamp. The judge says he has already made a ruling on this matter. Black says she’s not asking for a new ruling.
9:19 a.m. – Black says they know by the 27th that there are issues. They knew before the final pre-trial conference. Sometime around May 27 Robinson stated she knew there was something wrong. Black says she should have notified them immediately, but waited until June 12.
9:21 a.m. – She says they had to do cross-examinations on witnesses without the final report. She brings up Dr. Sheppard’s report. Black says the State failed to notify anyone of the errors.
9:22 a.m. – Black says Dr. Shepperd failed to use a pressure correction for the time it took to fill the home with gas. He had to file an amended report. Shepperd said in his report, “this is a very big deal.” First time ATF fire lab had to file an amended report.
9:23 a.m. – The corrected report was released on June 19, 2015. What’s not reported in the timeline/reprort is that Dr. Shepperd didn’t account for leakage.
9:24 a.m. – There is a substantial time difference in the reports as to when the house could have exploded. Puckett’s video directly mimics the new timeframe from the amended report. The video showed a house reconstruction filling up with gas. Holes are poked in the roof to account for leakage.
9:25 a.m. – She says the State had this evidence manufactured knowing the new information.
9:26 a.m. – She says Robinson had difficulty reconciling the two reports, so she consulted experts. They still don’t know how long exactly Robinson was aware of the new analysis, but it’s clear she knew due to the videos.
9:27 a.m. – Black says this video was not made for training. Puckett said in testimony that the video was made specifically for the trial. The video mirrors the new calculations.
9:29 a.m. – Black talks about the resulting prejudice to Mark Leonard. She says the State has the duty to not mislead the court and defense. She says the State manufactured evidence to obtain a life without parole conviction.
9:30 a.m. – It takes weeks to run computer modeling. The defense’s expert had no reason to think Dr. Sheppard would make such a mistake.
9:31 a.m. – Even if Sheppard doesn’t testify, their expert is still unable to testify with false data. All of the time and money spent on him is out the window.
9:32 a.m. – Defense has spent 2.5 years preparing for this case. Now they’re asked in 24 hours what they’re new trial strategy is. She says opening statements would have been different. The explanation of the ignition source could have been different. She says they don’t know all the ramifications at this time.
9:34 a.m. – She says cross-examination would have also changed if they knew this information. “The defense should not be under the gun. It should be the State.”
9:35 a.m. – Black says this case heavily relies on science, and the science was wrong. She says they can’t recover and their client can’t receive a fair trial. They want a mistrial due to prosecution’s misconduct. Black sits down.
9:36 a.m. – Robinson says the motion for mistrial is full of lies. On May 27 she says she did not know anything was wrong. As you get ready for a trial, you start meeting with witnesses and you get final exhibits ready. That’s what she was doing in May. She didn’t keep a diary of what she was doing.
9:37 a.m. – Sometime in mid-May she met with Citizens Energy. As they discussed the flammability range, which cannot be fabricated, she asked if there was a way to demonstrate this. That’s why the video was made.
9:38 a.m. – The playable DVD was made on the time-stamped date. She says there is no correlation between the video and Sheppard’s testimony as the defense alleges.
9:39 a.m. – She says the video just shows the flammability level of natural gas. She said the State also prepared for this case for years. She followed up on something she saw in a report that she couldn’t reconcile. They didn’t know at that point if there was an issue.
9:41 a.m. – She was copied on an email that said something may need to be done. There was no mention of an error in the report. Robinson says the defense alleges the emails were edited. She says this is not the case.
9:42 a.m. – She says again that there is no correlation with the video and Sheppard’s testimony. She says the bottom line is that Sheppard’s new report didn’t affect the process.
9:44 a.m. – Robinson said they can’t know how much leakage there might have been. No one can ever know the exact amount of gas in the home. The 5-15% flammability range is natural law and not manufactured.
9:45 a.m. – She says it’s a lie that the video reconstructs Sheppard’s new report. “Nobody pokes holes in the roof of a real house with a pencil. Nothing fell from the sky and produced holes.”
9:46 a.m. – Robinson said there’s no upper hand the State possesses here.
9:48 a.m. – She says she did what she should have done in this situation. “I’ve been doing this since 1992. I don’t need to hear from defense council what the role of a prosecutor is.”
9:49 a.m. – She says the State did nothing unethical in this case. The science hasn’t changed, and the testimony isn’t compromised. What has changed is a corrective factor.
9:51 a.m. – She says Sheppard’s report is a minor part of this case. They know the house filled with natural gas and blew up around 11 p.m. The adjusted timeframe doesn’t change the day it happened.
9:52 a.m. – Robinson said there’s no validity to the defense’s claims. She says they did what they’re supposed to do, and they did it with due diligence. “The fact is there is no discovery or ethical violation.”
9:53 a.m. – She says the proper action to take was to remove Sheppard as a witness, which they have done. “This motion is based on assumptions by the defense, not fact.” Robinson sits down.
9:54 a.m. – Black says the video is marked as a demonstrative exhibit. There is no “original” video like there are for others used in this case.
9:55 a.m. – She says the burden is on the State, not them. Black sits down.
9:56 a.m. – Judge says his analysis is now more complicated due to the State’s removal of the witness. He said he didn’t find an exact legal precedent for this situation. There are cases that list similar factors though.
9:57 a.m. – He says this is not an evidentiary harpoon case. It is not clearly prejudicial.
9:58 a.m. – He says the issue of exclusion is moot since Sheppard will not be a witness.
9:59 a.m. – Judge says a mistrial should be a last resort. He believes the State has already excluded the evidence by withdrawing Sheppard. The jury never saw this evidence.
10:02 a.m. – He says he’s not going to review the Puckett video. He already ruled on it. The video was only demonstrative of the flammability of gas at a certain level.
10:03 a.m. – He says it demonstrated the type of training given, even if that exact video hasn’t been around for 30 years.
10:04 a.m. – On May 27, Robinson looked at the spreadsheet and thought there might be an issue. Their expert consults with Sheppard, who suggested amendments may be needed.
10:06 a.m. – Judge says June 1 was the first time there was concrete knowledge of a possible error, but tests had not yet been redone.
10:07 a.m. – June 12 was the first time an actual error was confirmed to the State, who provided it to the defense. On June 15 the judge found out.
10:09 a.m. – He both agrees and disagrees with Black. He agrees that the case is complicated by a large number of exhibits and witnesses. He says he doesn’t agree that the case’s facts are complex. There was an explosion, and property damage as a result. There will be evidence that connects Mark Leonard to the explosion.
10:10 a.m. – He says this is not the usual situation for a mistrial.
10:11 a.m. – He cannot say there was any deliberate suppression of evidence by the State in this case. The error was caught, and the expert was notified. Once there was solid confirmation of a mistake, defense was notified.
10:13 a.m. – He says there would have been a discovery violation if the State didn’t disclose the error. Once they were sure there was an error, they did disclose it.
10:15 a.m. – He says the State doesn’t have to advise defense if there might be an error. Only when there definitely is an error. They did this.
10:16 a.m. – Judge says there was no prosecutorial misconduct or discovery violation. The timeline indicates to him that there was discovery compliance.
10:17 a.m. – At this time, he says he cannot say that anything said today indicates Leonard has been placed in peril.
10:18 a.m. – He says he hasn’t heard evidence of Leonard’s guilt at this point. When he does, he may reconsider.
10:19 a.m. – Defense’s motion for mistrial is denied.
10:39 a.m. – Judge Marnocha re-enters the courtroom. Black moves for a continuance. Judge denies the motion.
10:41 a.m. – Jury enters the courtroom.
10:45 a.m. – State calls Michael Ray Putzek to the witness stand. He is employed with the Marion County Crime Lab.
10:46 a.m. – He is trained in analyzing footwear, tire tracks, guns and ammunition, fractures, tool markings (such as tire slashing or broken padlocks).
10:48 a.m. – As a tool mark examiner, he examines if an item has tool marks and if the specific tool can be identified.
10:52 a.m. – He’s not always able to determine if a tool was used. It may not have any identifiable characteristics. Something might have been between the tool and the object.
10:54 a.m. – Tools can wear over time, hindering the process.
10:55 a.m. – November 16, 2012 was when he arrived at scene of explosion to retrieve a log lighter, black piping and attached fittings to look for tool marks. Item was obtained from Lisa Liebig.
10:56 a.m. – The item was taken back to his lab to be examined. He found some markings that he recognized and some that he didn’t. He researched online to see what tool might have been used.
10:57 a.m. – He saw an exemplar log lighter at a different house near the scene. That gave him an idea of what he was looking at and how it is normally installed.
10:58 a.m. – An installation manual for the log lighter is admitted into evidence.
11:00 a.m. – He confirmed via the manual the brand of the log lighter and the keys used to open and close the valves.
11:02 a.m. – As part of his job, he issues a formal report of his findings. He also takes notes during the examination. The evidence is also photographed.
11:05 a.m. – His notes and photos are admitted into evidence and displayed via projector.
11:06 a.m. – His report explains how he became aware of the case, how he went to the scene and retrieved the item, the chain of custody and how he returned to the scene.
11:10 a.m. – Robinson asked to have tool-marking analysis conducted. This is common for a prosecutor to request.
11:12 a.m. – Putzek said there are 3 ways to connect to this burner. 2 of the inlets were blocked.
11:14 a.m. – There were ruminants of pipe dough, typically used to prevent pipe leakage. There was nothing physically wrong with the lighter bar.
11:16 a.m. – No tool marks were discovered on the lighter bar portion of the log lighter. He then moved on to the pice that connects the lighter bar to the log lighter.
11:17 a.m. – He found tool markings on this piece.
11:18 p.m. – The next piece, 12 inches of black piping, was examined. Part of the pipefitting was loose. There were marks on this piece.
11:19 a.m. – An opposed jaw gripping tool was used. It impressed on the pipe, pressure was applied and it slipped.
11:20 a.m. – Putzek said he noted there was a partial paper tag on the pipe, which was in poor condition.
11:22 a.m. – There is a piece of metal over the pipe, which may have caused some of the markings. He does not know when the marks were placed.
11:23 a.m. – The next piece also had markings, but he wasn’t sure what this piece is or what it’s purpose is. It was not listed in the manual.
11:24 a.m. – The next piece also had tool marks form an opposed jaw tool or cutting tool.
11:25 a.m. – A half-inch fitting had marks on it. There was rust in the marks. The marks may be the result of installation.
11:27 a.m. – A 6 in. piece of gas pipe was looked at next. There are a lot of tool marks. There was also a partial barcode paper tag.
11:28 a.m. – Next is a 90 degree fitting. There are tool marks on this piece. There is rust and corrosion.
11:30 a.m. – Next is an 8 in. piece of black pipe. No damage to joints or cracks in them. Next is another 90 degree fitting. There are rusty tool markings on this piece.
11:32 a.m. – The last piece, 5 in. of steel pipe, has a partial paper tag. There were tool marks on the pipe. It had rust in the markings. Several threads were missing. There was also a fractured spot with some twisting. The threads on the pipe were compressed. He can’t determine the cause of the fracture. It would take a large force to have broken the threads and leave the fracture.
11:35 a.m. – He says a large force had to have been applied.
11:37 a.m. – He also examined a gas manifold.
11:38 a.m. – Photos from his report and the actual report are admitted into evidence and shown via projector.
11:41 a.m. – Hollingsworth asks him to identify a similar manifold and if a certain piece was attached to the one he examined. He said it was not.
11:43 a.m. – He was looking for tool marks. There were three valves that were labeled as fireplace, furnace and water heater.
11:44 a.m. – All valves were in the open position, meaning gas could flow through them.
11:45 a.m. – One connection was tight, another was loose.
11:46 a.m. – Hollingsworth asks if the pieces were separate from the manifold. Putzek says yes.
11:49 a.m. – It had to be put together, but there were no tool marks. In order to prevent cross threading, you want to hand start the threading.
11:50 a.m. – A tool that’s used correctly may not leave a tool mark. It depends on the tool, the surface and the conditions.
11:51 a.m. – Putzek says he’s not sure how it might have become loose. Hollingsworth end questioning and Black cross-examines.
11:52 a.m. – Black asks if he can date tool marks. Putzek says not through forensic methods.
11:53 a.m. – Black says the log lighter comes in pieces and has to be assembled. Putzek says yes and says that tool markings can be made during assembly.
11:54 a.m. – Black ends cross-examination.
11:56 a.m. – Putzek is excused.
12:16 p.m. – Judge Marnocha re-enters the courtroom.
12:17 p.m. – Jury enters the courtroom. State calls Fred Hackett to the witness stand. He is employed with Midwest Forensic Services (MFS).
12:18 p.m. – He has been employed with them since 1995. He specializes in fires and explosions.
12:19 p.m. – He has been a part of approximately 10,000 fire and/or explosion investigations.
12:20 p.m. – MFS is a contractor of Cititzens Energy Group. Hackett was not in Indianapolis the night of the explosion.
12:21 p.m. – When there is a “code red” (potential explosion), Citizens puts a call out to certain agencies. MFS is one of those.
12:22 p.m. – He arrived in Indianapolis and responded to the scene. His role at such a scene is to assist in determining if the incident was the fault of the jurisdictional side (belonging to a utility company) or not.
12:24 p.m. – He said when he entered the subdivision, there was structural debris, insulation debris and more. He said it was a clear sign of an explosion.
12:25 p.m. – He said a perimeter had been set up and the scene was secure.
12:26 p.m. – Regardless of the size of the incident, his investigative process is the same.
12:29 p.m. – Photos of evidence that Hackett saw at the scene are admitted into evidence.
12:32 p.m. – A view of the subdivision from a helicopter is shown. Robinson said she sees a lot of damage and asks if Hackett sees anything in particular.
12:33 p.m. – He says he see the blast radius and was looking at the damage from the fire. He says the blast pattern analysis he does can determine where the explosion originated and the direction of the pressure wave.
12:35 p.m. – He says the pressure wave helps determine if the explosion was high order – lots of damage, or low order – not much damage. This helps investigators with their job. This was a high order explosion.
12:36 p.m. – Natural gas rises, so the fact that it’s a two-story home is significant. The outcome can be different if the home is a single story.
12:37 p.m. – He then met with the energy crews to tell them what he saw.
12:39 p.m. – Hackett says he continued to help local authorities with their investigation.
12:43 p.m. – Hackett noticed that the Maxitrol valve was missing from the gas manifold.
12:45 p.m – He determined it was not normal for the gas regulator to be missing in this neighborhood.
12:46 p.m. – The regulator was actually replaced with a 6 inch piece of black pipe. The pipe is made of iron and is not flexible.
12:47 p.m. – The manifold is pictured with the piping attached.
12:48 p.m. – Hackett said it was determined that his manifold came from 8349 Fieldfare Way.
12:50 p.m. – They can still determine where each line from the manifold went after an explosion. He said it’s uncommon to find the manifold still connected after an explosion.
12:51 p.m. – He says the valves were in the open position, meaning they were on.
12:53 p.m. – Photos of the remains of a microwave are shown. He said it was torn apart and in a state of disarray. Normally, it would be charred and possibly disfigured, but not as badly as the one he saw on the scene.
12:56 p.m. – He said it was something he knew needed to be looked into more.
12:56 p.m. – A photo of a canister is shown. He said the canister was BLEVE-ed – Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion. There must have been a buildup of pressure inside that caused it to explode.
12:58 p.m. – Another bottle is shown that was collected at the scene it did not show the same symptoms.
12:59 p.m. – The log lighter from the Shirley home is shown.
1:00 p.m. – Hackett says he was able to examine each gas appliance in the home. A photo of the remains of the furnace from Shirley’s home is shown.
1:03 p.m. – The furnace was not identified as the ignition source for the explosion. He said it was in pretty good shape despite going through an explosion, fire and structure collapse. There would be much more damage to the furnace if it was the source.
1:04 p.m. – A photo of the water heater from the Shirley home is shown. He says the same as the furnace – it was in pretty good shape despite what it went through. It also was not ruled as the ignition point of the explosion. A water heater couldn’t have caused it because of the way they are built – there are safety measures in place to prevent that from happening.
1:07 p.m. – The log lighter is shown again. Hackett explains that gas runs through it to be ignited to assist in lighting a fireplace that burns natural wood.
1:12 p.m. – Hackett says the valve is normally threaded onto the supply part of the pipe. (Wall stud -> Pipe -> Valve). It was missing in this case.
1:13 p.m. – Back at the scene of the explosion, they were looking for the valve for a while. Hackett says to his knowledge it was never found.
1:14 p.m. – He says the studs were in good shape, so the valve was not present at the time of the explosion. He shows on an example wall stud where the valve would normally attach.
1:16 p.m. – Robinson shows him the vertical stud from 8349 Fieldfare Way. The example had 2 boards, and this one has 3. Hackett says the contractors likely fractured one of the boards. “The contractors were just lazy,” he says.
1:19 p.m. – Hackett says if the valve was attached, it would be totally broken and a mess. It’s in pretty good shape for being in an explosion. He believes the valve was removed prior to the explosion. This can allow for a great amount of gas to escape into the home.
1:22 p.m. – He was also present during the sifting operation. He said it was very tedious and time consuming. The goal was to look for any key physical evidence, and to also look for the missing valve.
1:23 p.m. – Hackett says that initially, IFD Lt. Mario Garza secured the scene. Insurance agents were not let into the scene initially until it was cleared.
1:24 p.m. – Hackett says no two fires are the same, so it’s not like a recipe to follow during an investigation.
1:27 p.m. – There is a methodology to investigating the scenes. They have a hypothesis and try to prove it, but they don’t necessarily use the scientific method.
1:28 p.m. – If the hypothesis is disproved, they move to the next one. Judge asks to see the lawyers at his bench.
2:48 p.m. – Judge re-enters the courtroom. He said during the break he was able to review Dr. Sheppard’s deposition as it related to the motion for mistrial and his decision remains the same.
2:50 p.m. – Jury re-enters the courtroom. Fred Hackett returns to the witness stand.
2:51 p.m. – Robinson asks if there were any potential ignition sources he saw during his investigation.
2:53 p.m. – He says microwave or remains of candle. Says there could have been a pressurized canister that would cause it to ignite. The microwave could actually pull in natural gas from the outside. Even the fan of the microwave could have produced a spark.
2:54 p.m. – Robinson asks if the microwave he found at the scene was suspicious. He says yes and that it could have been the ignition source. Robinson sits down and Black begins cross-examination.
2:55 p.m. – Black asks about the NFPA 921 manual used as a reference guide for investigators. She says when the guide was made in 1992 there was some resistance from firefighters.
2:56 p.m. – Hackett says it’s meant to be used as a guideline. Some of the firefighters felt that their experience and education was more valuable. Hackett says that’s his understanding.
2:57 p.m. – Hackett reiterates that it just a guideline, but it is not law. Black brings up that the Indiana Supreme Court strongly encourages its use. Robinson objects and they approach the judge’s bench.
2:59 p.m. – Black says the reason the guidelines were adopted were due to wrongful arson convictions. Robinson objects. Judge sustains the objection and orders the jury to disregard that statement.
3:01 p.m. – Black asks if the scientific method is used in their investigations. Hackett says it can be but it doesn’t have to be. She then reviews the origins of the scientific method.
3:02 p.m. – She asks him about some of his observations and collection of evidence. She asks about the wall stud that the valve should’ve been attached to. He asks if his hypothesis was that some of the broken wood was due to shoddy workmanship. “Correct,” he answers.
3:04 p.m. – Hackett says he performed no actual tests on the beam. Black asks if they have the ability to test items. He says they do. They can also send items to other labs.
3:06 p.m. – She asks why no tests were done on the beams. He says nobody requested testing and they were not the authority for this case.
3:07 p.m. – Black asks if testing would’ve been done if IFD asked. He says yes. She asks if he only did field observations on the microwave. He says yes.
3:08 p.m. – Nobody asked Hackett to do any testing on the microwave or the canister.
3:09 p.m. – He said it looks like a metal water bottle. Black says since no testing was done, he can’t know. He says it has the characteristics of that kind of bottle.
3:11 p.m. – Black asks if everything he told the jury today was solely based on his initial field observations. He says yes. Defense offers a piece of evidence. It’s admitted.
3:13 p.m. – Black asks if he was paid for being on the scene. He says Citizens Energy employed their services. Black asks if he’s paid to testify today. He is not. Black ends cross-examination and Robinson begins redirect.
3:14 p.m. – Robinson asks about NFPA 921. She offers a page of the guideline manual into evidence. It’s admitted.
3:15 p.m. – Hackett says the manual is edited frequently. A newer edition has come out since the explosion.
3:17 p.m. – A page from the manual is shown on the projector. Jurors receive a copy for their binder. It’s a disclaimer that is found in the manual. (The disclaimer is not read aloud or explained).
3:19 p.m. – Robinson asks if he’s confident in his testimony based on the field inspection. He says yes. She asks if he thinks any tests would say otherwise. He says no.
3:21 p.m. – Robinson asks if he’s aware that NFPA doesn’t require physical testing of items, and that analytical testing is accepted. He says that’s correct. Robinson ends redirect and Black begins re-cross examination.
3:22 p.m. – Black says analytical testing is one possibility, and physical testing is one possibility, and that their lab is able to do physical testing. He says yes, if they’re asked to do so.
3:23 p.m. – She asks if he’s here as an expert witness here today. He says no, he is a fact witness. She asks if physical testing can help prove the analytical testing. “In some cases, yes,” he says. Black end re-cross examination
3:24 p.m. – Judge calls lawyers to his bench. Juror asked a question but Judge Marnocha doesn’t feel that he can ask the question of this witness. Hackett is excused.
3:25 p.m. – State calls Jason Burke to the witness stand. He is an RT Moore employee. They do contracting and mechanical work. He’s been in the same industry for 30 years.
3:27 p.m. – RT Moore provided heating and cooling ductwork in Richmond Hill. Robinson offers the job folder for Shirley’s home into evidence. It’s admitted.
3:31 p.m. – Lawyers speak with judge at his bench.
3:33 p.m. – Robinson asks about the furnace. It’s an 80% gas furnace. Output is 80,000-85,000 BTUs. There are several safety features.
3:34 p.m. – Robinson says she taking a step back. At her request, Burke explains what a furnace is and how it attaches to the home. He also explains what the inside of a furnace looks like.
3:36 p.m. – If there is no regulator in place, and 2 PSI is being delivered to the furnace, the furnace will not operate. There would be zero heat delivered to the house.
3:38 p.m. – The blower is timed for the model in the Shirley home. The blower can operate without heat being delivered. There would be no spark created by the furnace. The only air being blown through the home is the existing ambient air.
3:40 p.m. – He explains how a furnace igniter works. Then, he explains how the gas control regulator works.
3:43 p.m. – The furnace has no pilot light. There is also a rollout switch that can detect the potential for a fire and shut the system down. If there is no flame to ignite the gas used to heat the home, the whole system is shut down. There are also redundant safety measures. For instance, it will only try to light 3 times before shutting down.
3:46 p.m. – The water heater in the Shirley home was an AO Smith. A schematic of the water heater is admitted into evidence.
3:48 p.m. – Burke explains how a water heater works. It needs a certain PSI as well – the same as the furnace. If the regulator has been removed, the water heater’s pilot light will not operate, basically disabling the unit. An example of a main burner for a water heater is admitted into evidence.
3:53 p.m. – The log lighter itself doesn’t have a safety, just the key that controls the gas flow.
3:56 p.m. – During the course of his career, he has come into contact with appliances that have been the source of a gas leak. If the furnace is the originating point of an explosion, the inside would be very discolored and scorched. In a photograph of the Shirley furnace, Burke does not see this evidence.
3:58 p.m. – Burke says a water heater cannot be the source of the explosion due to its safety measures.
3:59 p.m. – Robinson shows a photo of the gas manifold. Burke says the gas regulator is missing and that something else that shouldn’t be there is in its place.
4:02 p.m. – Burke says that where the union is located is wrong. There should be a regulator just to the right of where the union is. Given where it is in the photo, they would not be able to perform proper service.
4:03 p.m. – To get a regulator you’d have to go to a specific vendor. Can’t just get one at Walmart. You also need to be a licensed contractor.
4:04 p.m. – If you wanted to take one out, you’d have to dismantle the piping system. You’d have to manually unscrew it. You would only need standard tools found in any toolbox. “You would never have a legitimate reason to do this as a homeowner,” Burke said. None of the appliances would work if it were removed.
4:07 p.m. – If it were removed, it would typically leave some sort of mark. There are steps that can be taken to not leave marks, however. Certain tools use nylon or cloth to grip. Robinson ends questioning.
4:09 p.m. – Defense Attorney David Shircliff says he feels much more educated now. He has no cross-examination. Burke is excused.
4:40 p.m. – State calls Michael Sullivan to the witness stand. He is a Citizens Energy Group employee. He is Director of Energy Distribution.
4:32 p.m. – He heard the explosion at his home, several miles away from the site. His role as an engineer in the investigation was to calculate amount of gas in the home, helping understand what might have happened and testing equipment. Part of his roll was pulling service records.
4:34 p.m. – He was present for some of the equipment testing: the pressure test of the riser and the testing of the meter for accuracy.
4:35 p.m. – At one time he was asked to consider gas flow in the home.
4:36 p.m. – He did the calculation regarding the amount of gas consumed by the Shirley home compared to others in the area. “There was a significant amount of gas that went through that meter compared to others in the area,” he said.
4:37 p.m. – 12,800 cubic feet was used in the Shirley home in at most 17 days. A typical residential usage number for a whole year would be 86,000.
4:40 p.m. – He said wasn’t a usual month to use an excessive amount of energy. January might be. “This was definitely out of the ordinary,” Sullivan said.
4:41 p.m. – A spreadsheet created by Sullivan is offered into evidence and admitted.
4:44 p.m. – The spreadsheet is shown on the projector.
4:45 p.m. – Sullivan says the explosion caused the meter to stop recording gas usage. The meter was found later in the debris.
4:46 p.m. – Because the delivery pressure was 2 pounds, and the meter doesn’t have a meter of correcting the volume, there is a pressure factor of 1.123.
4:48 p.m. – Sullivan says it’s a method used to accurately bill the customer.
4:49 p.m. – When the 2-pound pressure is delivered to the residence, it goes through the piping system and then gets to the Maxitrol regulator. From there it goes to the appliances. Most appliances have control valves that will shut down if they receive more than needed. Control valve also works as a regulator.
4:50 p.m. – The regulator also helps prevent over-usage.
4:54 p.m. – The house didn’t survive the expected 30-day billing period. While the average uses 86 MCF in a year, the Shirley home would’ve used 37 MCF just in one month if the cycle had completed.
4:56 p.m. – They use a program to project customer usage so they know how much to buy. They did meter reads on all houses in the neighborhood on the Monday after the explosion.
4:59 p.m. – If the home survived the month, it would have used 37MCF. The next highest projected usage was 14 MCF.
5:01 p.m. – He estimated a 100,000 BTU furnace input. If he wanted all that to go through the furnace and it never shut off, the furnace would have to run 128 hours within that 17 day time period. Water heater is typically 40,000-50,000 BTUs. It would have had to run for 256 hours above normal to get to the usage number.
5:03 p.m. – If the furnace ran 128 consecutive hours in November, there are safeties on the furnace that will shut it off if it overheats. All water heaters have a safety as well that prevents it from becoming a boiler.
5:06 p.m. – He assumed the log lighter was a 40,000 BTU item, but later found found it was likely more than that. This log lighter had 16 orifices on it.
5:09 p.m. – Sullivan was asked if the gas came through the log lighter or an open line, he used a formula.
5:12 p.m. – If he had 10 ft of pipe with gas flowing out, you’d have 1.202 MCF an hour. 20 ft would be .85 MCF. Any time you have flow over a piece of pipe, you have pressure drop.
5:14 p.m. – 12,8000 cubic feet of gas could have been released in the home in a certain amount of time. The hours required would be 10.65, but would change based on the type of pipe used. He did not run test for CSST. This was for black iron pipe. CSST runs at a higher pressure.
5:16 p.m. – CSST creates turbulence which increases the pressure drops.
5:17 p.m. – Once he got correct BTU information for the log lighter, he redid some calculations. It would have had to be 336 cubic feet per hour. You would typically not see that in a house. If there was no control valve, it would have been 446.9 cubic feet an hour. 3-4 times greater than what the furnace would supply and 6-8 times greater than the water regulator.
5:20 p.m. – He did not know how long the pipe was and used black iron instead of CSST. They later determined the orifice size was smaller. He determined the log lighter could not have the 2 pounds against it. It would be less but he didn’t know what the pressure would be.
5:21 p.m. – In his opinion there was a substantial amount of gas that passed through the meter.
5:22 p.m. – With 24,000 cubic feet and 12,800 cubic feet of natural gas. If all the gas would be put in the house, the percentage of gas in the house would be an average of over 50%. If it was coming in from the gas line it would be 100% right there. Somewhere else at first it would be 0%. It takes time for it to move through the house.
5:24 p.m. – There would be a variety of percentages throughout the home. It’s not 50% uniformly in the home.
5:25 p.m. – The house is not a balloon– it doesn’t inflate. There is leakage around windows or doors. If there was an open window it would be easier to escape depending on where the window is located.
5:26 p.m. – Those variables all come into play with the oxygen to gas rate in the home. Smoke rises because it’s hot, gas rises because of its specific gravity. Lower numbers toward the floor, higher numbers toward the ceiling.
5:28 p.m. – It’s more likely to fill the upstairs part of the house. There can be a situation where some parts are well in excess of 15% and below 5%, while some points will be in that range.
5:29 p.m. – If there were a prior attempt to fill the home, the 12,800 going into the home at one time would be lower since some was already used. In both cases, there would be parts of the home where it would fall between that 5-15% range.
5:31 p.m. – She asks if the fire triangle came together that night. He said it had to.
5:32 p.m. – Black asks if all these numbers were used with a black steel piping, not CSS piping. He says yes. Not black piping, and not the right orifice size. She asks if the extra volume could have been released at any time in the 17 days. He says yes.
5:33 p.m. – Jurors asks question, and judge meets with lawyers.
5:34 p.m. – The amount of hours he used in his example were calculated, but could be adjusted with any amount of hours. The number is arbitrary. It was not derived from calculation. Sullivan is dismissed.
5:37 p.m. – Judge meets with lawyers.
*END OF COURT FOR JUNE 25. NO COURT JUNE 26*
June 24, 2015
9:15 a.m. – The defense team and prosecutors are speaking with Judge John Marnocha prior to the jury entering the room.
9:16 a.m. – Defense attorney Diane Black says the State was notified of an error in a witness’ report about how quickly gas filled the home.
9:20 a.m. – ATF agent Dr. David Sheppard first identified the issue on June 1. There was a hearing on June 3 that the defense says the issue was never brought up.
9:35 a.m. – Black says the gas flow rates are a fundamental part of the case. Initially, he said it took 5.8 hours to fill up the home. Most recent report says it took 3 hours. The error was discovered after comparing Citizens Energy reports. The defense believes this is ground for a mistrial.
9:36 a.m. –Black argues that they have been behind due to the State’s late notice on witnesses and evidence.
9:37 a.m. – Judge Marnocha says there has been no evidence yet that implicates Mark Leonard directly whatsoever, and he doesn’t see how the length of time it took to fill the house with gas is so important since in the end it was still filled with gas.
9:40 a.m. – Black points out that he’s charged with conspiracy and the jury has already heard about his involvement.
9:41 a.m. – She says the State is putting on the show, and they know Monserrate Shirley and others who intend to implicate Leonard will testify.
9:42 a.m. – Judge says maybe this situation would be easier if there was already evidence entered in the case that implicated Leonard.
9:43 a.m. – He says Robert Smith’s testimony is just kind of “icing on the cake” and he assumes that the State had evidence of his guilt before the murder for hire plot occurred. (Smith was the informant who set Leonard up with a “hit man” who was actually a law enforcement agent).
9:44 a.m. – Black thinks the situation is a bit more complicated than what the judge said. The judge said he’s still waiting to see how the State implicates Leonard.
9:47 a.m. – Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson says the defense had the reports they needed since May. She says they didn’t want Sheppard to get to the stand and give false testimony. She says they told defense as soon as they found out about the correction.
9:49 a.m. – The error was reported to the defense on June 12. Robinson said she followed up on the information with their expert, and apparently the defense did not.
10:09 a.m. – Judge Marnocha says he things it is premature for him to make a final decision regarding the mistrial. He says we will adjourn for the day so he can deal with this issue and the defense can speak to their expert, who is now back in the U.S.
10:11 a.m. – He says he still doesn’t see how this fact about the report prejudices Leonard’s rights. At this point, he says he hasn’t heard that.
10:12 a.m. – He anticipates Sheppard’s testimony wouldn’t be very long. Robinson says his testimony would be closer to a half hour.
10:13 a.m. – Black says she needs to ask a few questions of the prosecution for the record. Judge says he’s not going to allow lawyers to question each other on what they did or didn’t do. He wants to know when the reports were prepared and submitted.
10:15 p.m. – Black wants to see any spreadsheets shared with the State and any emails between them about this issue. Robinson said they already have the spreadsheet.
10:17 a.m. – Jury enters the courtroom. Judge Marnocha tells them about the situation and says the court is adjourning for the day.
*END OF COURT FOR JUNE 24*
June 23, 2015
9:27 a.m. – Media enters the courtroom. Mark Leonard is wearing a blue shirt and dark pattern tie, sipping some coffee. Chains around his ankles and stomach were already removed, along with his handcuffs. Defense team is not yet present.
9:44 a.m. – Defense team enters the courtroom.
9:51 a.m. – Judge John Marnocha enters the courtroom.
9:52 a.m. – The defense was not able to interview a witness (Dr. Shepherd) expected to be heard from today. His flight was later than expected and they did not get the opportunity. His testimony will be moved to tomorrow.
10:00 a.m. – Judge says he and his staff have made many accommodations for the trial and rearranged his schedule in many different ways to make it work. He says the lawyers should be doing the same. He says they should have made a road trip or did whatever was necessary to get him here. “You have to fit into my schedule, I’m not going to fit into yours. It’s time to ‘get ‘er done,’” he said. He also pointed out that you never know when a juror may have to drop out, which could lead to mistrial.
10:04 a.m. – Defense Attorney David Shircliff objects to a different witness to be heard from today. He says they’re not sure what he is going to say without Dr. Shepherd’s testimony. Judge overrules it.
10:13 a.m. – Jury enters the courtroom. Judge asks them if anyone has discussed the case, watched the news or done research. No hands rise.
10:14 a.m. – Lisa Liebig takes the witness stand again. During the Richmond Hill explosion, she worked for the Marion County Crime Lab as a Crime Scene Specialist. She has extensive notes on a laptop that she will use during testimony.
10:15 a.m. – There was a group of slides/photos not provided to the jury for their binders yesterday, so those are distributed to them.
10:17 a.m. – Prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth offers a set of photos, which is admitted into evidence. The jury receives a copy for their binders.
10:20 a.m. – The photos are shown on a projector. They show a door lock that has been damaged, a television antenna, some wiring and batteries, pieces a remote control, some paperwork including an All-State insurance policy for the Olvey family, receipts with John and Monserrate Shirley’s names, a bundle of charred wiring, a badly-charred label maker, a possible gas burner, log rack from a fireplace, and a fireplace poker.
10:30 a.m. – A new set of photos is admitted into evidence and the jurors receive a copy for their binders.
10:32 a.m. – The photos from around the Olvey home show charred wiring, a couple of wax candles, batteries, extension cords, a plastic knob, a small metal cylinder, a partially burned $100 bill, more charred wiring and batteries, another partially burned $100 bill, more burned wiring and batteries, a damaged Nook tablet (still worked – photo showed screen on), a red HP laptop computer, a black HP laptop computer, more charred wiring and batteries, a car stereo piece, a phone charger, a small fuel can, part of a smoke detector and a burned circuit board and what appears to be a locking child’s diary.
10:39 a.m. – Another set of photos are admitted and the jury members receive a copy. Liebig says the following photos are from samples of concrete.
10:41 a.m. – Photos of concrete samples from the foundation of the Shirley house are shown, and Liebig explains where they came from: The living room, around base of stairs and near the front of the former house.
10:47 a.m. – A new set of photos is admitted into evidence and the jury receives a copy.
10:49 a.m. – The photos show items recovered from the Longworth home: A piece of gas pipe, a water heater, a furnace, another section of gas pipe and a valve key. The valve key was placed in evidence dumpster two, and Shircliff asks Liebig if she knows where it came from. She says no, so he objects to it being put into evidence. Lawyers approach judge’s bench.
10:56 a.m. – Hollingsworth removes the valve key from it’s packaging and shows it to the jury.
10:59 a.m. – A new set of photos is admitted into evidence and the jury receives a copy.
11:00 a.m. – The photos show a section of gas pipe (from evidence dumpster 2 – no particular address), a metal cover panel from a furnace, a gas valve from the Longworth home with the key, the furnace from the Olvey home and pieces of metal from dumpster 4.
11:03 a.m. – A single photo is admitted into evidence and jury members receive a copy for their binders.
11:05 a.m. – The photo shows the living room area of the Shirley home. There were large samples of charred samples removed from the foundation.
11:07 a.m. – A new set of photos is admitted into evidence. After speaking with the judge, some of the photos are not admitted from this set. It is not clear why. The jury will receive a copy once some items are removed.
11:12 a.m. – The photos show the instruction manual for a Thermostat and packaging for the thermostat found just north of the Shirley home.
11:14 a.m. – The physical thermostat and instruction manual are admitted into evidence.
11:16 a.m. – More photos are admitted into evidence.
11:20 a.m. – The photos show a front door at 8342 Fieldfare Way, the fireplace manifold and gas piping and gas valve.
11:23 a.m. – A couple of physical items are admitted into evidence.
11:25 a.m. – Hollingsworth shows the fireplace manifold to the jury.
11:28 a.m. – More photos are admitted into evidence. They show an electrical meter, a circuit breaker panel door, a blue furnace filter, a circular piece of metal and some insulation.
12:01 p.m. – Shircliff and Hollingsworth are speaking with Judge Marnocha at his bench. State withdraws a couple of exhibits. The others are admitted.
12:02 p.m. – Photos near 8355 Fieldfare Way show a brass doorknob, some checkbooks in Mark Leonard’s name, a possible gas burner, a wall stud removed from 8319 Fieldfare Way.
12:06 p.m. – An exemplar of the wall stud is admitted into evidence. Hollingsworth shows it to the jury.
12:07 p.m. – Back to the photos. These are from front yard and garage area of Shirley’s home. They show a white metal disc, an HP computer power supply/cord, some power adapters typically used in a car’s cigarette lighter, a battery and a laptop part.
12:12 p.m. – More photos are admitted into evidence. Jury members receive a copy.
12:14 p.m. – These are from the garage area of Shirley’s home. Photos show a melted/damaged cell phone (not a smartphone), an audio splitter, a remote control, a flattened/rusted metal can, a plugin night light base, a circuit board, firework or road flare, XM Radio module and a metal cylinder or bottle.
12:18 p.m. – The physical charred metal bottle is admitted into evidence. Hollingsworth shows it to the jury.
12:22 p.m. – More photos are admitted into evidence. Jury receives a copy.
12:24 p.m. – Still from around garage of Shirley home. Photos show a circuit board, a damaged red LG cell phone (not a smartphone), some wiring, a Motorola car radio and a pair of gas cans.
12:26 p.m. – Shircliff asks if anything was inside the gas can. Liebig says there was a small amount of liquid at the bottom. The liquid was not tested. The physical cans are admitted into evidence.
12:27 p.m. – Photos show a firework or flare, a pizza pan, a power saw, a blue folder with business cards and a Progressive car insurance policy for Mark Leonard.
12:30 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. Jury receives a copy.
12:34 p.m. – Still near the Shirley garage. Photos show a power cord, another firework/road flare, a notebook (one page has Leonard’s email address), another circuit board with wiring, yet another piece of circuit board, a metal pipe joint, a dial, a metal panel and frame (possibly some sort of mobile device), another burned circuit board and a piece of a glass door.
12:40 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. Jury receives a copy.
12:43 p.m. – Photos near Shirley’s garage show a remote control, a burned metal loop, a burned power strip, a checkbook of John and Monserrate Shirley, a wallet with some coins, a curved circuit board, a pet tag
12:48 p.m. – Hollingsworth pauses due to a numbering error in the slideshow.
12:49 p.m. – More photos show a notebook and part of a car stereo.
The attorney for Bob Leonard Jr., Mark Leonard’s half-brother, appears in court for the first time at this point and sits in the gallery. His name Mark Inman.
12:50 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. Jury receives a copy.
12:53 p.m. – Photos from Shirley’s back yard show a prescription bottle with Mark Leonard’s name (actual name of medication edited out), pieces of a range top heating element, a crushed can, a circuit board, a plastic folder containing jewelry receipts and related paperwork (many dated in the 90s), a gel candle and a piece of a plugin air freshener.
12:59 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. Jury receives a copy.
1:02 p.m. – Hollingsworth talks about that there were several matchboxes found at the scene. Liebig says that is correct.
1:03 p.m. – The photos show about a dozen matchboxes that were found. Most appeared to have not been burned or damaged, including the actual matches. Photos are shown of each individual box in the crime lab.
2:26 p.m. – Judge Marnocha re-enters the courtroom, followed by the jury.
2:28 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. Jury receives a copy.
2:30 p.m. – Photos from items found around Shirley’s home show a gel-fueled heating element (such as a buffet food heater), a metal can that the heater fuel was stored in, a kitchen garbage disposal, two 9-volt batteries, a rice cooker and a lighter.
2:33 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. Jury receives a copy.
2:36 p.m. – Photos from the kitchen area of the Shirley home show an electric toothbrush base, a blender, a waffle maker, a metal piece found in the back yard, a metal faceplate from the toaster, some wiring, some melted debris, a red plastic device
2:40 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. Jury receives a copy.
2:43 p.m. – The photos from around the foundation of the Shirley home show a meat thermometer, some burned and tangled wires, a round metal object, a charred battery, burned debris, a metal component, possible heating element, duct elbow joint, a maroon candle and a broken battery-operated clock.
2:48 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. Jury receives a copy.
2:51 p.m. – Photos from around Shirley’s home show a laptop battery, circuit board, a metal loop (possibly a duct joint), another metal loop, a Motorola handheld radio, a red flip phone, a Samsung wall charger, a stereo set, brass table lamp and a bunch of documents that had become loose.
2:56 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. Some of the photos in this group are not admitted after lawyers meet with Judge Marnocha. Jury receives a copy of the ones that were.
3:03 p.m. – Photos from around the front yard of the Shirley home show an envelope from IU Health addressed to Mark Leonard, instructions for a tanning bed timer, a printout from an online car auction for a 2006 Cadillac STS, a set of documents including letters and paperwork, a set of partially burned documents, the screen from a printer/scanner combo machine, a lamp base, a white USB charging dock, a power cord and a computer keyboard.
3:10 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. Some of the photos in this group are not admitted after lawyers meet with Judge Marnocha. Jury receives a copy of the ones that were.
3:17 p.m. – Photos show items from the front yard again: A 9-volt battery, a black wall charger, a checkbook register with no bank or personal info, a ventilation grate, a pill bottle, a damaged Citizens gas bill and another set of documents.
3:21 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. Some of the photos in this group are not admitted after lawyers meet with Judge Marnocha. Jury receives a copy of the ones that were.
3:28 p.m. – Again from the front yard. Photos show a T-Mobile bill, the outside of a certified letter, a piece of metal plastic, a battery, business checks for Mastercraft Restorations, a pair of charred cameras, silver iPod shuffle, small motor, a ceramic heater tower (found in back yard), a wreath hanger (found in back yard of another house), and a damaged lighting fixture.
3:33 p.m. – Shircliff and Hollingsworth approach the judge’s bench.
3:52 p.m. – Liebig is still at the witness stand. Hollingsworth offers more photos into evidence.
3:55 p.m. – Photos of items collected from kitchen area of the Shirley house show a charred car battery, charred hair dryer, white table lamp, appliance parts, charred wiring and a maroon candle.
3:57 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. Jury receives a copy.
4:00 p.m. – Photos of the Shirley home’s foundation show bins of collected carpet.
4:02 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. Jury receives a copy.
4:03 p.m. – Photos of items around Shirley’s home show a power cord, a computer power supply, a metal can, part of a broken mobile phone, a smoke detector and a baby book of Brooke Shirley.
4:05 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. The groups of photos appear to be getting smaller. Jury receives a copy.
4:09 p.m. – Photos from garage area of the Shirley home show a melted gas can. Hollingsworth offers the physical gas can into evidence. It’s admitted.
4:10 p.m. – Back to the photos. They show a portable DVD player, a DVD in the pocket of the case, a blue wallet, pair of insurance cards for John Shirley, a blue corduroy purse, a wallet that was in the purse, Gloria Olvey’s license, assortment of drawings and a child school papers, more documents and a 9-volt battery.
4:14 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. Jury receives a copy.
4:17 p.m. – Photos show a set of prescription drug syringes, a USB drive on a keychain, a metal bottle from the front yard area, some kind of mechanical part with fan blades, a charred padlock, a chunk of melted plastic and three different circuit boards.
4:19 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. Jury receives a copy.
4:22 p.m. – Photos from the sifting operation show a melted piece of plastic, a severely charred electronic device, a white metal housing, a bundle of charred wiring, a circuit board, a metal fitting, a portable hard drive, part of a picture frame, Olympus voice recorder and a remote control.
4:23 p.m. – Liebig explains that she was nearby during the sifting process. The technicians would sift through and set aside items. They would be brought to her in bulk and she would photograph them.
4:24 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. Jury receives a copy.
4:26 p.m. – Photos of items found during the sifting operation show a bundle of iron-on patches, an ID card for Gloria Olvey, a Ziploc bag of film reels, some coins, a watch, a Muppet figurine and a clear plastic holder with a Kay Jewelers service plan.
4:30 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence. Jury receives a copy. “Sorry to disappoint, but this is the last set of photos,” Hollingsworth says.
4:33 p.m. – Photos show a car trunk lid found across the street from the Shirley home. A license plate was found in the same area. Metal ductwork is pictured from the around Shirley home, along with a toaster oven, a piece of metal, a propane tank, a fireplace vent, an exterior door, wooden beams/wall studs.
4:37 p.m. – Hollingsworth offers the wall studs into evidence. They are admitted.
4:38 p.m. – Back to photos. Last one shows pieces of an oven.
4:39 p.m. –Liebig says the evidence was moved on December 10, 2013, one year after the sifting operation. It had been stored in a semi truck that wasn’t waterproof. They were moved into pods that were more secure. Some items had to be relabeled due to water damage.
4:41 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks if this was the limit of her role in the process. “Basically, yes,” Liebig says. He asks if some of the evidence was transferred to ATF. She says yes. Hollingsworth ends questioning and Defense attorney David Shircliff begins cross-examination.
4:42 p.m. – Shircliff asks the court reporter to retrieve a couple of exhibits for him out of storage.
4:45 p.m. – Shircliff asks her to recall the beginning of her testimony. She heard the explosion and arrived on scene a few days later. He asks if it was overwhelming, and she says they had good control over the scene.
4:46 p.m. – He asks if she is typically the one to take control of the scene. When she got there at that point it wasn’t a crime scene, but they still have to treat it as such.
4:47 p.m. – There were items found almost everywhere in the neighborhood.
4:48 p.m. – Shircliff talks about the door that was photographed and DNA swabbed. It was the front door of the Shirley house. The DNA tests were analyzed. She believes there was a hit on it, Bob Leonard Jr. The door handle on a storm door was also tested for DNA.
4:49 p.m. – She was called out again on the 14th, and that’s when she placed the numbered cones by the marked red flags. She then took photos of the marked items. IFD was in charge of the investigation at that time.
4:50 p.m. – IMPD and other agencies also asked her to do some things. IFD would fine items on the scene, place them in dumpsters and mark the dumpsters. The insurance team then came out and sifted through the dumpsters.
4:53 p.m. – He asks if she only took photos of the items with cones, she says for the most part yes. There were some photos taken and others told her where they were. She would also be called to specific locations on the scene to take photos.
4:56 p.m. – Shircliff asks about the charred cylinder, and asks if she was in charge of the item. Liebig says it was initially sent to someone else, and then it was put in evidence with other items that were sent with her. Shircliff asks if it was ever tested for any reason. She said testing was done before the item came into her custody. She’s not sure what tests were done or who might have done them. While in her custody, no testing was performed on the cylinder.
5:00 p.m. – One of the items, a charred camera, belonged to Gloria Olvey. Liebig says yes.
5:01 p.m. – Shircliff asks about the microwave and if testing was done on it. To her knowledge, IFD or her office did not do any testing on it. She believes it was sent to ATF at one point but is not sure if testing was done there.
5:02 p.m. – Shircliff asks about the cans used on the scene to preserve liquids. He notes that the cylinder found with liquid inside wasn’t emptied. She says there was no container big enough to hold the liquid inside so the item was wrapped up and put in storage.
5:04 p.m. – Liebig says she’s not familiar with the storage area it was in. The report says it was placed in a “flammable cabinet.” He asks if there were any precautions taken since a flammable liquid may have been inside. She says not that she was made aware of, but she wasn’t in custody of the item at that time.
5:07 p.m. – There were two other containers. She took photos of both of those and knew where they were found.
5:08 p.m. – Shircliff asks about one of the photos of a gas burner (for a gas only fireplace). He asks if she was aware that was not the type of fireplace the Shirley residence had. Liebig says she was not aware of that. Shircliff ends cross-examination and Hollingsworth redirects.
5:11 p.m. – He asks if evidence eventually goes to the IMPD property room. She says almost always. Hollingsworth asks if the pods eventually made their way there. She says yes.
5:12 p.m. – He asks Liebig if she has a report of things sent to the ATF. She finds a lab report on her computer. About a dozen items were sent to ATF.
5:13 p.m. – The pieces of the microwave, the gas manifold, the Honeywell thermostat, the gas log starter and more were among the items sent.
5:16 p.m. – Hollingsworth ends questioning and Shircliff re-crosses. He asks if anyone else there was taking photos while she was there. She says yes. Shircliff says he was “fascinated” with how many computers were found. He asks for an exact number and she says she’s not sure.
5:17 p.m. – He asks if any were tested. She says some were sent to the IMPD cyber crimes unit. She wasn’t sure what kind testing was done, if any. Shircliff ends questioning and Liebig is excused and released from her subpoena.
*END OF COURT FOR JUNE 23*
June 22, 2015
11:57 a.m. – Media enters the courtroom. The State has five boxes and several bags of evidence behind their table. Leonard is wearing a white dress shirt and green tie.
12:18 p.m. – Judge John Marnocha enters the courtroom.
12:21 p.m. – Judge says that questions to witnesses about Monserrate Shirley’s actions won’t be allowed for now because she has not testified. Statements made on camera or otherwise are still hearsay and can’t be addressed until she has taken the witness stand.
12:24 p.m. – Defense filed a motion for mistrial. They said the tenor of the court reporter’s documents showed that the State’s line questioning and use of evidence last week could have tainted the jury. The State feels this is a mischaracterization and not accurate.
12:32 p.m. – Defense attorney David Shircliff says they were unaware that the State had two evidence videos made to show the jury. He says he’s not sure how there can be a fair trial when they have no time to prepare for cross-examination.
12:36 p.m. – Judge says the motion for mistrial is strange, as it doesn’t meet the usual requirements. He says it is an extreme option and should only be used when there is no other remedy.
12:40 p.m. – He says trials are fluid and evidence changes. He says in this case there is no doubt that the Shirley home exploded. Due to the evidence presented, he says it’s clear it blew up due to a natural gas explosion. Judge says neither of those things speak to the guilt of Leonard.
12:44 p.m. – Motion for mistrial is denied.
12:50 p.m. – State has binders for jurors due to large amounts of evidence to be shown today. They are brought in and placed on the jurors’ seats.
12:59 p.m. – Jury enters the courtroom.
1:02 p.m. – State calls first and only witness for the day, Lisa Liebig. She worked for the Marion County Crime Lab as a Crime Scene Specialist for several years. She left the job in April 2014. She got a job with a tech startup in California.
1:03 p.m. – She collected evidence in more than 100 homicide cases.
1:04 p.m. – In November 2012, she heard the explosion. She lived 10 miles north of Richmond Hill. She had a police radio and was able to find out about the explosion that way.
1:05 p.m. – On November 13, she responded to the scene around 10 a.m.
1:07 p.m. – She was directed to an exterior house door and glass door in front of Shirley’s home. State Prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth jokes that her job isn’t like on TV – she drove a minivan instead of a Hummer and protective gear instead of high heels. Liebig says to “not get her started on those TV shows.”
1:08 p.m. – This was her first time in the subdivision. There was one way in and out, controlled by IMPD. There was one home basically flattened, several others damaged.
1:11 p.m. – The three most damaged houses were secured by a fence. A log was kept of anyone who went in and out. “This was one of the most secure crime scenes I’ve ever worked,” said Liebig.
1:12 p.m. – Photos of Liebig in Richmond Hill are admitted into evidence. Printouts of the photos are given to the jury to be placed in their binders.
1:15 p.m. – Photos displayed on projector. They show Liebig on the scene in a red hardhat.
1:17 p.m. – She says this homicide situation was different. They are typically not sent out to fire/arson scenes. The sheer scale of the case was different from what they typically handle. She had been called out to a handful of arsons in her career.
1:18 p.m. – She was called back out on November 14 by fire investigators. They needed assistance in organizing/identifying collected evidence.
1:20 p.m. – Investigators had marked potential evidence with red flags. The crime lab used numbered cones to mark the potential evidence. They collected nearly 400 pieces of evidence.
1:22 p.m. – When she usually goes to a crime scene, she knows all the evidence will go with her back to the lab. In this case, she wasn’t sure if that would be the case.
1:23 p.m. – The evidence was stored on site in trailers until they determined what to do with it.
1:24 p.m. – She was not the only one taking photos at the scene. The Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) took photos and so did Citizens Energy Group.
1:25 p.m. – Photos of the scene she took are admitted into evidence. Judge Marnocha asks to see the lawyers at his bench. He tells the jury that they are going to receive an orange piece of paper to divide the sets of photos they receive. While it does not separate the testimony, it may help them keep things organized.
1:30 p.m. – The photos are shown on a projector. They are general scene photos. Several show the red flags used by investigators to mark potential evidence. Others show the cones put out by Liebig. Her numbered cones help put numbers and order to the red flags.
1:31 p.m. – Several more photos show different areas with the cones and flags.
1:32 p.m. – On her first day there, she was asked to photograph an item she did not mark as evidence. It was a metallic bottle.
1:33 p.m. – Her role expanded significantly. (She has taken extensive notes on a computer and will be referring to them throughout her testimony.)
1:34 p.m. – On November 29th, the trailers of evidence were transferred from the scene to a secured police area.
1:35 p.m. – She returned in December to speak with outside investigators who were sifting through dirt to find additional evidence.
1:37 p.m. – A sketch of the scene created by Lt. Mario Garza is put onto an easel in case she needs to use it for reference.
1:38 p.m. – A roadmap sketch of Fieldfare Way created by Liebig is shown to the jury. A second sketch created by Liebig is a zoomed in version of the map.
1:41 p.m. – She said typically setting up a crime scene map is easier because it’s usually the size of a room or parking lot. Here, with the extent of the scene, it was default to show on a drawing.
1:43 p.m. – Photos of evidence collected by Liebig are admitted into evidence.
1:44 p.m. – Judge asks to see the lawyers at his bench.
1:46 p.m. – The photos are shown on a projector. A warped front door is seen in a photo across the street from Shirley’s home.
1:48 p.m. – Door frames can be seen in more photos. She was asked to process the door for DNA. A photo of the DNA swabs are shown.
1:49 p.m. – The swabs from the exterior handle of the front door, the exterior keypad, the door knocker, the interior door handle and the interior framing/wall area are sent to the lab to be tested. Unlike on TV, she does not run the tests herself.
1:54 p.m. – She also took samples off of another door – a storm door. That door was swabbed on both door handles.
1:56 p.m. – DNA swabs are usually handed the same way every time, no matter what crime scene they are at.
1:59 p.m. – Several more photos are admitted into evidence and shown to the jury via projector. Jury is given photos to add to their binder.
2:01 p.m. – One photo shows a single stick of incense found at the scene. Another photo shows the metal portion of a crock-pot.
2:03 p.m. – Another photo shows a small circuit board. Another one shows a piece of charred metal from an Energizer battery.
2:06 p.m. – Another photo shows a melted CVS prescription bottle cap. More melted plastic is shown.
2:07 p.m. – Several pieces of physical evidence are admitted into evidence. The evidence is what we saw pictured in the last slideshow. The items range in size.
2:09 p.m. – Liebig talks about what kind of boxes/bags she uses to keep evidence. It must be signed for before the items change custody.
2:14 p.m. – More photos are admitted of a copper wire, a range heating element, part of a waffle iron and a metal bracket. These items were found in backyards near the Longworth home.
2:18 p.m. – Photos are shown of an oven control panel, a piece of sheet metal, wiring from a wall power outlet and metal housing.
2:22 p.m. – The physical items from the photos are admitted into evidence.
2:28 p.m. – More photos are given to the jury for their binders.
2:29 p.m. – New photos show a charred battery, a Hollywood Casino membership coupon (paper), a Hollywood Casino membership card, the bottom of a Rival brand crockpot, internals of a toaster, George Foreman grill, bread maker, part of an electric massage device, metal plate from a clothing iron and a metal panel.
2:35 p.m. – The physical items are admitted into evidence. The bread maker was not brought in due to its size.
2:37 p.m. – More photos are admitted into evidence and shown to the jury.
2:41 p.m. – The photos show a small charred circuit board, another circuit board, charred wiring, smoke detector, crockpot, bag of fire kindling, glass oil lamp base, microwave (not fully intact), a clump of wiring and a piece of particle board with a part of a stereo system. These were found near the Shirley home.
2:49 p.m. – The physical items from the photos are admitted into evidence.
2:51 p.m. – Shircliff asks Liebig how she knew these pieces from the microwave. She says they were flagged previously and it seemed apparent to her that they were from a microwave. Shircliff asks if she has any idea if the items were tampered with before she saw them. She says she can’t say for sure. Shircliff then objects, saying she can’t know that it was the microwave from the Shirley home.
2:55 p.m. – Judge asks lawyers to approach his bench.
3:40 p.m. – Judge Marnocha re-enters the courtroom and Liebig returns to the witness stand.
3:41 p.m. – The jury re-enters the room.
3:42 p.m. – The State puts out a tarp and puts metal pieces of the microwave on it.
3:43 p.m. – Liebig says we would run out of floor space if all the evidence was displayed. All of the evidence is being stored in two large storage pods.
3:44 p.m. – The microwave pieces are put back into the box and the tarp is collected. Hollingsworth says they will use photos going forward.
3:47 p.m. – More photos are admitted into evidence. This group was found around Shirley’s back yard. They show a matchbox (several matchboxes were found unburned), a plug-in air freshener, a stainless steel appliance door, a small filing cabinet with some intact documents with Monserrate Shirley’s name on it, a blue Samsung cell phone, Diamond Advantage card with Mark Leonard’s name on it, another card with Leonard’s name, a French Lick Casino card, ventilation duct pieces, and a furnace (removed from debris pile, not from a house).
3:57 p.m. – Several of the physical items just shown in photos are admitted into evidence.
3:58 p.m. – Hollingsworth shows one of the cards with Mark Leonard’s name on it to the jury.
3:59 p.m. – More photos admitted into evidence and the jury is given photos for their binders.
4:00 p.m. – The photos are shown via projector. They show the water heater from the Shirley home, several items that make up the fireplace and associated ductwork, the clothes dryer, circuit breaker control box, air conditioner, computer printer, dishwasher, HP all-in-one computer and an Amazon Kindle tablet.
4:09 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks if any TV sets were collected at the scene. Liebig says not to her knowledge.
4:11 p.m. – More photos are admitted into evidence and jurors receive more pictures for their binders.
4:12 p.m. – A photo is shown of the piping and lighter from the fireplace. The physical evidence from the photo is admitted.
4:15 p.m. – A new set of photos is admitted into evidence, and jurors receive copies.
4:20 p.m. – The photos from around foundation of Shirley home show a mostly melted power strip and other wiring, a gas pipe and manifold, fireplace mantle and piping,
4:25 p.m. – Defense objects to Liebig explaining the gas piping in one of the photos. Hollingsworth retracts the question.
4:26 p.m. – More photos show a circuit board, a Compaq laptop, a bundle of charred wiring, control panel from a microwave oven, a programmable digital thermostat, a rewards card and thermostat coil.
4:29 p.m. – Physical evidence from the photos are admitted into evidence.
4:30 p.m. – A new group of photos are admitted, and the jury receives more pictures for their binders.
4:33 p.m. – An electrical control box is shown.
4:35 p.m. – More photos are admitted into evidence. Hollingsworth points out that we have now broken the 1,000-photo mark.
4:40 p.m. – Photos show a gas fireplace burner, a pair of bottle rockets, a small plastic case (maybe from cell phone), a shoulder bag, a Mark Leonard business card, and a photograph from inside the shoulder bag.
4:44 p.m. – A physical gas fireplace burner from 8319 Fieldfare Way is admitted into evidence. There is now a large pile of physical evidence in front of the judge’s bench.
4:50 p.m. – More photos are admitted into evidence. The jury receives more pictures for their binders. Shircliff and Hollingsworth approach the judge’s bench at Shircliff’s request.
4:55 p.m. – One of the photos was not admitted. It is not explained why.
4:56 p.m. – The photos show items collected from the yard of the Shirley home. The photos are of charred wire, a battery, a burned piece of mail with Mark Leonard’s name on it, a set of 4 different business cards and another battery.
5:00 p.m. – Liebig starts saying, “Those photos don’t have…” and then Shircliff objects, saying no question has been asked. Judge Marnocha sustains the objection. Lawyers then approach the judge’s bench.
5:03 p.m. – A new set of photos are admitted into evidence.
5:06 p.m. – The photos, from around Shirley’s home, show a small metal pipe, a piece of burned material, rags and carpet bagging, a metal can, a glass jar, a water heater, various wiring and power cords, a gas grill and propane tank, more charred wiring and a car bumper.
5:14 p.m. – Judge Marnocha asks to speak to the lawyers.
*END OF COURT FOR JUNE 22*
June 18, 2015
9:40 a.m. – Media enters the courtroom.
9:46 p.m. – Defense, judge and prosecution are discussing the use of a small propane bottle and whether it should be used in this case. Judge says he doesn’t see why its necessary to use until there is a witness testifying what the cause of the explosion might be.
9:55 a.m. – Defense objects to the videos shows to the jury yesterday. They said they were not made aware of the videos before they were shown, even though the videos were made at the request of the prosecution. He said it’s useful and corroborates a witnesses’ testimony.
10:06 a.m. – Judge admits that the video wasn’t an actual training video, and the jury can make the decision about that.
10:13 a.m. – Defense asks judge to have State divulge if there are any other pieces of evidence they are not yet aware of. State says there isn’t.
10:18 a.m. – Jury enters the courtroom.
10:20 a.m. – State calls Christopher Brawn, who is a Citizens Energy Group employee. Vice President of Energy Operations. He had the same title in November 2012.
10:22 a.m. – He was notified of the explosion by dispatch and reported to the scene on the next afternoon. When he arrived he checked in with IFD, who granted him access. He met with other Citizens officials were there to find out what had already been done.
10:27 a.m. – He found that all of the tests had passed, meaning the issue was not jurisdictional.
10:28 a.m. – He oversaw some of the testing done on equipment (a piece of kinked pipe and a riser) taken from Monserrate Shirley’s home. Both passed the test.
10:33 a.m. – A document is shown on a projector, showing all of the people who observed the testing. All witnessed that their equipment passed the test.
10:35 a.m. – The next document shows a meter was tested with a specific identifying number. Brawn initially read the meter from the Shirley house. The meter passed the accuracy test. There was a minute leak seen, but it was ruled inconsequential to the event and the test.
10:40 a.m. – While at the scene when he first arrived, Shirley’s meter had not yet been found. He was involved for the search for it. One of his employees uncovered the meter.
10:42 a.m. – Photos of Shirley’s gas meter are admitted into evidence and shown to the jury on a projector.
10:46 a.m. – Brawn explains how a gas meter works. The reading on Shirley’s meter was 5949. That is the number of CCF since it was last read. It continuously runs and never resets, so a previous month’s usage is needed.
10:51 a.m. – He read two other meters on Fieldfare Way. He used those to compare against the amount of gas at Shirley’s home to see if a larger amount of gas had passed through.
10:53 a.m. – A record of the findings is admitted into evidence and shown to the jury.
10:56 a.m. – Brawn concluded that “substantially more gas” passed through Shirley’s home compared to the neighbors’ houses. 186 CCF was recorded at Shirley’s home vs. 72 CCF at the next highest residence. More than double.
10:58 a.m. – Tests were performed to see what normal usage during that time period would have been.
11:00 a.m. – A document is admitted into evidence and shown on the projector. The analysis was a review of 89 months of consumption at Shirley’s home. The standard deviation was calculated. Using the historical analysis, 74 CCF was what the expected usage would have been.
11:03 a.m. – Using statistics, he can say with 95% certainty that the range of use should have been between 46.8 – 101.2 CCF. The gas levels were the equivalent of 3 tons of TNT.
11:08 a.m. – A graph of the consumption at Shirley’s home is admitted into evidence and shown to the jury.
11:10 a.m. – 88 of the 89 of the observations go along the expected part of the line on the graph.
11:27 a.m. – Court resumes. Brawn says one period – the time during the incident – had much higher gas usage than other periods.
11:28 a.m. – The meter was laying in the debris field after the explosion, no longer measuring gas.
11:29 a.m. – Gas weights 0.6 where air weighs 1.0. So if gas was released in a room, the mixture would be more gas than air as you move toward the roof.
11:31 a.m. – Brawn draws a diagram of a 2-story home. He shows how the gas displaces as it moves through.
11:33 a.m. – Brawn says the air/gas mixture would ignite between 5-15% gas. With very low concentrations on the floor and very high concentrations at the ceiling, somewhere in the middle would hit that 5-15% range.
11:35 a.m. – Brawn submitted a report in which he says this was not a jurisdictional issue, meaning the explosion was not the fault of Citizens Energy Group.
11:38 a.m. – Defense attorney Diane Black points out there is also an attic where gas may go, and that houses are not totally sealed and may leak. Air conditioning, doors, fans, etc. can play a role in where the gas goes. Brawn agrees that there is the potential for leakage outside the home.
11:40 a.m. – Black says in the diagram he drew, it says 0% at the bottom and 100% at the top. She also says that’s simplistic. There are many variables in play, she says.
11:41 a.m. – Brawn says he can’t say exactly when the gas meter at the home stopped registering. Black asks if it’s possible that the excess usage happened earlier in the month. He says it’s possible.
11:43 a.m. – Black brings up that in his deposition, he says at one point crews were asked to leave due to possible looting. He says yes that is in the deposition.
11:45 a.m. – Hollingsworth asks if that was misinformation. Brawn says he later learned that in fact it was misinformation and there was no reason to fear looting. “The scene was well-contained,” he said. Brawn is then excused.
11:47 a.m. – State recalls Mario Garza to the stand. He was lead IFD arson investigator during the explosion investigation. A set of photos is admitted into evidence.
11:50 a.m. – The photos are shown to the jury on a projector.
11:52 a.m. – Robinson asks Garza to identify the area at the scene where data was collected from. This was Shirley’s house, and the houses immediately surrounding it.
11:53 a.m. – There were two separate occasions where they went to the scene to collect data. He let the crews in both times. “Nothing went in or out without my knowing,” he said.
11:54 a.m. – He also oversaw all that they did. If he wasn’t there, they weren’t there. Between the searches, efforts were made to protect debris. IMPD were present to help protect its integrity and it was fenced in.
11:56 a.m. – Outside of the fence, they still searched yards, homes, lawns and gutters. He asked Citizens Energy Group to send a camera into the sewers. This extended beyond Fieldfare Way.
11:58 a.m. – He says he starts at the front of the building and moves clockwise, searching each part of the building. He requested manpower from IFD who would be assigned to assist. In some of the debris, there are red flags. Garza says those show something that’s worth investigating.
12:00 p.m. – The Marion County Crime Lab assisted in collecting the evidence and investigating it. There are also yellow cones with numbers in the photos. The evidence technician placed those after something was removed from the scene.
12:01 p.m. – Garza says whatever is on top comes first, and then they work their way down to the ground.
12:02 p.m. – A new photo shows the same area, but at a “lower layer.” Another photo shows continued progression on the area. Finally, a photo shows the bottom level of the area. A bucket is in the photo, Robinson asks why. Garza says this was to help with transportation of the evidence.
12:05 p.m. – A drawing made by Garza showing the grids used to search the area is admitted into evidence. The drawing is shown on the projector. It shows various areas and he explains that some places had dumpsters to store the debris.
12:10 p.m. – Robinson goes back to the photos from the scene. Garza points out that some of the dirt in the area was excavated in case something important was stuck in the ground.
12:11 p.m. – They used a metal detector to find areas of interest. There was some heavy machinery used, but gas-powered equipment wasn’t allowed.
12:14 p.m. – A photo shows dirt being excavated and crews going through it by hand. In some places, they excavated a foot or more.
12:16 p.m. – Photo shows the basement of the Longworth house, which was also sorted through and excavated.
12:17 p.m. – A photo shows several dumpsters used to collect evidence. A locked gate secures them. Police officers watched it at night to ensure they weren’t tampered with.
12:18 p.m. – Photos show that the men were using hand-tools like you would see in a garden. These were used because some pieces of evidence were so small.
12:20 p.m. – Garza says there were about 400 pieces of evidence collected.
12:21 p.m. – Photos of a few pieces are admitted into evidence.
12:23 p.m. – One photo shows a manifold fixture from the Shirley residence. Garza said he noticed that on the left side of the manifold there should be a Maxitrol regulator. The main valve is in the on position, as well as other valves going to the fireplace, oven, etc.
12:25 p.m. – The one for the fireplace was slightly closed but still in the on position.
12:27 p.m. – A photo shows the remains of the microwave oven from the Shirley home. There was an aluminum cylinder in the area that had indications of an explosion. The microwave itself appeared to have had a force on the inside that pushed the walls out. This was outside the normal damage of just being crushed or thrown.
12:31 p.m. – Robinson concludes questioning, and says Garza may be recalled. Defense does not cross-examine.
1:40 a.m. – Jury re-enters the courtroom.
1:42 p.m. – State recalls Lt. Mario Garza to the stand.
1:43 p.m. – Robinson asks if there was a specific item he was looking for at the scene. He says they were looking for the valve that shuts off the gas to the fireplace.
1:44 p.m. – Due to the size of the item, they put in extra effort to find it. Robinson ends questioning and defense does not cross-examine.
1:46 p.m. – State calls Doug Person to the stand. He is an IMPD detective.
1:47 p.m. – He was asked to drop of a piece of evidence (a cardboard box containing a silver metal cylinder) to the crime lab. At some point later he picked it up. Robinson has no further questions.
1:48 p.m. – Diane Black begins cross-examination. He was the first detective to interview Monserrate Shirley and Mark Leonard. State objects and it’s overruled.
1:49 p.m. – Black says she was distraught during the interview. State objects and both councils approach the judge at his request.
1:51 p.m. – Black asks if he is an investigator for IMPD. He says yes. She asks if he did anything else besides handle the cardboard box. Pearson says yes. Black asks several more partial questions that the State objects to. Person is excused and Black follows him out of the courtroom, talking to him briefly before returning.
1:55 p.m. – State calls Dirk Shaw to the stand. He works for the Marion County Crime Lab.
1:57 p.m. – He received some carpet samples for analysis. He was looking for igniting liquid. They are able to extract liquid vapors from items and store them in a sealed can with a strip of charcoal, which can then be tested.
2:00 p.m. – This method is scientifically reliable. When he received evidence in this case, he got 8 cans, one of which was a comparative sample. No padding, just the charred carpet.
2:01 p.m. – If gasoline is poured on carpet, it will penetrate through and move toward the lowest level it can. Gasoline is subject to evaporation, especially when there is heat.
2:02 p.m. – He then smells the samples to see if gas is present. In this case, he did not notice an odor. He then proceeded with the testing.
2:03 p.m. – He could not find any ignitable liquids in the samples during the testing. He says this was not a surprise for him.
2:04 p.m. – Robinson asks him to identify the cardboard box with a silver cylinder inside. He is able to do so because his initials are on it.
2:05 p.m. – Robinson asks him to identify photos of the box and also what’s inside. He does and the photos are admitted into evidence.
2:09 p.m. – The photos are shown to the jury on the projector. The first photo shows the cylinder. The other shows the cylinder and its box. Slideshow ends.
2:10 p.m. – He said it was a bottle that appeared to be metal (aluminum). It had ruptured and burst, as if it had exploded. The lid had been blown off. It was slightly deformed and there was heavy charring. Along one edge the medal had become paper-thin.
2:12 p.m. – He was given another bottle for comparison purposes. Robinson asks if he saw any similarities and Black objects. They approach the judge.
2:13 p.m. – Robinson asks the question again. Shaw says the comparison bottle was a bit smaller but the same general shape. He says it was metal but did not test if it was aluminum.
2:16 p.m. – He was asked to test the item to see if liquid was present. He said none could have seeped in and he saw nothing on the outside.
2:17 p.m. – He said there was a lot of pitting and corrosion on the inside from whatever had been stored inside. There was charring in a certain location of the bottle.
2:18 p.m. – There was enough pressure in the bottle that distorted the metal.
2:19 p.m. – Whatever was inside the bottle created so much pressure that it began to thin out the metal.
2:20 p.m. – He says he believes the bottle did, in fact, explode. Robinson ends questioning and Black begins cross-examination. She asked if there was a difference in length. He says yes. She asks if he measured the threaded tops. He says no.
2:21 p.m. – Black asks if he knows where the cylinder was found at the scene. He says he does not. He also does not know if other cylinders were found.
2:22 p.m. – Black asks if he requested the comparison bottle to be sent to him. He says no. No further questioning. Judge asks to speak with lawyers.
JURY LEAVES COURTROOM
2:25 p.m. – Black asks him if he knew a flammable liquid was inside. He said it was likely probable. Black says could it have been any other liquid. He said if there was enough pressure, it could have been water. But it was likely ignitable.
2:26 p.m. – Black asks if he knows where the comparison bottle came from. He says no.
2:27 p.m. – Black asks if he can say 100% or with scientific certainty that there was an ignitable liquid inside. He says no.
2:28 p.m. – She asks what he thinks caused it to explode. He says an intense buildup of pressure. Black has no further questions.
2:29 p.m. – Robinson asks if he can say 100% or with scientific certainty that there was something inside the bottle. He says yes. He cannot be certain of the exact degree of the liquid needed for it to heat and build pressure.
2:30 p.m. – Based on the pitting, distortion and paper-thin nature, Robinson asks if the bottle was likely put into a microwave. Shaw says yes. He is then excused.
JURY RE-ENTERS COURTROOM
2:37 p.m. – State calls John Shirley to the witness stand. He was married to Monserrate Shirley from July 17, 1993 – July 25, 2011.
2:38 p.m. – They moved into Richmond Hill at the end of 2003 or beginning of 2004. They had the house built.
2:40 p.m. – A floor plan of the Shirley home is admitted into evidence. Robinson asks if after their divorce, he signed papers leaving the house to her. “Yes, it was part of the divorce decree,” he said. The divorce papers are admitted into evidence.
2:41 p.m. – He signed the house over to her on June 13, 2011. After the divorce, the last time he was in the house was August or September of 2011.
2:42 p.m. – They had a daughter during their time together. Robinson asks him to identify a couple of photos. He says one is of the house, and one is of the living room. The photos are admitted into evidence.
2:44 p.m. – Jury is shown the living room photo. A painting above the fireplace is pointed out. He says they spent quite a bit of money on it and it meant a lot to his daughter.
2:45 p.m. – In terms of furnishings, the room is different because he took some things with him.
2:46 p.m. – He says they decided to have a gas line to put in to help start wood fires.
2:48 p.m. – Furnace, hot water heater and fireplace were the only items in the house that used gas. At one point they replaced the gas line with an “artificial gas heater.” The gas lighter was later re-installed because it didn’t work any better. This was in the fall of 2010. He lived in the home for several months after that and had no problems with that system.
2:50 p.m. – The gas would flow straight up, but did not go into the living room. Turn it on just for a bit to ignite the wood, then shut it off.
2:51 p.m. – The gas would be turned on with a small key to the left of the fireplace.
2:54 p.m. – A photo is shown of the log lighter. Then a photo is shown of gas lines similar to the ones in his former house.
2:55 p.m. – He says he was contacted by the ATF after the explosion. They asked him to draw a diagram of what he remembers of how the gas lines come into the house. The drawing is admitted into evidence.
2:57 p.m. – The drawing is shown to the jury. He goes through the drawing, explaining each part of it.
3:03 p.m. – He said he was working three jobs to pay child support. One full time, two part time. Communication from his daughter was “nill,” he said, and explained that was Monserrate’s doing. He was working the night of the explosion.
3:04 p.m. – He got a text from his daughter around 11 p.m. telling him about the explosion. She told him she thought it was a plane crash.
3:06 p.m. – The next morning, when he went to his next job, he got a text from his friend asking if his daughter and her mom were OK.
3:07 p.m. – He called Monserrate and asked what happened. She said their house blew up. He said he wasn’t sure where Brooke, the daughter, was staying that night. He asked about “Snowball,” his daughter’s cat. They got the cat around her 7th or 8th birthday. He is a white Persian cat.
3:08 p.m. – He assumed the cat had died in the explosion. Monserrate said she had the cat staying somewhere else. He thought that was unusual. (Cat is still alive).
3:09 p.m. – While he was still living there, when they went on trips, the cat would stay at the home. They didn’t normally board the cat.
3:10 p.m. – Law enforcement contacted him at his place of employment and asked him questions. He answered all of them. He was on camera working all of his jobs, so he wasn’t uncomfortable.
3:13 p.m. – Robinson asks him to identify photos of golf club sets. They are admitted into evidence and shown to the jury. There are two club sets. Another photo shows a driver head. He moved out in Feb. 2011. He said she limited his ability to retrieve some items. With all the jobs he was working, he says he didn’t have time for golf.
3:15 p.m. – He said the divorce was rather uncivil and unpleasant. He was often cut off from his daughter. He still cared about Brooke very much, he said. Robinson ends questioning. Lawyers approach the judge.
3:41 p.m. – Cross-examination of John Shirley begins by Diane Black. Black says Monserrate’s sister lived in Richmond Hill as well and that’s why Monserrate wanted to live there. They previously lived in a house in a neighborhood across the street called Sugar Commons.
3:42 p.m. – They moved because Monserrate wanted a bigger house. John says yes. Black asked if he agreed with that. He said not necessarily – it was something she was mostly doing on her own. She met with the builders on her own. He was concerned about the cost.
3:45 p.m. – Monserrate went out and bought a used GMC Envoy without talking with him. He asked her why she didn’t buy a new one. The next day, she took it back and bought a brand new one. (People in court laughed).
3:46 p.m. – They filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy. He paid for a lot of that and for Brooke’s private schooling. Black said Monserrate at some point stopped making bankruptcy payments. John said he was not aware of that.
3:48 p.m. – Judge calls the lawyers to his bench.
3:50 p.m. – Black asks John about his relationship with Monserrate after the divorce. Many of the issues were about child support or seeing Brooke. The daughter went to Our Lady of Greenwood Catholic School. He paid for most of that, as placed in the divorce decree.
3:51 p.m. – She had his wages garnished after he was late on child support. They worked something out verbally but then something changed after she met Mark Leonard.
3:52 p.m. – Monserrate made friends with some of the neighbors on Fieldfare Way. He wasn’t home often in the evenings due to working late shifts. Brooke and one of the neighbor’s daughters became friends.
3:54 p.m. – He supported the family while Monserrate got her registered nurse’s license. Black asked if she would talk about her work. “That’s the only thing she knows…being a nurse,” John said. He said she was a great nurse and saved lives. No further questions from Black or Robinson. John Shirley is excused.
3:56 p.m. – State calls Richard Reed to the witness stand. He works for United Water. Has been there for 9 years.
3:57 p.m. – In November 2012, he was asked to “televise,” or look at, sewer lines in Richmond Hill. He was aware of the explosion that occurred.
3:58 p.m. – Robinson joked she never looked in sewer lines and is afraid of what she might be in there. Reed said everything he did was on video tape and he was told to tell authorities everything he saw.
4:00 p.m. – Robinson asks Reed to identify a map of sewer lines. The map is admitted into evidence and shown to the jury.
4:02 p.m. – Every sewer has it’s own unique number, so he was instructed to a specific manhole in Richmond Hill.
4:06 p.m. – Each time he surveys a segment, a separate document is created.
4:09 p.m. – A DVD of the videos Reed created in the Richmond Hill sewers is admitted into evidence and presented to the jury.
4:10 p.m. – In the video, a sewer line can be seen. The camera is moving through it. It appears to have some sort of night vision so that the inside can be seen.
4:16 p.m. – Normally the pipe is re-cleaned before the camera is put in. That wasn’t the case in this situation.
4:17 p.m. – Robinson asks if he found anything out of the ordinary. Reed says no, and Robinson ends questioning. Defense attorney David Shircliff asks to confirm the video was taken a week after the explosion. He also confirms that the camera was robotic and there were no actual people down there. Reed says that is true.
4:19 p.m. – Juror asked what size pipe it was. Reed said a medium pipe. Reed is then excused.
4:20 p.m. – State calls Gary Worland to the witness stand. He works for Citizens Energy Group as the Manager of Customer Field Services. They are the first responders to emergencies. He was there the night of the explosion.
4:21 p.m. – He helped identify items found during the investigation. Prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth asks him to explain a log lighter. It’s a gas-started fireplace that burns wood. Gas fireplaces have a metal pan filled with sand. As gas rises through the sand, it burns around ceramic logs, which absorb the heat and radiate it out to the room. A log lighter is used to start wood burning, then is shut off.
4:23 p.m. – He has installed hundreds of log lighters. A valve is installed in the floor or wall for the gas. He obtained a valve for investigators so that they would know what it looked like.
4:26 p.m. – Hollingsworth produces a box with a log-lighter valve inside of it. It is “Dante” brand.
4:27 p.m. – Worland says they’re normally installed in the same room of the fireplace, within 3-5 feet. Typically installed in floor or wall. It’s turned off and on by using a key. Hollingsworth ends questioning.
4:28 p.m. – Black asks about the “gas bible” he referred to. He said it is a book with codes and standards. There are two different versions. It includes venting and precautions.
4:30 p.m. – Worland is excused.
4:31 p.m. – State calls Special Agent Eric Jensen to the witness stand. He is an ATF agent – bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives. They also handle arsons.
4:32 p.m. – He has been with ATF for 23 years.
4:33 p.m. – He was called to Richmond Hill initially to interview victims.
4:34 p.m. – He was later asked to search for a valve. Hollingsworth asks if it was a log-lighter valve. He says yes.
4:35 p.m. – They pulled up dirt using a bobcat and spent 8-10 hours looking throughout the dirt. The valve was never found as far as he knows. No further questions. Jensen is excused.
4:36 p.m. – Jason Tortorici, ATF special agent, is called to the witness stand.
4:37 p.m. – He was called upon to assist on Monday, November 12, 2012 to interview victims. He interviewed John Shirley about his former residence.
4:38 p.m. – On November 15 and 16 he was asked to search for evidence. In particular, they looked for the gas valve. They did not find it and he’s not aware it was ever found. There were probably 20-25 people looking, he said. It was an organized process. Hollingsworth ends questioning and there is no cross-examination. Tortorici is excused.
*END OF COURT FOR JUNE 18*
June 17, 2015
9:27 a.m. – Media enters the courtroom. Mark Leonard is sitting at the defense table wearing a white shirt and red tie.
9:39 a.m. – Judge John Marnocha enters the courtroom.
9:41 a.m. – A photo of aluminum bottle that resembles an item that could have been an explosion source won’t be admitted into evidence. Judge says it may suggest more about the case than the State intends.
9:47 a.m. – The State wants the jury to have notebooks that have photo evidence because there are hundreds of photos. Judge says State can’t pick and choose the photos. Also says there should be dividers and witness lists.
9:58 p.m. – Defense objects to the use of juror notebooks. Attorney David Shircliff says the notebooks with evidence shouldn’t go back with jurors while they are on breaks. The State actually agrees with this point, and it’s agreed the notebooks will be left on the chairs.
10:03 a.m. – Judge talks about the amount of physical items in evidence. He wants to know why the physical items need to be introduced when they have photos. Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson says they likely won’t bring the largest items (doors, water heaters, etc.) into the courtroom.
10:10 a.m. – State says a resident was subpoenaed by the defense. The resident called several times and no calls were returned. Defense says they’ll take care of the situation.
10:12 a.m. – Jury enters the courtroom. Judge asks them if they have discussed the case or done research. No hands rise.
10:14 a.m. – Judge reviews the juror notebooks with them.
10:16 a.m. – Lt. Mario Garza takes the witness stand for cross-examination, continuing from yesterday.
10:17 a.m. – Defense attorney Diane Black asks Garza to identify a map of the southeast side of Indianapolis. It is then admitted into evidence.
10:18 a.m. – Garza says the map shows his house, the Richmond Hill subdivision and Mary Bryan Elementary. He notes his house if just under 3 miles from the explosion.
10:19 a.m. – Black talks about him thinking a car crashed into his home, his neighbors thinking it might be a plane crash.
10:21 a.m. – Black says he had one advantage over the Richmond Hill residents: he is a firefighter. He had his radio and was able to learn that there was an explosion.
10:22 a.m. – Black points out that it was through the radio transmissions that he found out the location of the explosion.
10:23 a.m. – Even though he didn’t have his fire equipment, he wanted to help however he could.
10:24 a.m. – He got to Richmond Hill and saw the destruction. It reminded him of New York in 9/11. He is a member of a search and rescue task force in Indiana and he was working at ground zero within days of the event.
10:25 a.m. – In Richmond Hill, he saw that the Shirley house was completely leveled and other houses were severely damaged.
10:27 a.m. – He looked up and down the street seeing the amount of cars and knew it wasn’t going to be good.
10:28 a.m. – Without his fire gear, he couldn’t do much to help. He said it was very frustrating.
10:29 a.m. – Black wants to talk about his investigation experience. He says he treats all fire investigations the same. He says with a large situation like this, treat it like a cheeseburger that’s too big: cut it into parts and work on each one.
10:30 a.m. – Black says that this wasn’t a standard fire investigation where he circles the house and takes photos. “Actually, the process was the same,” he said, “It’s just that there were no walls.”
10:33 a.m. – Black talks about the long days and nights he put in in order to do the best job he could as lead fire investigator.
10:34 a.m. – Black says the results of his investigation could lead to an arrest. Because of that, she says he wanted to go by the book – NFPA 921.
10:38 a.m. – Defense and State are called to the judge’s bench to discuss admitting FPA 921 into evidence. He will decide later if he will admit into evidence
10:41 a.m. – Chapter 4 discusses expectation bias – meaning the investigator gets a premature conclusion. To get around this, it says to use the scientific method.
10:44 a.m. – Data can be discovered through observations and experimentation. Garza says it’s more of a process of always taking in evidence and creating a hypothesis. Then you must try and disprove that hypothesis.
10:47 a.m. – Black says if you can’t test the hypothesis, that’s where confirmation bias begins. She sits back down as this is about were yesterday was left off.
10:49 a.m. – Robinson asks if this was one of his biggest cases. “Yes,” he said. Also points out that his process is always the same. The scale may be different, but the process is the same.
10:51 a.m. – Robinson sits back down. There is no cross-examination.
11:13 a.m. – Judge Marnocha re-enters the courtroom. A gas meter is set up in front of the jury box.
11:18 a.m. – State calls Paul Puckett to the witness stand. He is employed with Citizens Energy Group, the local gas company in Indianapolis. He oversees first responders and dispatchers. He also oversees the meter reader department and the people who turn off or on the gas lines.
11:19 a.m. – Robinson asks if there is a procedure in place for responding to gas leak or explosion. He says once they receive the information, they dispatch a person to the site. They call it a “code blue.” Once an incident is confirmed, it’s called a “code red” and more people are sent to the location.
11:20 a.m. – Puckett confirms they received a call from the Indianapolis Fire Department the night of the explosion. He is considered to be “in charge” during those situations. However, he must comply with fire department/police requests at active scenes.
11:22 a.m. – Puckett is required to notify his superiors of “code red” incidents. He did so in this case. He said he personally responded to the scene of the Richmond Hill explosion.
11:24 a.m. – At the scene, he said while looking for their equipment, he noticed a regulator was missing. He verified that it was a two-pound system. In place of the regulator, black piping was put in.
11:27 a.m. – Photos of what Puckett saw on that day are admitted into evidence. A PowerPoint of information about natural gas is shown to the jury.
11:31 a.m. – Robinson asks Puckett to explain to the jury what natural gas is. A fossil fuel, 92-94% methane gas. It’s odorless and colorless. They add a product that smells like sulfur that is tracked. Natural gas is flammable.
11:33 a.m. – Methane/natural gas is lighter than air (.60 where air is 1).
11:35 a.m. – Robinson asks him to identify what natural gas might smell like. A card that has a scratch-and-sniff spot is used in employee training. The card is admitted into evidence. Cards are given to the bailiff to be distributed to the jury.
11:38 a.m. – The judge requests that the cards are collected afterward so the courtroom doesn’t smell like natural gas. Mark Leonard laughs.
11:39 a.m. – Robinson asks Puckett to describe how natural gas gets to homes. Puckett says it’s a fossil fuel typically found in rock formations. It’s typically mined or welled. Once brought to the surface, water and other elements are stripped out. It is then put into a pipeline system. The pipes flow from Texas, and there are things in place to maintain pressure.
11:41 a.m. – Once it gets to their regulator stations, it’s sent to the homes via mains and used as needed. The main in Richmond Hill was 30 psi. Into the homes is about 2 psi. What’s actually used is about ¼ psi.
11:44 a.m. – Puckett uses the gas meter/main to show the residents the different parts and how it works. Leonard takes notes.
11:48 a.m. – Puckett shows where the diving line is between what the company owns and what the homeowner owns.
11:50 a.m. – Robinson asks about his arrival at the scene on the night of the explosion and what he saw. Puckett said he’s been doing this for 28 years. Also says it was difficult to get in due to emergency personnel.
11:51 a.m. – He saw a lot of debris lying around. He was a block away from the site, and still saw damage to homes. He wanted to get a plan in place to make sure gas was turned off.
11:53 a.m. – He says there were fires at some of the risers even where the house was not, leading him to believe this was a natural gas issue.
11:54 a.m. – He says there were 10-15 people from Citizens Energy there.
11:55 a.m. – There were three or four houses that were severely damaged, he said, but couldn’t identify the explosion site immediately. He was able to later.
11:56 a.m. – Citizens is required to notify other agencies when an event has occurred.
11:57 a.m. – After the gas is shut off, they’re required to test any jurisdictional equipment (owned by the gas company).
11:58 a.m. – Puckett says leak surveying is done to measure the amount, presence and spread of gas in an area. The purpose is to see if gas is present, and to see if it’s moving.
12:01 p.m. – The leak survey instruments found that there was no migration of gas under the ground of the Shirley home.
12:02 p.m. – Natural gas has a flammability range. Too little, it won’t ignite. Same for too much gas. 5-15 percent is the range.
12:03 p.m. – For a fire or explosion, you need a fuel source, structure to contain the gas, air mix with gas, it must be within flammable range and must have an ignition source.
12:05 p.m. – Gas on the outside can follow sewer lines into a home, but that’s why surveying is done to check for migration. The results were that this was not a factor in this case.
12:06 p.m. – A map is shown of Marion County, showing the gas lines and distribution centers. Another map is shown of the Richmond Hill subdivision showing the gas lines and mains. He shows which mains were shut off after the explosion.
12:11 p.m. – A graphic is shown depicting how gas get into the home.
12:12 p.m. – A photo of piping is shown, which is what is used to get gas into the home. (Piping shown is the part owned by the homeowner).
12:16 p.m. – A photo of a gas meter is shown. Puckett identifies each part and explains its purpose, followed by a photo of a gas meter at a home.
1:41 p.m. – Judge Marnocha re-enters the room. The defense objects to videos to be shown to the jury. Diane Black believes the videos were misleading. She says they were reconstructive, not demonstrative.
1:45 p.m. – State says it doesn’t meet the minimum requirements for reconstructive evidence, and was never meant to be so.
1:46 p.m. – Judge overrules the objections.
1:49 p.m. – Jury re-enters the courtroom and Puckett takes the witness stand again. The videos are admitted into evidence and played.
1:52 p.m. – In the video, a model home (small and on a table) is pumped to 20% gas. It is then ventilated to the 15% range, which is within the flammability range. It is then ignited and flames shoot from the house after a small explosion, destroying it. The video ends.
1:57 p.m. – Robinson asks Puckett to explain a maxitrol regulator. It’s typically in a house closet or garage. It reduces the gas level before it gets to the home. He says that the home that exploded had a maxitrol regulated system with the maxitrol regulator missing.
1:59 p.m. – Robinson asks him to identify the regulator on the gas meter prop.
2:02 p.m. – Puckett says that when the regulator is removed, there is a distinct hissing sound.
2:03 p.m. – A new video is admitted into evidence and played. It shows gas pressure in a regular setting and then without the regulator. Without the regulator, it is noticeably louder.
2:08 p.m. – Puckett says testing on gas is done every week in their systems.
2:12 p.m. – A summary document made by Puckett regarding the testing done at the site is admitted into evidence.
2:12 p.m. – Puckett says you would only have a maxitrol regulator if it were a 2-pound system. Richmond Hill homes did have the 2-pound system.
2:17 p.m. – Diane Black begins to cross-examine Puckett. She says the video with the pressure was created May 28, 2015. State objects but judge allows it. Puckett says he isn’t sure about the date but says it was made within the last month.
2:19 p.m. – Black says the other video showing the house was made the same day, and even within the same hour. Puckett says the time stamp might not be accurate, but that they were made the same day.
2:20 p.m. – Puckett says Robinson asked him to make the videos. While those demonstrations were used for training, those particular videos had not been used for training. Black ends cross-examination.
2:26 p.m. – A juror submits a question for Puckett to the judge. “Could a hose or pipe come loose and leak gas?” He says a hose, maybe but not a pipe because it’s threaded. He says he’s never heard of that happening. Robinson asks if a regulator could be removed without someone knowing? He says no, not without someone knowing. Black asks if the regulator is gone, but the valve is closed, would there be gas coming out? Puckett says no. He is excused from the witness stand.
2:30 p.m. – State calls Curtis Popp to the witness stand. He works for Citizens Energy Group and has worked there for 20 years. He is a licensed professional engineer.
2:32 p.m. – He learned of the explosion via the email emergency alert system just before midnight.
2:33 p.m. – He called in to confirm he received the alert, and then called Puckett to begin coordinating efforts. He arrived at the scene and assessed the situation.
2:34 p.m. – “It was beyond chaos, it was horrible,” he said. There was debris everywhere, he noted. He said two main valves needed to be closed. One had been closed before they arrived.
2:36 p.m. – He noted the missing regulator. Now, one of Popp’s duties is in billing. Records of the billings are kept.
2:38 p.m. – Each meter has an identifying number connected to a service address.
2:40 p.m. – An image of billing records is shown to the jury.
2:43 p.m. – Prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth asks Popp to point out the identifying information there.
2:45 p.m. – When a meter is read, it is not reset. It continues to increase over time. They’re showing screen shots of the records as we get closer to November 2012.
2:47 p.m. – Two reads that month were estimated. One was because the house no longer existed and the account was closed. The estimate was made based on the prior gas usage of the home. October 26 was the last time the meter was read before the explosion.
2:50 p.m. – A report of the information in the screenshots is admitted into evidence and shown.
2:54 p.m.- At one point, the billing records changed from John Shirley to Monserrate Shirley. Hollingsworth ends his questioning.
2:57 p.m. – A juror submits a question for Popp to the judge. “Why was November 11 not included in the report?” Popp says they’re not perfect calendar months. All time frames are accounted for prior to the explosion.
2:59 p.m. – Black asks him about arriving at the scene again. She says he got there two hours after the explosion and asked if it was secured at this time. He says no. Black asked if people were moving about in the debris field. He says only those who were able to get through. He said as far as he could tell, it was just firefighters.
3:01 p.m. – Popp says the utility workers were wearing proper attire at the scene. A juror submits another question for Popp to the judge.
3:02 p.m. – “Did the meter from the house have a final reading on it after the explosion.” Popp says it did. The man who read that final meter will be testifying on Thursday. Popp is excused.
3:39 p.m. – Jury re-enters the courtroom and State calls their 100th witness, Nick Polley, to the stand.
3:41 p.m. – He is employed with Citizens Energy Group. He was present when jurisdictional equipment was collected by Citizens. He was also present during the recovery of the meter from the exploded home. He took the evidence to the facility where they were stored. No further questions are asked of Polley and he is excused. “Easy enough, right?” David Shircliff jokes.
3:45 p.m. – State calls Dan Novak to the stand. He is employed with the State with the utility regulatory commission. They call on jurisdictional operators like Citizens Energy. He worked for Vectren (formerly Indiana Gas) for several years.
3:48 p.m. – His division works on pipeline safety. When there is an explosion involving natural gas, his agency gets involved.
3:52 p.m. – He says he became aware of the Richmond Hill explosion due to being notified by Citizens Energy Group. His roll was to assist other pipeline safety officials. They look at jurisdictional piping only.
3:54 p.m. – In this case, they were trying to figure out what would be pressure tested. This is done to determine if there are leaks. NTSB officials were on the scene as well.
3:56 p.m. – Novak took photos during the investigation.
3:58 p.m. – Novak’s photos are admitted into evidence and shown on a projector.
4:01 p.m. – First photo shows a riser at the Shirley home. The second shows a section of pipe at Shirley’s home that was hit with a backhoe. That section of pipe was removed, to be pressure tested at a later date.
4:03 p.m. – A new photo of the riser is shown. The riser was removed and the service line was capped. A photo is then shown of a crewmember capping the other end of the pipe. This is the section that was removed. The remaining part of the pipe would be tested with the main.
4:04 p.m. – A photo shows a gauge test and bottle test being conducted. More photos of the pressure test are shown.
4:06 p.m. – Four residences on Fieldfare Way were tested, including Shirley’s home. The houses to the north and two houses to the south were tested. Those were chosen due to their proximity to the explosion site.
4:08 p.m. – The purpose of this is to check for gas migration, which was discussed ealier.
4:09 p.m. – The meter at Shirley’s home was able to be tested. It was found in the debris and photographed before being put in evidence. “It was in good condition,” he said.
4:11 p.m. – A photo shows the manifold after some debris was removed. The valve is in the on position, meaning gas was flowing. The place where the regulator should be is visible in the photo. The regulator is missing.
4:13 p.m. – A photo is shown of a neighbor’s home, which shows the gas line with a properly installed regulator. It looks significantly different from the one at Shirley’s home.
4:14 p.m. – A photo shows the fireplace assembly, where a shutoff valve is missing.
4:17 p.m. – Novak says he remained on site for a few days to assist ATF personnel to show them what a proper installation should look like.
4:18 p.m. – At this point, all of the jurisdictional piping has been ruled out as being the cause of the explosion. A jury member submits 5 questions to the judge. He says they are similar.
4:19 p.m. – “Would some skill be required to remove the regular and replace it with pipe?” Novak says only basic knowledge would be needed, and the information could be found online. He is then excused after defense turns down cross-examination.
4:21 p.m. – State calls William Boyd to the stand. He is employed with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission – pipeline safety division.
4:22 p.m. – He was present at the scene of the explosion after being alerted. He says their primary concern was testing to see if a natural gas leak had occurred. He said it did appear that natural gas caused the explosion. There was no evidence to the contrary.
4:24 p.m. – It was determined that it was not on the Citizens Energy Group side. Robinson rests and Shircliff begins cross-examination.
4:26 p.m. – Shircliff asks if their testing stopped at the jurisdictional part. Novak says yes and Shircliff rests. Novak is excused.
4:28 p.m. – State calls Aribn Hhatre. He works for the pipeline safety division of NTSB. Has been there since 1998. He also worked for California utility companies.
4:31 p.m. – Their division investigates after pipeline accidents involving injury or death.
4:32 p.m. – NTSB investigates all accidents involving pipelines. NTSB responded to Richmond Hill after proper criteria was met – deaths, significant damage.
4:33 p.m. – He arrived on Sunday and arrived on scene around 8:30 p.m.
4:35 p.m. – When he comes to the scene as NTSB, he said they are in control until he determines it was not a jurisdictional issue. He oversaw testing done by others.
4:37 p.m. – Some of the testing was done before he arrived.
4:39 p.m. – During his investigation, he was able to corroborate much the of the results of the previous testing.
4:40 p.m. – He was the one who tagged the items with NTSB tags to be looked at further in the investigation.
4:42 p.m. – The results of the testing showed no jurisdictional faults. He advised his managers in Washington that the gas did not migrate and he was convinced that it was not a jurisdictional accident. He then packed his bag and left. Defense does not cross-examine and he is excused.
*END OF COURT FOR JUNE 17*
June 16, 2015
More witnesses were called to the stand, and jurors heard from the mothers of Jennifer and Dion Longworth. More here.
June 15, 2015
The State continues to call Richmond Hill residents to the stand, who give their accounts as to what occurred the night of the explosion. Many recalled the futile efforts by first responders to save one of the victims. Prosecutors said they plan to present evidence by mid-week. More..
June 11, 2015
Witness testimony continued in South Bend Thursday. Read the latest here from Russ McQuaid.
June 10, 2015
10:00 a.m. – Media enters the courtroom. The prosecution has a couple of boxes of evidence behind their table. The prosecutors, defense team and defendant Mark Leonard are already in the room.
10:07 a.m. – Judge John Marnocha enters the courtroom. He says a juror had a tragedy in the family, and so that juror was excused and replaced with an alternate.
10:10 a.m. – Jury enters the room. Judge Marnocha asks if they have read or researched anything about the case or spoke about the case with anyone. All say no.
10:11 a.m. – State calls Pamela Brainerd to the witness stand. She was a Richmond Hill resident in November of 2012. She had lived there for 8 years and had the house built. She still lives there. In 2012, her daughter was living with her.
10:13 a.m. – State prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth has her highlight her property on a map in the courtroom.
10:14 a.m. – Just after 11 p.m. on November 10, 2012, Brainerd was home and was going to listen to the news. She had dozed off watching the TV.
10:15 p.m. – She heard a “great big bang.” She thought maybe somebody hit her house with a car. Her front door had come off of its hinges. She called her neighbor to see if she heard anything. The neighbor was not home.
10:16 a.m. – She went outside and saw a “humungous fire.” She says everyone was outside. She stayed on her property, because her door was stuck open and didn’t want her dogs to get out.
10:17 a.m. – She was eventually told to go to Mary Bryan Elementary School, and was able to take her dogs.
10:19 a.m. – Photos of Brainerd’s home are admitted into evidence and shown to the jury in black and white.
10:20 a.m. – Brainerd explains that windows were blown in, her door was blown open. Some things on the walls were knocked down. Everything on her fireplace mantle was knocked down and the mantle itself was pulled from the wall. She also had garage door damage.
10:21 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks if she gave consent for any damages. She says no and is excused. Defense does not cross-examine.
10:22 a.m. – State calls Theresa Carmichael to the witness stand. Carmichael was not at her Richmond Hill home the night of the explosion. She lived with her daughter and their puppy. The puppy was the only one at home at the time of the explosion.
10:24 a.m. – Carmichael says she was around the corner and felt the explosion. She says she went into a panic mode after she was told a house exploded.
10:25 a.m. – She was unable to get to her home and was redirected to Mary Bryan. She was not able to get back to her home for a time, but was eventually escorted by police to check on the home. She couldn’t find the puppy for about 15 minutes, but eventually found her shaking under the bed.
10:27 a.m. – Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson asks Carmichael to point out her property on the map.
10:28 a.m. – Photos of Carmichael’s home are admitted into evidence. They are shown to the jury (some in black and white, some in color). She says all of her entry doors were blown open and all her windows were broken.
10:30 p.m. – Cabinets were separating from the walls, bath and shower needed to be replaced, she needed new siding. “It was a lot of damage,” said Carmichael.
10:31 a.m. – Robinson asks if she gave consent to the damage. Carmichael says no. Defense Attorney David Shircliff asks where she went that night after leaving the school. She says she went to a friend’s house.
10:32 a.m. – A juror submits a question to the judge, inquiring about the monetary amount of damage. She says approximately $78,000. Carmichael is excused.
10:33 a.m. – State calls David Clager to the witness stand. He lived in Richmond Hill the night of the explosion with his wife and baby daughter. They were at home the night of the explosion.
10:35 a.m. – Clager says he had just went to bed around 10:30 p.m. He says the explosion awaked them. His wife thought the roof was being lifted off. They checked the baby monitor, and the child was still asleep.
10:36 a.m. – Clager went outside with his wife. Other residents were outside standing in the driveways. An officer who lives three houses down got in his patrol car and sped down the street. His pregnant neighbor came out screaming about her parents, who live in the area of the explosion.
10:38 p.m. – They decided to vacate their house for the night, and made their way to Mary Bryan. They checked in there and went to Clager’s parents’ house.
10:40 a.m. – Robinson asks Clager to highlight his residence on the map.
10:41 a.m. – Photos of Clager’s home are admitted into evidence.
10:42 a.m. – The photos are shown to the jury (some in color, some in black and white.) Clager explains that the front door was blown open. The garage door was crumpled. There was lots of structural damage to the home as well.
10:43 a.m. – Robinson asks if gave consent for any of the damages. Clager says no and the defense does not cross-examine. Clager is excused.
10:44 a.m. – The State calls Amy Clark to the witness stand. She lived in Richmond Hill on the night of the explosion and was at home in her bedroom.
10:45 a.m. – She says her home shook “almost like an earthquake.” She says she had a child home at the time and asked what he did. Several people in the courtroom laugh.
10:46 a.m. – “It looked like it was snowing,” Clark said when she looked out the window. She called 911 and took off running down the street. She used her phone and took video of the incident. That video was provided to the Prosecutor’s office.
10:48 a.m. – Clark’s video is played for the jury. There is debris on the ground. “They can’t get out. Oh my God look,” Clark says in the video. Firefighters are telling people to get back. The video ends.
10: 50 a.m. – Robinson asks Clark to highlight her residence on the map.
10:51 a.m. – Photos of Clark’s home are admitted into evidence. They are shown to the jury in black and white.
10:52 a.m. – She had a lot of cracks in the roof, and some structural damage inside. Robinson asks if she gave consent to the damage. Clark says no. Defense does not cross-examine and Clark is excused.
10:53 a.m. – State calls Walter Colbert to the stand. He lived in Richmond Hill on November 10, 2012 with his wife and two daughters. They were at home the night of the explosion, watching the Notre Dame game.
10:55 a.m. – Just after 11 p.m., he says he was awoken by a “large explosion…it seemed like a flashback from Afghanistan.” He checked to make sure nobody was breaking in. The garage door was pushed in. His son called him to the front door.
10:56 a.m. – When Robinson asks about his military experience with explosion, the defense objects, but also thanks Colbert for his service. Judge says it is relevant and allows it. Colbert says it seemed like an IED explosion like they experienced overseas.
10:58 a.m. – Says he and his son got in the truck, even though the explosion was just down the street, and made it to the home north of the explosion. They began to help clear homes.
10:59 a.m. – They went back home and collected some things. A neighbor came over with injuries, which they helped patch up. The Colberts were able to leave the neighborhood by foot and went to Mary Bryan. They also took their dog.
11:00 a.m. – Robinson asks Colbert to highlight his property on the map.
11:02 a.m. – Photos of Colber’s home are admitted into evidence. They are shown to the jury in color. The garage door was pushed off its track. There was structural damage throughout the home. The basement wall also received damage.
11:03 a.m. – Robinson asks if he gave consent to the damages. He says no. Shircliff asks if he still lives at the home. Colbert says yes. No further questions. Colbert is excused.
11:04 a.m. – State calls Jeffrey Cross to the witness stand. He lived in Richmond Hill on the night of the explosion. He had lived there for 9 years and built the home. They have since moved. He lived there with his wife, daughter and stepson.
11:05 a.m. – Hollingsworth asks Cross to highlight his property on the map.
11:06 a.m. – Cross, his wife and his daughter were at home watching the Notre Dame football game. After 11 p.m., “It was the loudest noise I had ever heard in my life…I thought there was explosion in my home.” He says he felt like he was talking in slow motion as he told his wife to check on their daughter.
11:08 a.m. – He grabbed the fire poker, only thing resembling a weapon, and headed outside. He talked to neighbors and tried to calm some people down. He then saw the fire starting. They eventually decided to leave the neighborhood.
11:09 a.m. – “It seemed like snow was coming down…it was probably insulation,” said cross. They did not move toward the scene. They got in their car and went to his mother-in-law’s home nearby.
11:11 a.m. – Photos of Cross’ home are entered into evidence. They are shown to the jury in color.
11:12 a.m. – The garage door was buckled in. There were some parts of drywall that blew off, along with decorations. A pedestal sink in a bathroom was dethatched. All siding had to be replaced. The house was repaired, and then sold.
11:13 a.m. – Hollingsworth asks if he gave consent to the damages. Cross says no. Defense does not cross-examine.
11:14 a.m. – State calls Craig Fall to the witness stand. He lived in Richmond Hill the night of the explosion. He had lived there for 10 years and had the house built. He still lives there.
11:15 a.m. – Hollingsworth asks Fall to highlight his property on the map. He was home the night of the explosion with his wife and stepdaughter. He was upstairs in the bedroom and the others were downstairs. He heard a loud noise that sounded like an explosion.
11:17 a.m. – He heard his wife and stepdaughter screaming. There were items that had come off the walls.
11:18 a.m. – He noticed the front door was off the frame. He went to the outside porch. He told his stepdaughter and wife to come out with him. He also took his dog with him, but could not find the leash.
11:19 a.m. – He notices the flames. “We were confused about what was going on,” Fall said.
11:20 a.m. – An officer was telling people in front yards to evacuate. They were able to leave the neighborhood via car. He had a near miss with an emergency vehicle and went into a small ditch. He was able to drive out of it.
11:21 a.m. – Photos of Fall’s home are admitted into evidence. They are shown to the jury (some in black and white, some in color).
11:22 a.m. – The garage door and front door needed to be replaced. A few windows were replaced. There was structural damage and exterior siding was replaced. They had to leave for 90 days while repairs were made.
11:23 a.m. – Hollingsworth asks if he gave consent to the damages. Fall says no. Defense does not cross-examine and Fall is excused.
11:24 a.m. – State calls Amanda Graphman to the witness stand. She lived in Richmond Hill the night of the incident and had been there for more than 10 years. They had the house built. She lived with her husband and two children. They still live there.
11:26 a.m. – Hollingsworth asks Graphman to highlight her property on the map.
11:27 a.m. – Graphman, her husband and two children were at home on the night of November 10, 2012. She and her husband were awoken by a loud noise. They checked on the kids and her husband went outside. She went out a few minutes later.
11:28 a.m. – “The sky was red, it looked like fire,” Graphman said. She went back in to check on the kids and the dog. “Does anyone in Richmond Hill not own a dog?” Hollingsworth jokes.
11:29 a.m. – Graphman says her children slept through the explosion but woke up because of emergency explosions. They did not have power or utilities that night but did not leave the neighborhood until the next morning.
11:30 a.m. – Photos of Graphman’s home are admitted into evidence. The photos are shown to the jury (some in color, some in black and white).
11:31 a.m. – The garage was damaged. The ceilings and walls had cracked. The fireplace was damaged and things fell off the walls. Her house is one of the farthest away from the explosion site.
11:32 a.m. – Hollingsworth asks if she gave consent to the damages. Graphman says no and the defense does not cross-examine. She is excused.
Missed witness introduction – Later found out his name is Marc Hickson.
11:58 a.m. – A witness who is a firefighter is being questioned by Hollingsworth. A woman, Mrs. Olby, was trapped in a home and debris was covering her: Insulation, drywall and particleboard. He was able to speak with her.
11:59 a.m. – Hickson managed to pull her out of the debris and walk her out the front door. There were firemen there to assist.
12:01 p.m. – Hickson went back in with a firefighter to check for more people. It was too hot and they backed away. It was later determined the Olby children were not in the house. He didn’t know until the next day that the children had been located.
12:03 p.m. – He went to another home to provide assistance. He thought two young girls may have been inside, but they were actually at their grandparents’ house.
12:04 p.m. – He eventually went to his father’s house with his family. The witness’ home was damaged in the blast.
12:05 p.m. – Photos of the Hickson’s home are admitted into evidence. They are shown to the jury in color. He had damage to the garage. Kitchen cabinets were separated from the wall. There was ceiling damage. The home was repaired and he still lives there.
12:06 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks if he gave consent to the damage. He says no and there is no cross-examination. He is excused.
12:07 p.m. – State calls Cindy Hines (now Glenn after being remarried) to the witness stand. She is a Richmond Hill resident and had been there for 12 years. She had the home built. Her son and her boyfriend (now husband) lived with her. She still lives in the home.
12:09 p.m. – She was at home the night of the blast watching the Notre Dame vs. Boston College game. Her son was upstairs playing video games.
12:10 p.m. – They head the blast. “My son came in and his eyes were huge,” she said. Things were falling off the walls and they ran outside. (She is becoming emotional, pausing a few times and apologizing).
12:11 p.m. – She says her husband ran down the street.
12:12 p.m. – Robinson asks Glenn to highlight her home on the map.
12:13 p.m. – Glenn’s husband later went back into the home and they began to evacuate. They grabbed the dogs but couldn’t get the cat. “When we were driving it looked like it was snowing,” she said.
12:14 p.m. – They went to Mary Bryan and checked in. They left and went to Glenn’s father’s home. Glenn and her husband had blood on them. The dog has a cut on his leg, and had to have a $750 surgery. The cats ended up to be OK.
12:15 p.m. – Her son, 12 at the time, struggled emotionally and had to sleep near his parents for a while and didn’t want to come home from school alone.
12:16 p.m. – Photos of Glenn’s home are admitted into evidence. They are shown to the jury in black and white.
12:17 p.m. – Doors needed to be replaced, windows and siding needed to be replaced. There was structural damage. Robinson asks if she gave consent to the damage. Glenn says no and defense does not cross-examine. She is excused.
12:18 p.m. – State calls Ray Hoffman to the witness stand. He lived in Richmond Hill for about 8 years alone before the blast. He was at home the night of the incident watching TV.
12:20 p.m. – Something woke him up, and he thought it might be a burglar. Everything had fallen off the walls and he was confused from just waking up. He heard voices of neighbors outside and went out there.
12:21 p.m. – Hoffman saw panicked people running from the back of the neighborhood. They heard people talking about a possible plane crash. Emergency vehicles were on the scene.
12:22 p.m. – He heard they were going to turn off utilities and he packed a bag. He left and went to his brother’s house in Indianapolis.
12:23 p.m. – Robinson asks him to highlight his house on the map. Photos of Hoffman’s home are then admitted into evidence.
12:24 p.m. – The photos are shown to the jury in color. Most of the damage was done to the windows. There was a door that needed to be reframed. All windows needed to be replaced.
12:25 p.m. – Robinson asks if he gave consent to the damages. He says no and there is no cross-examination. Hoffman is excused.
1:40 p.m. – Judge Marnocha enters the courtroom, and the jury comes in soon after.
1:42 p.m. – State calls Nick Hunter to the witness stand. He is a Richmond Hill resident who had lived there for 4 years with his wife and two children. They were not at home the night of the explosion.
1:43 p.m. – Hunter said his wife received a phone call from a neighbor informing them of an incident. They thought a plane might have crashed. “We went into panic mode.”
1:44 p.m. – His wife previously set up a Facebook page for the neighborhood and she tried to check there for information. They were not able to return to the home for four or five days.
1:45 p.m. – Robinson asks Hunter to highlight his residence on the map.
1:46 p.m. – Photos of Hunter’s home are admitted into evidence. The photos are shown to the jury (some in black and white, some in color).
1:47 p.m. – The garage door had been blown in. The front door busted at the hinges. Lots of shattered glass in the house. “The house swelled like a balloon,” Hunter said. The house had to be gutted down to the two by fours for repair.
1:48 p.m. – Robinson asks if he gave consent for the damages. He says no. There is no cross-examination and Hunter is excused.
1:49 p.m. – State calls Nina Larouche to the witness stand.
1:50 p.m. – She is a Richmond Hill resident and had lived there for 10 years. They had built the house. She lives with her husband and three children. They were home the night of the explosion. She and her husband were watching a movie.
1:51 p.m. – “There was a huge boom. It felt like the house lifted off the foundation. It was the loudest sound I had ever heard in my life,” Larouche said. She went to check on the kids and they were OK. They slept through the blast.
1:52 p.m. – She went outside on her back patio where her husband was. “You could see a huge fireball in the sky. It was almost like daylight,” she said. It was to the east of their house. She remained near the house while her husband went just one street over (They are 2 streets over from the blast site).
1:53 p.m. – She learned that the neighborhood was going to be evacuated. They packed up and left the subdivision. They initially went to check in at Mary Bryan before going to stay in a hotel.
1:54 p.m. – Robinson asks Larouche to highlight her house on the map. They were in the hotel for 2 nights before returning to the home (They were able to go back for belongings after the first night).
1:56 p.m. – Photos of her home are submitted into evidence. The photos are shown to the jury in color.
1:58 p.m. – Virtually every wall in the house had cracks in the drywall. The fireplace was separated from the wall. All the windows had to be replaced. There was damage to the basement as well. Robinson asks if she gave anyone permission to damage her residence. She says no.
1:59 p.m. – Defense Attorney David Shircliff asks if she knows the address of the house that blew up. She says she doesn’t but knows it’s on Fieldfare Way. He asks her to point to it on the map and she points to the general area but can’t pinpoint the house. State does not redirect and Larouche is excused.
2:00 p.m. – State calls Matt Lennon to the witness stand. He lived in Richmond Hill and still does now. At the time of the blast he lived with his wife and daughter. They had been there just over five years. They did not have the house built.
2:01 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks Lennon to highlight his property on the map.
2:02 p.m. – Lennon and his family were at home the night of the explosion. He was dozing off in his bedroom that night while watching the Notre Dame vs. Boston College football game.
2:03 p.m. – He was awoken by a “loud blast…it nearly threw me out of bed,” he said. His wife was screaming, “Oh my God, oh my God, what just happened?” They went to check on their daughter and she was OK.
2:04 p.m. – Several things above the master bed had fallen on Lennon after the blast. They were scared and weren’t sure what to do. “It seemed like a gas-type explosion, but maybe it was a plane crash,” he recalls thinking.
2:06 p.m. – He went out the front door and saw a plume rising above the houses, followed by a fire. Lennon could not see the explosion site directly. “We noticed an increasing amount of insulation in the air, blowing north,” he said.
2:07 p.m. – His wife was a nurse and wanted to help, but neighbors said she should probably stay back. Lennon and a neighbor thought they should go around and turn off gas lines. “We didn’t want anything else to blow up,” he said.
2:09 p.m. – Photos of Lennon’s home are admitted into evidence. They are shown to the jury (some in black and white, some in color). He says there was drywall damage. The garage door was damaged and the front door was buckled in. His home was repaired.
2:10 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks if he gave anyone permission to damage his home. Lennon says no. Shircliff asks Lennon if he can locate the house that blew up on the map. He says the address and points to the general area. State does not redirect and Lennon is excused.
2:12 p.m. – State calls Janet Lindgren to the witness stand. She lived in Richmond Hill and still resides there. She has been there for 12-13 years. They did not have the house built. She lived with her husband and sometimes her brother-in-law would stay with them.
2:13 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks Lindgren to highlight her residence on the map.
2:14 p.m. – Just after 11 p.m., she says she was home alone and had just gone to bed but had not fallen asleep. “I thought a bomb went off. There was a horrific flash and a loud sound. It was the most terrifying thing I’ve experienced in my life…It seemed like it went on forever,” she said.
2:16 p.m. – She went outside to see what was going on. A fireman told her to go back inside. “I was very scared and didn’t know what to do,” she said. Lindgren said things had fallen off of walls and shelves.
2:17 p.m. – She was not able to get a hold of her husband at the time. He is in a barbershop quartet and was performing at that moment.
2:18 p.m. – She saw some people walking around. One person was turning off gas lines, and she asked him why. He replied he thought it was a gas explosion. She asked him to turn off her gas for her as well.
2:19 p.m. – Photos of Lindgren’s home are admitted into evidence. They are shown to the jury (some in color, some in black and white).
2:21 p.m. – Drywall was damaged, along with all doors and windows. Her front door wouldn’t stay shut. The chimney was physically twisted.
2:22 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks if she gave permission to anyone to damage her home. She says no and there is no cross-examination. Lindgren is excused.
2:23 p.m. – State calls Laura Littlepage to the witness stand. She was a resident of Richmond Hill at the time of the blast and still is. She lived with her husband and mother-in-law. They had the house built.
2:24 p.m. – Hollingsworth has Littlepage highlight her residence on the map.
2:25 p.m. – Littlepage was home with her husband and mother-in-law (MIL) the night of the explosion. “It felt like an earthquake. It was the loudest sound I had ever heard before,” she said.
2:26 p.m. – Photos had fallen off the walls and she went to check on everyone. Nobody had been injured. Her MIL wanted to check on a neighbor across the street that was about the same age. Littlepage’s husband went to check on her and she was OK. He contacted that woman’s family. Littlepage’s MIL is in a wheelchair but has limited mobility.
2:28 p.m. – Police came to evacuate. Her MIL was in the bathroom and her husband was still across the street. They had trouble lifting the wheelchair over firehouses. They ended up walking to her sister’s home. The power went out on her MIL’s wheelchair and they had to push it in the dark, in their pajamas.
2:30 p.m. – Her front door was blown in, garage door damaged. There were cracks in the drywall and lots of broken glass.
2:31 p.m. – Photos of Littlepage’s home are admitted into evidence. The photos are shown to the jury in color. She points out a window air conditioner that was knocked in. There were siding issues and internal structure damage.
2:33 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks, “You don’t do the dog thing like your neighbors?” She laughs and says she has cats. They were unharmed.
2:34 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks her if she gave anyone permission to damage her home. She says no. Defense does not cross-examine and Littlepage is excused.
2:35 p.m. – State calls Shawn Looper to the witness stand. He is an IMPD officer assigned to the homicide unit. He was employed to the child abuse unit at the time of the explosion. He lived in the Richmond Hill subdivision since 2004. They had the house built.
2:36 p.m. – Robinson asks Looper to highlight his residence on the map.
2:37 p.m. – Looper lived with his wife and two children and they were all home the night of the blast. Shortly after 11 p.m., he was watching TV and heard a “very large explosion.”
2:38 p.m. – He said it hurt his ears. He went to check on his family. They were OK. He took his issued firearm and police radio, got in his unmarked police car and drove down the street. He looked off to the right and saw flames.
2:39 p.m. – He uses the map to show his route of travel in the neighborhood. He stopped on Fieldfare Way because he saw where a home had been which was now not recognizable as a house.
2:41 p.m. – Robinson asks him to highlight the location of the exploded home.
2:42 p.m. – The fire and intense heat prevented him from getting close to the blast site. “I could feel the hair on my legs tingling from the fire,” he said.
2:43 p.m. – He got on the police radio to relay information. He could smell natural gas, and told them that. Robinson asks if he is aware if IMPD radio traffic is recorded. He says yes.
2:44 p.m. – Radio traffic is admitted into evidence and then played. From recording until otherwise noted:
2:45 p.m. – “I believe we have a plane down in the neighborhood in the area of Southport, Stop 11 and Sherman,” Looper says.
2:46 p.m. – “We have an explosion of a house on Fieldfare Way,” Looper says. “IFD is advised,” dispatcher says. “We have at least 10 homes damaged in Richmond Hill subdivision,” Looper says. “Lets get traffic stopped and start evacuating houses,” Looper says.
2:48 p.m. – “We have at least one injured that we can account for,” Looper says. Dispatcher tells other officers that traffic in the area need to be cut off.
2:49 p.m. – “I need to make sure the intersection is clear for more fire personnel,” Looper says.
2:51 p.m. – “There’s really significant damage here,” Looper says.
2:52 p.m. – “We’ve got a person trapped in a house. They’re burning,” Looper says. “He’s trapped in the back. He’s screaming.”
2:54 p.m. – “We need a hose to the rear as soon as possible…I’m going to lose a fireman. Oh God…I can’t get any closer,” Looper says. Recording ends.
2:56 p.m. – Looper says he was seeing a fireman on his knees who was pulling something. Looper says the fireman waved at him to get him to come over and help. Looper says he couldn’t get over there due to the intensity of the fire, pausing to keep his composure.
2:58 p.m. – Looper later left and when he came back, knew there was damage to his home.
2:59 p.m. – Photos of Looper’s home are admitted into evidence. The photos are shown to the jury (some in color, some in black and white).
3:00 p.m. – Looper says there was $40-50,000 in damage. Doors damaged, glass broken. There was structural damage in rooms throughout the residence.
3:01 p.m. – Robinson asks he gave anyone consent to damage his home. Looper says no and defense does not cross-examine. Looper is excused.
3:25 p.m. – State calls William Maple to the witness stand. He lived in Richmond Hill at time of explosion with his wife and son. They had lived there 9 years. They had the house built.
3:26 p.m. – Maple and his wife were home the night of the explosion. They were cleaning and watching the Notre Dame game. “There was a loud boom.”
3:27 p.m. – Décor in the house fell off the wall. His wife fell on the floor. They went outside immediately and saw other neighbors walking around. Then we saw a flash, fire and smoke. The flash was blue.
3:29 p.m. – There were people running around, some animals. There was a lot of destruction (Maple begins to hold back tears as he testifies). An officer told him to get back home. He learned the neighborhood was being evacuated. They got in the car and left. They picked up their son and then went to Maple’s brother’s home.
3:30 p.m. – Robinson has Maple highlight his home on the map.
3:31 p.m. – Maple confirms there was damage done to his home that night. Photos of his home are then admitted into evidence and then shown to the jury.
3:33 p.m. – Maple continues to hold back tears as he describes the damage to his home. Doors were damaged, countertops needed to be replaced. Wall and ceiling repair needed in every room.
3:34 p.m. – Robinson asks if he gave consent for the damages. Maple says no and there is no cross-examination. Maple is excused.
3:35 p.m. – State calls Bryan McClellan to the witness stand.
3:36 p.m. McClellan lived in Richmond Hill that day and had lived there since 2001. They had it built. He lived there with his wife. Other family members were there with him that night. They were watching the Notre Dame game. “Go Irish,” he said.
3:37 p.m. – Shortly after 11 p.m., he said he was in bed but had not yet fallen asleep. “I heard the most horrific boom and shaking that you can imagine. I knew it was very bad and very close,” he said.
3:38 p.m. – He got up out of bed and looked out the window. He can see the glow of fire. He ran out of the bedroom and then cheeked on everyone. His family was OK. He went to the front door and then outside to see if he could help at all.
3:39 p.m. “It was like a warzone. There was debris, fire,” McClellan said. “I didn’t know if this was going to happen again – maybe to my house.”
3:40 p.m. – He was worried his house would catch on fire, so he got his family and said “let’s go.” The garage door was damaged too badly to use the car, so they walked.
3:41 p.m. – Before they left, he turned off the gas to his house. “I didn’t see an airplane. It was such a horrible explosion…the next thing you think of is gas, so I turned mine off on the way out.”
3:42 p.m. – They made their way to Mary Bryan to check in there. On the way a sheriff stopped in a paddy wagon (police transport van), asking if they wanted a ride. “That was my first time being in a paddy wagon,” he said. People in the courtroom laughed.
3:44 p.m. – McClellan is asked to highlight his home on the map. He then confirms that his home was damaged. Photos of his home are admitted into evidence.
3:45 p.m. – Photos are shown to the jury in black and white. Several windows were broken and the garage door was bowed out. The back door was also damaged. Lots of damage to walls. They were out of their home from February to May.
3:46 p.m. – Robinson asks if he gave anyone consent to damage his home. He says no and there is no cross-examination. McClellan is excused.
3:47 p.m. – State calls Kirk McDonald. At time of explosion, he had lived in the subdivision for 13 years with his wife and son. Just after 11 p.m., he said there was a lot of noise and things were falling off the walls.
3:49 p.m. – He left through his front door, which was broken. He got to the explosion site and saw what was left of the home.
3:50 p.m. – He heard people yelling for help, so he and his son went to help. There was a lot of damage in the home and debris. They helped get everyone out of the home. Another neighbor assisted. During the rescue, the house caught on fire.
3:52 p.m. – He headed back to his home after that. Robinson asks him to identify his home on the map and highlight it.
3:53 p.m. – Photos of McDonald’s home are admitted into evidence. The photos are shown to the jury in color.
3:55 p.m. – He says the front door was blown open, the garage door was buckled in. There was truss damage as well.
3:56 p.m. – Robinson asks if he gave consent for anyone to damage his home. He says no. There is no cross-examination and McDonald is excused.
3:57 p.m. – State calls Mardena McGlacken to the witness stand. He lived in Richmond Hill on the day of the blast and still lives there. She lives alone, and had been there for 5 years. Her mother had come to town and was at the house that night.
3:58 p.m. – She was in her bedroom, dozing off right before hearing a bang and hearing the house shake. “I almost fell out of bed,” she said. The wall and ceiling split and insulation was falling on her.
3:59 p.m. – They heard car alarms and went outside and saw a large fireball. She went back inside to change clothes and emergency crews began to arrive. They heard the place was being evacuated so they packed some things up.
4:00 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks McGlacken to highlight her home on the map.
4:01 p.m. – Photos of her home are admitted into evidence.
4:02 p.m. – The photos are shown to the jury in color. The roof needed to be replaced. Brick on the house was damaged. Windows were broken. Garage door and other doorframes needed to be replaced. Two by fours were broken.
4:03 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks if she gave anyone permission to damage her home. She says no. Defense does not cross-examine and McGlacken is excused.
*END OF COURT FOR JUNE 10*
June 9, 2015
9:56 a.m. – Media enters the courtroom. Prosecution team, defense team and Mark Leonard are already at their tables. Leonard is wearing a full suit for the first time today. Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry is also present.
9:58 a.m. – The family of victim Dion Longworth enters the courthouse. Most are wearing yellow shirts. Dion’s favorite color was yellow.
10:13 a.m. – Judge John Marnocha enters the courtroom.
10:14 a.m. – Judge points out for the record that he is wearing a yellow tie by coincidence today and it has nothing to do with the Longworth family.
10:15 a.m. – Jury enters the courtroom.
10:16 a.m. – Judge asks the jury if they have discussed the case with anyone or done any research. No hands rise.
10:17 a.m. – State calls Lt. Russell Futrell with Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) to witness stand. He was stationed on SE side of Indy on day of explosion. Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson shows him a map of Indy with Richmond Hill highlighted. Another photo shows an arial photo of the subdivision and Futrell’s fire station.
10:20 a.m. – An easel is brought into the courtroom. On it is the map that Futrell was shown. This is State’s exhibit one.
10:21 p.m. – Futrell points out downtown Indianapolis and then Richmond Hill, as requested by Robinson.
10:22 a.m. – The arial photo (State’s exhibit 2) is now shown and Futrell highlights the road that goes into and out of the subdivision. Futrell says that Mary Bryan Elementary school is nearby, and points it out on the photo.
10:24 p.m. – Futrell says he was watching the Notre Dame vs. Boston College game. He had just fallen asleep. He was woken up by a loud explosion that, “Physically rocked the building.”
10:25 a.m. – He says he awoke, stood up, and looked through the blinds so the south of the firehouse. He looked to the south because there is an airport in that direction. He thought a plane might have gone down. What he saw was a large plume of debris and smoke. He realized “it was going to be a long night.”
10:27 a.m. – He met with the driver of the engine (Brian Hendrick – name was not spelled for the court) who was standing on the south side of the building. They realized they needed to go into action.
10:28 a.m. – He called the crew into action using the firehouse’s PA system. He identified each crew member for the court. Futrell points out on the arial photo what route they took to get to Richmond Hill.
10:31 a.m. – “The first thing I saw were quite a few people walking along the sidewalks and streets,” said Futurell. Many were in pajamas. They were motioning to him where the incident occurred, which he says was very helpful. At that time he didn’t have an exact address, so he said it was a bit unusual for him. He points out where they ended up.
10:33 a.m. – Says at the time he was not familiar with Fieldfare Way, but he is now. “It was pretty amazing – something I had never seen before. As a firefighter you prepare yourself for things like this…I didn’t know what to expect.” (A bit of emotion can be heard in Futrell’s voice at this point.)
10:35 a.m. – “As an officer, my concern is the safety of my crew. I was concerned about secondary explosions. I parked away from the debris, there was no reason to park near the debris,” said Futrell.
10:36 a.m. – He says there was no house at 8349 Fieldfare Way when they arrived on November 10. “It wasn’t until later until I saw a motorcycle and car parked in, for all intents and purposes, an empty lot, that I thought it was a home.” Says he didn’t want to assume it was a home. He says he thought it could have been a neighborhood playground or something else.
10:38 a.m. – Futrell was approached by members of the community. He asked them what street he was on. He radioed dispatch know the location. Dispatch had trouble finding the address in their system, which he said was frustrating. “I was a lone man on an island at that point,” Futrell said. There was no address recognizable on the home.
10:40 a.m. – Eventually, dispatch was able to locate the street in their system. The first thing he did was to search for victims. He went to the first house south of where the explosion occurred. Says that house was 50 percent collapsed. He went into the house and yelled. He received no response. “If I would have known…” (He pauses, due to emotion) “There was no reason I had to bring crews in there at that time,” he told the jury.
10:43 a.m. – He stepped out of the house at that point. He later found out that there was in fact someone inside the home. He said after that, he went to the house north of the explosion. There were people assisting others who were trapped in that house.
10:45 a.m. – A lieutenant with the Lawrence Fire Department identified himself to Futrell. Futrell said he felt confident letting that man assist a woman who was trapped. She also had a husband and 2 children who had already been removed.
10:46 a.m. – After that, Futrell assisted with fire suppression on that home since he knew someone was inside. He says there were 3 small gas-fed fires on the scene. He could tell by the color of the flames and other factors. Robinson asks if he means natural gas. Futrell says yes.
10:48 a.m. – At that point, Futrell said he was involved with fire suppression. Robinson gives Futrell State’s exhibits 3-20 for his review.
10:50 a.m. – Futrell says he was on the scene until 4:30 a.m. – 5 a.m. the next morning. (Explosion happened just after 11 p.m.)
10:51 p.m. – He says the photos he was shown by the State accurately describe the scene that morning. The photos are put into evidence and then brought up on a PowerPoint slideshow for the jury. (Note – they are a bit difficult to see from the gallery)
10:54 a.m. – A photo shows the second house south of the explosion site. A few more show fires in the area. One photo with smoke depicts the “plume” he mentioned earlier. Another photo shows several fire crews on the scene. He says in his 25-year career, this was the largest situation he had ever seen.
10:57 a.m. – More photos show the number of fire trucks that responded and the equipment they were using that night. When they left around 4:30 a.m., other crews were on the scene.
10:58 a.m. – He says that did not end his involvement. A photo is shown by the State of Futrell, three days later, shoveling debris at the scene. (The name Futrell is seen on the back of his jacket). He was doing that because they were asked to go through the scene and look through any items.
11:00 a.m. – He didn’t know the exact item they were looking for, but he said, “It looked like a valve.” If they found it, they were told to notify an investigator. He points out that he is not an investigator. There were numerous individuals searching for this valve for about 3-4 hours.
11:03 a.m. – A woman on the scene relayed some information to Futrell, and he told a person in command. (What she told him is not said)
11:04 a.m. – Cross-examination by defense attorney Diane Black begins. “I can’t imagine what you felt when you went to that house where someone was trapped. I’m sorry for that,” she said. State objects, says no question. Objection is overruled.
11:05 a.m. – Futrell says he’ll remember it for the rest of his life.
11:06 a.m. – Black says this was probably one of the larges, most trying, most emotional fires he has seen in his career. He says yes. She asks him to talk about the debris field when he arrived. He says it would be tough to describe it, because it involved so many other properties in the area.
11:07 a.m. – Using the State’s arial photo of the area, he points out the area impacted by the explosion.
11:09 a.m. – Black asks if the initial intent was to suppress fire and locate and rescue victims. Futrell says yes. Black asks if the area was cordoned off like a crime scene at that point. Futrell says no.
11:10 a.m. – Black inquires about the woman, a teenager, who gave him information. Black says she was injured, frantic and traumatized. Black says the teen or her mother had smelled gas the day before the explosion. Futrell confirms that was the information he passed to his commander. State tried to object due to hearsay, but the judge overruled it.
11:13 a.m. – Diane Black sits back down, and the State has no further questions. Futrell is excused.
11:40 a.m. – Ranking fire department officer on the scene that night, Mark Culver, is in the witness stand.
11:41 a.m. – When he entered Richmond Hill subdivision, he saw four houses involved in the fire. He points out on the map that he looped around the east side of the subdivision before setting up incident command. He said his attention was drawn to the back to one of the houses where a rescue was being attempted.
11:44 a.m. – Culver said a house to the north of the most damaged house was being gas fed. Firefighters were trying to put out the fire there but couldn’t due to the gas. Culver told a gas representative he needed it shut off. They were able to shut off some it eventually, but they had difficulty doing so at first.
11:46 a.m. – He learned some residents had sustained injuries. Medical staging was then set up. Mary Bryan Elementary School was used to assist with staging.
11:48 a.m. – Culver talks about attempting to rescue someone inside the home. They had to back off a bit due to the heat and bring in more equipment.
11:49 a.m. – Robinson brings out State’s exhibit 22 – radio traffic from Culver. It’s admitted into evidence. The recording is played.
11:51 a.m. – In the recording, jurors hear that there is a working fire at Fieldfare way. An exact location is being determined by dispatchers.
11:53 a.m. – From recording until otherwise noted: “We have one house down, two others severely damaged, two others minor.”
11:54 a.m. – Second alarm requested. Jurors hear that a rescue is being attempted in the back of a house.
11:56 a.m. – Dispatch still working out exact location. “I need water in the back and manpower ASAP,” firefighter on the scene says in the recording.
11:57 a.m. – Firefighter on the scene says there is extensive damage and panic from residents on nearby streets.
11:58 a.m. – Firefighter says he has one of the victims with him, calls for ambulance. Second alarm confirmed, backup being sent by dispatch.
11:59 a.m. – Dispatch working out staging area for second alarm team.
12:00 p.m. – Victim is in the fire truck north of the house. Firefighter says in 2 people trapped inside the house. Recording is stopped.
12:01 p.m. – Robinson sits back down, and Diane Black has no questions. Culver is excused.
1:13 p.m. – Judge Marnocha re-enters the courtroom, and so does the jury.
1:15 p.m. – Judge asks jury if they have done any research on the case or talked to anyone since the break. No hands rise.
1:16 p.m. – State calls Ada Townsend to the witness stand. She is a Marion County Sheriff’s office audio records specialist. Her department retrieves 911 calls and non-emergency calls. 911 operators handle emergency calls. Her department handles non-emergency calls. The control operator’s duty is to assist officers with requests.
1:18 p.m. – Townsend’s 911 center covers Indianapolis, Beech Grove and Cumberland. Townsend’s duty is to handle audio requests for prosecutors, lawyers, etc. for 911 calls and police traffic. She has been there nearly 34 years. She has done this specific job for nearly 16 years.
1:21 p.m. – Townsend explains that all 911 calls are recorded and maintained in a database for 7 years.
1:22 p.m. – State prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth asks Townsend to identify pieces of evidence, including 911 audio recording discs and audio log documents.
1:24 p.m. – The exhibits are admitted into evidence. Townsend says there were 274 emergency calls for the Richmond Hill explosion. At the State’s request, several calls were pulled and condensed for brevity.
1:26 p.m. – These exhibits are admitted into evidence. One of the tapes is played.
1:27 p.m. – From recording until otherwise noted: Caller says he heard/saw a house explode and is now on fire. “I think it was a gas explosion…it was a huge explosion.”
1:28 p.m. – Caller says he isn’t sure if the house is still standing. “Our whole house rattled…people are running over there…it seems like a gas explosion.”
1:29 p.m. – Call ends and new call begins.
1:30 p.m. – Caller says someone “hit her house really hard.” She isn’t sure what it was. She is short of breath and very emotional. Call ends and new call is played.
1:31 p.m. – Caller says, “We had a large explosion…it’s huge.” Dispatch is heard reporting possible plane crash in Southport area. Call ends and new call is played.
1:33 p.m. – Caller asks about “aftershocks” in the Indianapolis area. “It almost felt like a blast,” he said. Call ends and new call is played. This caller reports possible gunshots.
1:34 p.m. – New call is played, and this one is from an officer. She says she felt her house shake and wants to know what’s going on. Dispatch says they’re trying to find out. Caller says seems like a plane crash. Call ends and new call is played.
1:35 p.m. – Caller says she’s scared and alone and heard an explosion. Dispatch says to stay in the house. A few other short calls are played of people reporting an explosion. (Dispatch clearly bogged down at this point with several calls waiting)
1:37 p.m. – Caller asks if it was a gas explosion, and says it broke windows in his house. “Whatever it was, it was huge.” As recording continues, more callers report possible explosion. “I’ve never heard anything like this,” one said. “It sounded like a gas station or a natural gas tank exploded.”
1:40 p.m. – ADT security representative calls and report alarm going off in a home. Front and garage door affected.
1:41 p.m. – Another ADT rep. calls, reporting another alarm going off. Elderly woman inside the house thinks someone is breaking in, but heard a “big boom.”
1:43 p.m. – (Mark Leonard sits at the defense table with his head propped against his hand)
1:44 p.m. – Comcast rep. calls saying their lines are tied up with people in the area of Sherman Drive are reporting an explosion. Dispatch says an officer said a house or car exploded.
1:46 p.m. – New caller reports a “big boom” that shook his house. Another caller says she heard a “loud boom…it scared the crap out of me.”
1:47 p.m. – Another caller says it felt like a car hit her house. Dispatch tells her there was a house explosion.
1:49 p.m. – Caller reports a house explosion on Fieldfare Way. (First call with the actual street name)
1:50 p.m. – Caller reports a “tremendous explosion.” Says everyone in his neighborhood is out in the street. “It’s one hell of an explosion.”
1:53 p.m. – Caller in Wannamaker says an explosion rattled his house. He says his neighbors said their homes were rattled too.
1:54 p.m. – New caller says “That was one hell of a boom.”
1:55 p.m. – Caller who lives in Richmond Hill believes a plane crashed in the neighborhood.
1:57 p.m. – Recording of the calls ends. Hollingsworth asks Townsend what a “MECA” van is. Townsend explains that it’s a command center van that is used to run communications and assign officers to tasks.
1:59 p.m. – Hollingsworth concludes and Diane Black says she has no cross-examination.
2:00 p.m. – State calls Mary Parish to the witness stand. She works for 911 center for Lawrence police. Hollingsworth puts up a map of Marion County and asks Parish to point out Lawrence.
2:01 p.m. – Parish is a 911 supervisor – day shift. All calls are recorded and maintained. If Marion County Sheriff’s office gets overloaded, calls are transferred to Lawrence.
2:03 p.m. – Parish made a condensed version of 911 calls related to the Richmond Hill explosion for the State. It’s admitted into evidence.
2:04 p.m. – Recording is played. From recording until otherwise noted: Several callers report an explosion, dispatch tells them police and firefighters are working on it.
2:06 p.m. – One caller is very panicked and yelling to someone in the background to “turn off the gas.”
2:07 p.m. – Recording ends. Hollingsworth concludes and Black has no cross-examination.
2:25 p.m. – Court resumes and State calls Frank Hiatt to the witness stand. Hiatt lives on Flicker Court, in the Richmond Hill subdivision.
2:28 p.m. – Hiatt was in his garage just after 11 p.m. on November 10, 2012. His son and granddaughter were at his home. He was exiting his garage, facing the direction of the explosion. Hiatt tells the jury he saw a white flash and heard a massive boom.
2:29 p.m. – “A huge white flash, then a bluish glow,” Hiatt recalls. He says he was knocked to the ground. The flash was seen over the rooftops of the houses in front of him. His son was right behind him, also exiting the garage.
2:30 p.m. – Hiatt checked on his son, who dove under the truck (he had military training). They ran through the yards toward the explosion. He uses the aerial photo.
2:32 p.m. – Hiatt says he saw “shredded houses…it was just silence. It gave me the impression I was standing in death.” He says he saw a small fire nearby. Then he starts seeing people come out of their houses.
2:33 p.m. – Hiatt believes he was the first person on Fieldfare Way after the explosion. “If anyone was in there, they’re gone,” he recalled.
2:34 p.m. – Hiatt thought it was a transformer, substation, meth lab or something along those lines due to the bluish glow.
2:35 p.m. – Hiatt was able to rule out that it was a plane crash. He is a pilot and knows what a plane crash looks like.
2:36 p.m. – When people starting coming out, he tried to assist them and make sure people were safe. He saw a little boy holding a dog so he ran up to him and asked where his parents were. At that time an officer who lives in the neighborhood pulled up.
2:37 p.m. – Hiatt says the officer had to pause to figure out what to even call in as he looked at the destruction.
2:38 p.m. – Hiatt says he then went back home to dress more for the situation and grab supplies. His son followed him back to the scene.
2:39 p.m. – Hiatt’s younger brother is a firefighter who also arrived at the scene. Hiatt says the fire went across the debris field quickly and spread to other houses.
2:40 p.m. – Hollingsworth sits and Defense attorney David Shircliff starts his cross-examination.
2:41 p.m. – Shircliff asks Hiatt to point to his house again on the map, and then to the direction of which he saw the explosion. Shircliff asks if his house sustained damage. Hiatt says yes. Hiatt says his house is about 125 yards away from the explosion site.
2:42 p.m. – Shirciff asks if he no longer lives in the house. Hiatt says no. Shircliff ends his cross-examination.
2:43 p.m. – State calls Phillip Hiatt to the witness stand (Frank Hiatt’s son). He says he was exiting the garage and saw the explosion. Says he heard it first. He dove for cover.
2:44 p.m. – Hiatt said his father told him to call 911. He then stayed in the house to check on his daughter, who was sleeping in the house.
2:45 p.m. – Hiatt says he went to the explosion scene with his father after his father retuned to their home. Hiatt says he saw debris and building materials. He also saw small fires. He stayed for about 10 minutes. He says the fire grew as more crews showed up on the scene.
2:47 p.m. – Hiatt says he saw his dad get knocked off his feet. Hollingsworth ends his questioning and the defense does not cross-examine.
2:48 p.m. – State calls Edward Charters to the witness stand. He works for Marion County Crime Lab as a forensic evidence technician.
2:49 p.m. – Previously was with Indiana State Police for more than 30 years. He was called on November 14, 2012 to take photos and/or videos of the scene.
2:50 p.m. – He utilized an IMPD helicopter. A video is entered into evidence.
2:51 p.m. – A video is played of footage from the helicopter showing the aftermath of the explosion (4 days later).
2:57 p.m. – Video concludes and photos taken by Charters are admitted into evidence. The photos, also showing explosion aftermath, are shown to the jury.
3:01 p.m. – Charter’s video and photos was the extent of his involvement. Hollingsworth concludes questioning and Shircliff does not cross-examine.
3:02 p.m. – State calls Stephen J. Ajamie to the witness stand. He lives in the Richmond Hill subdivision and was at home that day with his wife and two children. He also had a Godchild with him.
3:03 p.m. – Ajamie says several windows in his home were broken. He checked on his family and then went outside to see what happened. He went to Fieldfare Lane and saw homes burning. He left his residence that evening and went to his sister-in-law’s home around Southport and Harding.
3:05 p.m. – Robinson has Ajamie point out exactly where his residence is located.
3:07 p.m. – Photos of Ajamie’s residence are admitted into evidence. The photos are then shown to the jury in black and white on a poster board. The photos show damage sustained to his home. A damaged garage, busted out windows are more can be seen.
3:09 p.m. – Robinson asks if he had given any consent to have his home damaged. He says no. No cross-examination from the defense.
3:10 p.m. – State calls Doug Aldridge (name not spelled for the court). He lives in the Richmond Hill subdivision with his wife and son. He was upstairs in his bedroom watching the Notre Dame game. Robinson asks if something happened.
3:11 p.m. – Aldridge gets very emotional and says a house blew up down the street. “It shook the house,” he said. He says his son was convulsing in some way. Things were falling off the walls. He checked on his family and looked out the window.
3:12 p.m. – He left the house with his son and went to check on his neighbors and see if there was anything they could help with. They left the house barefoot. “It was pretty much chaos.” (Aldridge has to keep pausing in order to maintain composure).
3:13 p.m. – He said he was mentally prepare himself to see body parts in the yards. “There was nothing left of the house,” he said. He said he knew the Longworth home was severely damaged. The lights were still on in the house next to that one. The homeowners were still there but couldn’t get the door open.
3:15 p.m. – Aldrige says he kicked in the door and helped get them out just as a fire started in the home. He says he saw a small furnace with a small flame coming from Shirley’s home.
3:16 p.m. – Robinson asks Aldridge to point out his residence on the map.
3:18 p.m. – Photos of Aldridge’s home after the explosion are admitted into evidence. They are shown to the jury in color on a poster board. The garage door is buckled in. Windows and front door were blown out. Several 2 by 4s in his garage were snapped in half.
3:20 p.m. – Robinson asks if he had given any consent to have his home damaged. He says no. Shircliff begins his cross-examination of Aldridge.
3:21 p.m. – Shircliff points out that he called Monseratte Shirley “Moncy.” Aldridge says he knew many of the neighbors. Aldridge says he later went to Mary Bryan elementary school, and was there when Shirley arrived there.
3:22 p.m. – Shirley looked at Aldridge’s wife and asked, “What happened?” His wife replied, “your house exploded.”
3:23 p.m. – Shircliff brings up Shirley appearing on local media days later. State objects, but is overruled.
3:24 p.m. – Shircliff asks if Aldridge was OK with Shirley getting a plea bargain. State objects and Judge Marnocha says the question is beyond the scope of the questioning.
3:27 p.m. – Shircliff asks if Aldridge knows where Shirley lived after the house exploded or if he had any contact. Aldridge says no. Robinson begins redirect.
3:28 p.m. – Robinson asks if anyone was with Shirley at Mary Bryan, Aldridge says yes and identifies Mark Leonard as being there with her. Aldridge is excused.
3:30 p.m. – State calls Scott Alexander to the witness stand. He had lived in the Richmond Hill subdivision for about 60 days. He was not at home at the time of the explosion. He received a call from his security company saying the house had been breached.
3:31 p.m. – He was not able to get back to his house and was redirected to Mary Bryan Elementary. Robinson asks Alexander to highlight his house on the map.
3:33 p.m. – Photos of Alexander’s home are admitted into evidence. They are shown to the jury in color on a poster board. Garage door had been blown open, living room ceiling collapsed and broken windows.
3:34 p.m. – Robinson asks if he had given any consent to have his home damaged. He says no. Defense does not cross-examine.
3:35 p.m. – State calls Jenine Allen (not spelled for the court) to the witness stand. She lives in the Richmond Hill subdivision. She was home on that day with her now ex-husband. Allen was in her home watching TV during the explosion. She got up and ran downstairs. “It was a really loud explosion,” she said.
3:37 p.m. – She left the house to see what was going on and saw a house on fire. “It was chaos at that point.” She was told she needed to evacuate her house.
3:38 p.m. – Robinson asks Allen to highlight her home on the map. Photos of Allen’s home are then admitted into evidence. The photos are shown in black and white to the jury on a poster board.
3:40 p.m. – Garage door and front door damaged. Drywall was cracked above the front door and in other places. Robinson asks if she had given any consent to have her home damaged. She says no. No cross-examination from the defense.
3:41 p.m. – State calls Michael Ampil to the witness stand. Ampil lives in the Richmond Hill subdivision. He was away at a wedding reception with his wife when the explosion happened. His in-laws, who were watching the kids, called and informed them of the explosion.
3:42 p.m. – Ampil was not able to get to his residence immediately. He parked at a driving range and ran to the neighborhood. “It was chaos,” he said. He said they were pleading with officers to let them through. His wife was able to get to the house and see everything. At that time the neighborhood was being evacuated.
3:45 p.m. – She walked back to Ampil with her parents and children. They all went to Mary Bryan Elementary School.
3:46 p.m. – Robinson asks Ampil to highlight his home on the map.
3:47 p.m. – Photos of Ampil’s home are admitted into evidence. The photos are shown to the jury (4 black and white, 1 in color). He points out damage to doors, his patio and other damage.
3:48 p.m. – Robinson asks if he had given any consent to have his home damaged. He says no. No cross-examination from the defense.
4:09 p.m. – Aldridge is recalled to the stand without the jury present. He says he was present at a meeting where a plea agreement for Shirley was reached. “It did not surprise me.”
4:10 p.m. – “I think she lied to us at the very beginning,” Aldridge said when asked about her credibility. Aldridge is then excused.
4:12 p.m. – The jury enters the courtroom.
4:13 p.m. – State calls Baljit Apwal to the witness stand. She lived in the Richmond Hill subdivision with her daughter, son and husband. She was home that night with her children.
4:15 p.m. She says an explosion happened that night and she saw a fire. Robinson asks her to highlight her home on the map.
4:17 p.m. – Photos of Apwal’s home are admitted into evidence. The photos are shown to the jury. Some in color, some in black and white.
4:18 p.m. – Robinson asks if Apwal gave anyone permission to damage her house. She says no and is excused. No cross-examination by the defense.
4:19 p.m. – State calls Brian Baker (not spelled for the court) to the witness stand. He lives in the Richmond Hill subdivision with his wife. He says an explosion happened the night of November 10, 2012. He checked on his wife and then got in his car to go and check on people.
4:20 p.m. – He tried to help first responders before being told to evacuate to Mary Bryan Elementary School. He then went to his parents’ house.
4:22 p.m. – Photos of Baker’s residence are admitted into evidence. The photos are shown to the jury (some in color, some in black and white). He says nearly every room in the home had some sort of damage. Robinson asks if he consented to any damage. He says no and Robinson sits down.
4:25 p.m. – Diane Black begins cross-examination. She asks how he knew some of the firemen. He works for White River Township Fire Department. He was at Mary Bryan Elementary for a few hours, but not when Shirley was there. Black sits back down and Baker is excused.
4:27 p.m. – State calls Matthew Barre to the witness stand. He is a Richmond Hill resident, and had lived there for about week before the explosion. He was home at the time of the explosion. He and his wife were in the kitchen replacing the sink. They heard a loud noise and glass breaking.
4:28 p.m. – Barre left out his patio door and headed toward the explosion site. Not many people were on the street at the time. Barre and his wife split up at the scene. His wife helped a family get out of a house. He went to look for people in houses.
4:30 p.m. – Barre says he helped a woman look for her dog. The house was mostly demolished. Lots of fire alarms were going off. He says he went to several houses but did not go into one that smelled like a gas leak.
4:31 p.m. – Barre is asked to highlight his property on the map.
4:33 p.m. – Photos of Barre’s home are admitted into evidence. The photos are shown to the jury in black and white. His patio door had been blown out and some windows were broken. Some doorframes were damaged. There was also structural damage. The home was repaired.
4:35 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks Barre if he consented to damage. Barre says no and he is excused. No cross-examination from defense.
4:36 p.m. – State calls Eric Beard to the witness stand. He is a Richmond Hill resident and had lived there for 9 years. He was home at the night of the explosion with his wife and daughter. They had just gone to bed.
4:37 p.m. – He says he was woken up by a “large shake.” He asked his wife to check on his daughter and they went downstairs and outside to find burning homes across the street.
4:38 p.m. – He said his front, back and garage doors were open and the alarm was going off. His daughter started screaming and was very upset. His neighbors across the street couldn’t get out of their garage door.
4:39 p.m. – He went to a neighbor’s house and pushed in the front door to help get them out. He then went back to his house. He was later able to get his family out.
4:40 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks Beard to highlight his property on the map. Hollingsworth jokes that he’s not as good at coloring as the other witnesses.
4:41 p.m. – Photos of Beard’s home are admitted into evidence. The photos are shown to the jury on a poster board (some in color, some in black and white).
4:42 p.m. – Several doors received damage and he also had structural damage to the home. The roof was also damaged. He still lives there and the home was repaired.
4:43 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks if he gave consent for the damage. Beard says no and defense does not cross-examine. He is excused.
4:44 p.m. – State calls Sarah Bellinger to the witness stand. She is a Richmond Hill resident and had lived there for a year with her daughter and her roommate. She was home on the night of the explosion, along with the daughter and roommate.
4:45 p.m. – After the explosion, she initially thought someone was breaking in. She later saw the fire and realized something else happened.
4:46 p.m. – Bellinger is asked to highlight her property on the map.
4:47 p.m. – Photos of Bellinger’s home are admitted into evidence. The photos are shown to the jury in black and white on a poster board.
4:48 p.m. – She points out that there was damage to the front door and several windows. Things had been knocked off walls and there was structural damage. She still lives there and the home was repaired.
4:49 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks if she gave consent to the damage. She says no and defense does not cross-examine. Bellinger is excused.
*END OF COURT FOR JUNE 9*
June 8, 2015
10:28 a.m. – Media enters the courtroom. Today is Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry’s first day appearing in the courtroom.
10:34 a.m. – Mark Leonard enters the courtroom wearing handcuffs and ankle chains. He sits at the defense table and they are removed.
10:36 a.m. – Defense team enters the courtroom.
10:47 a.m. – Judge John Marnocha enters the courtroom. He says in order to save in-court time, the potential jurors are watching a video that lists the witnesses.
10:48 a.m. – Juror 3 had expressed an issue about moving to Michigan. She came to the courthouse Monday and gave the bailiff a note saying that she will no longer be an Indiana resident at some point during the trial. Alternate number 1 will take her seat, and now 3 more alternates need to be selected.
10:55 a.m. – Defense attorney David Shircliff brings up an issue after reading the potential juror questionnaires, saying some mentioned the alleged plot to try and hire a hit man by Leonard. Judge Marnocha says jurors 6, 10, 12 and maybe 21 mentioned this.
10:59 a.m. – Potential jurors enter the courtroom and are sworn in.
11:01 a.m. – Judge Marnocha explains that while he is the judge presiding over the case, he serves more as a referee while those selected to be on the jury become the true judge.
11:04 a.m. – Judge says there has been a lot of pre-trial publicity and media attention. Says he doesn’t expect them to be a blank slate and to use their common sense.
11:07 a.m. – Judge asks for a show of hands of anyone who has formed an opinion about this case due to pre-trial publicity. Five potential jurors in the galley raise their hands. Juror 22 says he can remain impartial. Jurors 6, 12 and 19 says they can’t.
11:10 a.m. – Judge says it’s ridiculous that free parking isn’t provided for them, but says jurors who are selected will get free parking.
11:11 a.m. – Judge brings up that the case will be long. 4-6 weeks expected. He says he will try to move things along when possible. He explains the proposed schedule.
11:15 a.m. – Judge Marnocha says that the charges facing Leonard aren’t evidence. The State must still prove that he is guilty.
11:17 a.m. – Judge introduces the State’s prosecution team and the defense team. He notes that Leonard being a “defendant” does not mean he is guilty or innocent.
11:22 a.m. – Jurors 4 and 11 work together. They say this will not cause them difficulties in serving in the jury. Juror 20 knows 23, they go to church together. They also say this will not cause issues during the trial.
11:26 a.m. – One of the potential jurors says she is a convicted felon, but that she can put that aside and try this case fairly.
11:28 a.m. – Judge explains that the burden of proof is on the State. Leonard does not have to testify and the defense does not have to ask questions.
11:31 a.m. – Judge Marnocha says that not only does the state have the burden of proof, they must also prove the charges without a reasonable doubt.
11:34 a.m. – Each count must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This case is not a death penalty case.
11:36 a.m. – Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson begins questioning the potential jurors. Says this is not a school exam, they will have time to process information and the law will be provided to them.
10:38 a.m. – “Who is entitled to a fair and impartial trial?” Robinson asks. “Everybody,” a potential juror responds.
10:40 a.m. – Robinson asks the potential jurors in the jury box how the State proves their case. Juror 4 responds, “facts, evidence.”
11:42 a.m. – Robinson begins discussing the charges, specifically murder. Asks the jury box what murder is. “Killing somebody,” a potential juror responds.
11:43 a.m. – Robinson talks about TV shows about crime, courts and law enforcement aren’t real, and that most are made in California where the laws are different.
11:45 a.m. – She explains that Indiana does not have a “premeditated murder” charge. Murder can be performed “intentionally” or “knowingly.” She discusses the differences.
11:46 a.m. – Knowingly means acting with a high probability (not certain) of a certain outcome. Intentionally means acting with a conscious objective of the outcome. She uses a couple of examples to show the difference.
11:50 a.m. – Robinson asks if everyone can apply the law as it exists. Nobody objects.
11:51 a.m. – Robinson brings up the idea of being an accomplice to a crime, and explains that accomplices receive the same charges as the person who performed the crime.
11:54 a.m. – Says that some witnesses in this case may be testifying after accepting a plea agreement. Robinson asks how the potential jurors feel about that. One juror says she would like to know about the terms of the agreement. Others say the same.
11:56 a.m. – Robinson asks if a witness who took a plea agreement can be trusted. She says the jurors must consider the context of the testimony and plea agreement.
11:58 a.m. – Robinson says it’s going to be a long trial with many witnesses and pieces of evidence. Says they must pay attention to all factors. She then sits back down at the prosecution table.
12:00 p.m. – Defense attorney David Shircliff begins questioning the potential jurors. Asks if they have any questions for him. They don’t.
12:01 p.m. – One potential juror says he is a bit overwhelmed by the amount of charges and information. Others nod in agreement.
12:03 p.m. – Shircliff says if he was accused of something and he didn’t do it, he would stand up and say so. Says Leonard has pleaded guilty and will not testify.
12:07 p.m. – Juror 8 says that it’s hard not to form an opinion about it due to the number of charges, but she thinks she can remain impartial.
12:10 p.m. – One of the jurors says he understands that Leonard doesn’t have to testify and he might not want to for various reasons.
12:15 p.m. – Shircliff says “Two innocent people who were just in their house died.” Talks about people lost houses, and there is a lot of loss. “How will you deal with that?” he asks.
12:17 p.m. – Juror 4 says he lost someone close to him and says that may cause him difficulty – dealing with all the loss in the case. Juror 5 says the same.
12:21 p.m. – Shircliff asks if there is anything else that would cause them to be an unfair juror. No hands are raised.
12:26 p.m. – Shircliff sits back down at the defense table.
12:38 p.m. – Judge Marnocha announces that 4 jurors (jurors 1, 3, 7 and 8) have been selected. These jurors will be alternates.
12:46 p.m. – “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a jury,” said Judge Marnocha.
1:37 p.m. – Judge Marnocha enters the courtroom.
1:39 p.m. – Juror 2 wrote a note to the judge saying that his future father-in-law works for Channel 13 in Indianapolis. “I will not speak to him about the case,” the note read. “Good,” the judge replied.
1:41 p.m. – The full and final jury enters the courtroom and they take an oath.
1:43 p.m. – Judge Marnocha administers the preliminary instructions of the law. During the part where the judge must read the charges, he will play a recorded video of him doing so.
1:44 p.m. – Judge points out that jurors can ask questions of witnesses. Each side gets to question a witness twice if they wish. After, the judge will ask if jurors have any questions of the witness. Questions will be written down and given to the judge. Questions asked by the jurors must follow the same rules of evidence as the attorneys’ questions do.
1:47 p.m. – “You shouldn’t be influenced if your fellow jurors are asking a lot of questions or very few questions,” said Judge Marnocha.
1:49 p.m. – Preliminary instructions are read.
1:51 p.m. – Video is played of Judge Marnocha reading the formal charges.
2:01 p.m. – As the formal charges are read, Leonard sits at the defense table, staring down and not showing any emotional response.
2:15 p.m. – Video concludes. Judge Marnocha continues reading preliminary instructions.
2:24 p.m. – Opening statements begin with Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson.
2:25 p.m. – “By all accounts it was a beautiful day in Indiana, ” she said. “Residents of the Richmond Hill subdivision were at home, mowing the lawn, things like that.”
2:26 p.m. – She explains that the houses, while middle class and nice, are small and close to each other. She explains where the neighborhood is geographically.
2:27 p.m. – A fire station is located nearby the subdivision. “You will hear from firefighters who were at the station on November 10 who felt the explosion.” She says many residents were relocated to Mary Bryan Elementary School, also nearby. There were also reports from Greenwood Municipal Airport. Some people even thought a plane may have gone down.
2:29 p.m. – Paraphrasing Robinson’s statements until otherwise noted: 8349 Fieldfair Way was Monseratte Shirley’s home, and the defendant was living with her. This home was the epicenter. There is only one exit out of the subdivision. You will hear from people who live on streets near Fieldfair Way.
2:31 p.m. – Jon and Jennifer Longworth lived directly next to Shirley. They are the deceased in this case.
2:32 p.m. – You will hear from various neighbors in the area, because nearly every house was affected.
2:33 p.m. – Close to 11 p.m. that night, many of the residents have gone to bed. Some were watching Notre Dame playing Boston College. ND won 21-6. Many residents didn’t get to see the outcome, because of the explosion shortly after 11 p.m.
2:34 p.m. – This wasn’t a gas leak; this was not accidental. The State does not allege the deaths were intentional.
2:36 p.m. – There will be a lot of testimony from Richmond Hill residents, firefighters, individuals from Citizens Energy Group, who provides the natural gas to the neighborhood. All of this goes into showing that this was an incendiary act. The State will bring in evidence to show you very specifically how this happened.
2:38 p.m. – Part of the second phase of this trial is the educational phase, where you will learn about natural gas. Phase 3 will include the investigation from police and fire departments. There will be a significant amount of evidence.
2:40 p.m. – In Indianapolis, when there is a death investigation, a homicide detective is called in. That’s why a homicide detective was on the scene.
2:41 p.m. – You will see cell phone records, in length. Much of the conspiracy occurred over cell phones. You’ll hear testimony about a white van belonging to Mark Leonard. All that plays into the police investigation.
2:42 p.m. – As the police and fire investigations unfolded, the first three defendants were charged. During the course of this, in late 2014/early 2015, Shirley gave a statement explaining her involvement. This cannot be used against her; it is used by the State to decide how to proceed with the witness/suspect. The State offered a plea agreement in exchange for her testimony. Shirley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson. She could serve 20-50 years in jail.
2:46 p.m. – This case does not hinge on Shirley. What her statement does provide is inside knowledge about the intent and conspiracy regarding Mark Leonard and the explosion. You’ll be able to see her and judge her credibility for yourselves.
2:47 p.m. – As far as the charges themselves, some of you noted that they fall into categories. The first category is conspiracy to commit arson charges. This is not a contract.
2:48 p.m. – The events of Nov. 10 are not an isolated incident. This was planned to the point that evidence will show that they tried the same thing on the previous weekend. The separate counts are for the separate dates.
2:49 p.m. – You want to know the why. You want to know the motive. In this case, one of the whys is insurance. You’ll hear from State Farm, who insured the property. Contents converge reached $300,000. A Cadillac and a Harley Davidson were left in the garage. This comes down to greed. This is about money.
2:50 p.m. – Next category is the murder counts. And then finally, the arson counts.
2:51 p.m. – Arson doesn’t require a special amount of damage, it is any damage caused by a fire set intentionally.
2:52 p.m. – Murders don’t happen in a vacuum. Deaths aren’t easy to work with. Some of this will be difficult.
2:53 p.m. – You need to hear all of the evidence. The residents need to tell you what happened. The State must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. I don’t know what critical piece of evidence could convince you. This case will be built for you, to present you with a wall of evidence.
2:54 p.m. – After that wall has been built, I hope you will find Leonard guilty of all charges. Robinson sits down at the prosecution table.
2:55 p.m. – Paraphrasing Defense Attorney Diane Black’s statements until otherwise noted.
2:56 p.m. – The details of this event are tragic. That whole neighborhood will never have that sense of safety that they once had. Witness after witness will make you think you should dish out the strongest punishment you can, based on the results. You are here to determine what the real responsibility is.
2:58 p.m. – A stupid and selfish insurance fraud that went horribly wrong. The results may want you to find one way, but look at the responsibility. This was supposed to be a small fire, not an explosion, not the Oklahoma City bombing.
2:59 p.m. – A cat was boarded, a daughter was sent away. Precautions were taken to ensure nobody was injured. The State charged as strongly as they could.
3:00 p.m. – Mark Leonard was desperate and in jail– a perfect person to manipulate. It was there Leonard had a plan. Robert Smith was on the payroll of the police department. Arrested several times himself, he always finds out information on inmates to relay to jail officers. Smith was giving Leonard pills – antidepressants, antipsychotics – then had conversations with Leonard.
3:01 p.m. – Smith told Leonard the whole case could go away, if one witness was killed. Desperate and delusional, a plot is hatched to kill Mark Douglass.
3:02 p.m. – You’re going to hear conversations of Leonard talking to an ATF agent posing as a hit man. It’s all on tape. What are not on tape are all the conversations with Smith prior to the plan. In desperation, Leonard makes these calls.
3:04 p.m. – Also in jail, charged with the same harsh charges, is Shirley: the one that owns the home, a registered nurse at an ICU, boarded the cat, sent away the daughter. She had some lawyers and they worked out a plea deal. After the events happened, she never stepped forward to say sorry, saying it got out of hand.
3:05 p.m. – Shirley went on the news in Indianapolis, crying and saying she was a victim too. She didn’t tell anybody about what she knew. Even on the day she was arrested, she says nothing. She sits in jail for about 2 years, saying nothing.
3:06 p.m. – The take this statement from Shirley, and she reveals some information. We have 2 days of deposition where we can ask her questions. She gave some information over 7 hours. About a week later, more deposition. She reveals that Leonard disabled the step down regulator that led to the explosion. This was a key piece of evidence for the State. Shirley did this in the 11th hour, when she had a deal.
3:09 p.m. – She was desperate, and that’s how she dealt with it. You are going to struggle with results vs. responsibility. There’s no denying that those people were harmed. The responsibility is now on your shoulders. You will have 4-6 weeks to determine what the real responsibility of Mark Leonard is.
3:10 p.m. – Diane Black sits back down at the defense table. The judge reminds the jurors to not talk about the case with others, watch news media about the case or research the case, including legal terms, online.
*END OF COURT JUNE 8*
June 5, 2015
10:35 a.m. – Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson and the State’s prosecution team enters the courthouse.
10:43 a.m. – Media enters the courtroom.
10:47 a.m. – Mark Leonard enters the courtroom wearing a white dress shirt and green/tan tie (same one he was wearing Thursday). He is handcuffed and has ankle chains. Both are removed after he reaches the defense table.
11:10 a.m. – Judge John Marnocha enters the courtroom.
11:11 a.m. – Judge says a juror was a potential juror whose husband was admitted to the hospital and another who was leaving the country. Both were excused.
11:12 a.m. – Judge reiterates that he will have more control over voir dire today, but will still allow attorneys to ask questions.
11:13 a.m. – Defense attorney David Shircliff attempts to defend the action of brining up the hit man allegation. Asks the judge what he means by no “leading questions.” Judge Marnocha says the “cat is out of the bag,” and that advising the jury of the hiring of a hit man was improper.
11:17 a.m. – Judge will not allow cross-challenge if a juror brings up the hit man.
11:18 a.m. – Potential jury pool of 54 enter the courtroom and are sworn in.
11:24 a.m. – Judge says he acts more as the “referee,” where the jurors act as the real judge.
11:25 a.m. – Judge talks about the questionnaires dealing with pre-trial publicity. “I’m always sensitive to pre-trial publicity, and it would make my job easier if there was no media, but I also believe in our constitution.”
11:28 a.m. – “We do not expect you to come here as a blank slate…everyone has bias. Use your common sense,” said Judge Marnocha.
11:32 a.m. – Judge Marnocha says in a small town, pre-trial publicity is unavoidable because everyone knows everyone “the Internet has made all of our communities small.”
11:35 a.m. – “Is there anyone here today who has any first-hand knowledge of these events,” Judge Marnocha asks. No hands go up.
11:36 a.m. – “Has anyone reached an opinion of guilt or innocence in this case,” he asked. About five hands go up. He asks one of the potential jurors in the first group of 14 if he can suspend that assumption. The potential juror says yes.
11:37 a.m. – Judge begins to ask the others in the gallery who raised their hands if they would be able to suspend their opinion to be a fair juror. Two say yes, one says no. Another says he is unsure.
11:39 a.m. – Another potential juror in the jury box raises their hand. When asked, she says she would not be able to suspend her presumption of guilt. The prosecution and defense teams are then called to the judge’s bench.
11:41 a.m. – Judge Marnocha talks about how long the trial is expected to last, and that he does what he can to end the case earlier if possible. Says it will likely take 4-6 weeks.
11:45 a.m. – The judge says he understands that the time is not convenient for the jurors, and then discusses the responsibility of citizens to serve jury duty. He goes over the proposed daily schedule.
11:50 a.m. – Judge Marnocha jokes about that they talk about how important serving is, but they don’t provide free parking. Says those who are selected to be on the jury will, in fact, get free parking.
11:51 a.m. – The judge introduces the State’s prosecution team and asks the potential jurors if they know anyone. No hands go up.
11:53 a.m. – Judge instructs jury that calling Mark Leonard the defendant does not imply guilt or innocence. Leonard and the defense team are introduced.
11:55 a.m. – Judge asks if any of the potential jurors know each other. Several people raise their hands. He explains that people who know each other well could form opinions together. Each are asked if this could raise any issues. Nobody says yes.
11:58 a.m. – Judge Marnocha plays a video of him reading a list of potential witnesses for the potential jurors, and then asks if they know anyone who was listed. No hands go up.
12:06 p.m. – Several potential jurors raise their hands when asked if they have served on a jury in the past. None of them say those experiences would cause issues for them in this case.
12:12 p.m. – Judge Marnocha asks if any past experiences with crime could affect them in this case. One potential juror in the jury box becomes immediately emotional and the judge appears to know what it is about, says he won’t ask more questions. Another potential juror says he was shot during a robbery. Case is still in progress. One woman says police improperly interrogated her son after he put a for sale sign in someone’s yard.
12:15 p.m. – Juror says his brother was stabbed, but it won’t affect him in this case. One juror says she may have some bias due to a “similar case” in Ohio.
12:19 p.m. – One potential juror says he has been arrested twice and convicted once. He says this may impact his ability to be impartial.
12:21 p.m. – A potential juror says she is the sister of an officer who is in the room.
12:22 p.m. – Judge asks if anyone is a sworn police officer. One person raises his hand, says he is a reserve St. Joseph County officer. He is excused and leaves the courtroom.
12:26 p.m. – Judge reminds the potential jurors that an accusation is just that, and does not imply guilt. State has the burden of proof, as Leonard is presumed innocent. He jokes that the defense could sit at the table and play cards if they really wanted to, but it probably wouldn’t look good.
12:28 p.m. – He explains that not only does that the State have the burden of proof, they must also prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. He quickly reads a definition of “reasonable doubt.” Also notes that this is not a death penalty case.
12:34 p.m. – Asks potential jurors if they have questions. One brings up that he has a disorder. Another says a family friend was convicted of fraud. He said this might impact his ability to be a fair juror.
12:35 p.m. – One potential juror says due to the low audio in the room, he may have difficulties. Another said he recently had knee surgery and needs to have his leg elevated for long periods of time.
12:37 p.m. – One potential juror says he has done research on the Internet about the Richmond Hill case, but believes he can remain impartial. Judge Marnocha says it could be an issue. He asks that moving forward, nobody who is selected for the jury should do research.
12:39 p.m. – Two potential jurors have wives who are pregnant, and are expected to deliver during the time of the trial.
12:41 p.m. – Judge asks if anyone has any religious beliefs that prevent them from being a juror. Nobody says yes.
12:42 p.m. – Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson begins to question the 14 potential jurors in the jury box and talk about legal concepts.
12:46 p.m. – “How does the State prove its case,” she asked. “With evidence,” a potential juror answered.
12:47 p.m. – She brings up law TV shows, reminds people that they are fiction and to “not expect this to be like TV.
12:49 p.m. – “If what you did this morning was reduced to a television show, would you turn it on or off?” Robinson asked. Several say they would turn it off, saying it’s slow or boring. She reminds them that jurors must pay attention during the trial, even during the slow and boring parts.
12:51 p.m. – She explains that Indiana does not have a “premeditated murder” charge. Murder can be performed “intentionally” or “knowingly.” She discusses the differences.
12:54 p.m. – Knowingly means acting with a high probability (not certain) of a certain outcome. Intentionally means acting with a conscious objective of the outcome. She uses a couple of examples to show the difference.
1:00 p.m. – Robinson brings up the idea of being an accomplice to a crime. And explains that accomplices receive the same charges as the person who performed the crime.
1:04 p.m. – Felony murder is discussed, which is a charge in this case. There are some crimes that are so dangerous, that death or other things could happen even if it’s not intentional. Arson is one of those crimes.
1:06 p.m. – Denise Robinson sits back down, and defense attorney Denise Black begins asking questions.
1:07 p.m. – Black asks if the sheer number of charges against her client overwhelms any of the jurors. A few nod their head yes.
1:08 p.m. – Potential juror says she’s concerned because of the seriousness of the charges, saying it’s a large responsibility. Black reminds her that jurors must try to just look at the evidence.
1:10 p.m. – Potential juror says he sometimes has trouble with decision-making, so this is a daunting task. Another juror deals with anxiety.
1:12 p.m. – Judge asks a potential juror to not talk about any facts of the case he may have seen on the news or read online.
1:13 p.m. – Potential juror says while the trial is large, “I think I could be a good juror…I can’t believe I just said that!” Notes some personal schedule conflicts.
1:17 p.m. – Potential juror says “I feel for the [victims] but I don’t know any of them. I’d rather watch it on TV, I’m sure it’s going to be a good story.”
1:21 p.m. – Black brings up that selected jurors will have to listen to witness testimony and determine if what they say are legitimate. She asks if someone who is testifying for a plea bargain or reduced jail time could be trusted.
1:23 p.m. – A potential juror says it’s yet another thing to consider, noting the case’s complexity. Another says it doesn’t necessarily mean that witness isn’t credible.
1:26 p.m. – One juror says because there are a lot of potential witnesses, the jurors should be able to compare their stories. Another says, “that’s just our system.”
1:29 p.m. – Black briefly returns to defense table to say something to the defense team.
1:30 p.m. – Black brings up the idea of jail “snitches.” Potential juror says someone could be getting something more than what they deserve just for telling the truth.
1:33 p.m. – Potential juror says she has a bit of an issue with the connotation of “snitch,” and says, “as long as we’re getting to the truth, fine.”
1:34 p.m. – Judge Marnocha reminds the potential juror that part of her responsibility is to weigh any bias that a witness may have.
1:36 p.m. – Black notes that one of the potential witnesses could possibly receive a monetary benefit from testifying.
1:37 p.m. – One potential juror asks if they will know whether they will know if the witnesses are going to receive any kind of benefit from their testimony. Black says yes.
1:38 p.m. – Black continues to discuss what is or isn’t a “snitch” with the potential jurors.
1:39 p.m. – Black apologizes for possibly making the potential jurors more intimidated or worried. She asks if anyone has questions. No hands are raised. Black sits back down at the defense table.
1:52 p.m. – Judge Marnocha announces that 4 out of the first group of 14 potential jurors will serve in the jury. Jurors 5, 8, 10 and 12 selected.
2:49 p.m. – Potential jurors return to the courtroom and 14 new people enter the jury box to be examined.
2:52 p.m. – State prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth begins speaking with potential jurors.
2:54 p.m. – “We will try to move this case along as efficiently as we can,” said Hollingsworth.
2:55 p.m. – Hollingsworth talks about aiding and abetting and accomplice liability, referring to what Robinson said earlier in the day. Also discusses “accessory after the fact” and “accessory before the fact.”
3:02 p.m. – Hollingsworth provides an example of how a person not even at the scene of a crime can be an accomplice: A bank teller who provides information to robbers who want to rob the bank. Bank teller wasn’t there, but still should face charges. He ties this example in with “conspiracy.”
3:04 p.m. – He explains that someone or a group of people plan out a crime, then take action on that plan. That is a conspiracy.
3:07 p.m. – “Who deserves a fair trial?“ Hollingsworth asks. Potential juror says “everyone.”
3:09 p.m. – Hollingsworth discusses about the difference between “knowingly” and “intentionally” committing a crime. Also discusses felony murder distinction again, saying it’s a death that results from another crime.
3:13 p.m. – Hollingsworth tries to use an example of arson. The judge asked both teams to approach his bench. After a short meeting, Hollingsworth cuts that example short.
3:15 p.m. – He begins to talk about “snitches” again. “If someone has information about a specific crime, is it better or worse that they tell law enforcement.” Potential juror says it’s worse to not tell police.
3:20 p.m. – Hollingsworth starts asking each potential juror if they can remain impartial for the trial. One says no, two says they are not sure. The rest say yes.
3:22 p.m. – Hollingsworth sits back down. Defense attorney David Shircliff starts questioning potential jurors.
3:23 p.m. – Shircliff asks if they have any questions of him. One potential juror asks to what extent they can depend on lawyers to make sure witnesses they put on the stand tell the truth. He says he can’t say for sure, but they do their best.
3:24 p.m. – He asks if the defense should know about anything about the potential jurors that may make them not suitable for jury. Juror 28 says she doesn’t like to judge people and doesn’t think she would do well.
3:26 p.m. – Another potential juror said she cannot be fair due to her past experiences with crime.
3:28 p.m. – Other potential jurors bring up scheduling conflicts and other things that might impede their ability to be impartial.
3:31 p.m. – Juror 23 talked about the overwhelming amount of charges and that it could indicate, “Something did happen.” Juror 19 agreed.
3:33 p.m. – Both teams approach judge’s bench after Shircliff asks if anything jurors heard today could affect their ability to presume Leonard’s innocence.
3:36 p.m. – Shircliff asks about the emotions the potential jurors are feeling.
3:38 p.m. – Potential juror asks if Indiana has an “accidental murder” charge. Shircliff says it’s called reckless homicide.
3:40 p.m. – Shircliff continues to ask people how they are feeling about the charges and the case in general.
3:44 p.m. – Shircliff says general opinion/human nature is “If you’re not innocent, why not testify and say you’re innocent. You’re not going to hear from Mr. Leonard. What do you think about that?”
3:46 p.m. – Juror 15 says she thought it was standard practice to not testify if you were innocent. “If I was accused and I testified, I’d really mess it up,” she joked.
3:49 p.m. – Potential juror asks if the State can call Leonard as a witness. “They cannot,” Shircliff said.
3:53 p.m. – “I can’t imagine what it feels like to sit in your chair. I appreciate your time and you answering my questions,” said Shircliff. He returned to the defense table.
4:01 p.m. – Jurors 15, 19, 22, 25, 26 and 29 were selected, bringing the total to ten jurors seated. One was struck from the list, which now makes the total nine.
*Exited courtroom to report update*
4:32 p.m. – New group of 14 potential jurors are in the jury box, being questioned by Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson.
4:33 p.m. – Robinson speaks to the jury about what their duties will be as jury members. Says when it’s time to deliver a verdict, they’ll have to say if the State proved Leonard’s guilt for each count beyond a reasonable doubt.
4:38 p.m. – Robinson talks about why a suspect may or may not testify. Says that can’t factor into the jury’s decision.
4:40 p.m. – Robinson asks potential jurors if they can imagine how witnesses may feel walking into court, seeing jury and gallery. “Coming into this setting isn’t the most natural setting in the world,” a potential juror said.
4:41 p.m. – Juror 45 says that the witnesses may not feel comfortable. Robinson discusses judging credibility.
4:43 p.m. – “Part of being a juror…is to be able to judge this case on evidence, not feeling,” Robinson says. She asks the jury box how they feel about that. “I want to see the evidence,” said a potential juror.
4:46 p.m. – “I’m not sure how you could not have any emotions. People were killed.” juror 33 said. “No matter what you do in your mind, your feelings will still be there.”
4:47 p.m. – “It will be hard…murder charges are not pretty. If you’re selected to the jury, you’ll see and hear things that are real life,” said Robinson.
4:49 p.m. – Robinson asks if anybody in the jury box feels like they can’t be fair. One woman says she’s overwhelmed by all the counts, and she’s not sure she can be fair.
4:50 p.m. – “If it’s a close call, the case has to go [in favor of] the defendant,” said Robinson
4:52 p.m. – Potential juror said that many of the counts were very specific, while others were less so. He wondered if they were unnecessary or “just added on.”
4:54 p.m. – Robinson asks if anyone with medical issues will have a hard time being a fair juror. A few potential jurors say they’re worried that a job, scheduling issues or medical problems will distract them from where their attention should be.
4:55 p.m. – Denise Robinson sits down at the prosecution table; Diane Black begins questioning those in the jury box. Asking how they feel, if anything might prevent them from being a fair juror.
4:59 p.m. – Potential juror says in a joking tone that this is his first week of retirement, and now he has to go back to 40-hour weeks. A few laughs in the courtroom.
5:03 p.m. – Black continues to ask jurors what may or may not make them be a fair juror. Most list job concerns, length of time away, personal scheduling conflicts, etc.
5:06 p.m. – Black asks juror 46 how he feels about deciding someone’s fate. He says everything he learned about this case he learned today. He doesn’t watch the news. “I think my common sense based on what I’m hearing in this room, I can make an objective decision.” When asked if he’d want to be selected, he said, “yes.”
5:09 p.m. – Black asks juror 42 what he can bring to the case. Says he is a former firefighter and understands that arson can be hard to prove. “It’s my way to participate in the system. The attorneys do their part, the judge does his part and the jury is my part.”
5:12 p.m. – Juror 36 is asked about what makes him a good juror. Says he manages a retail store and is “used to dealing with people.”
5:15 p.m. – Black returns to the defense table.
5:25 p.m. – Jurors 30, 42, 45, 46 were selected, bringing the total to 13 seated.
*Exited courtroom to report update*
5:40 p.m. – State prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth is questioning the remaining 7 potential jurors in Friday’s pool. He asks if anyone has any other questions. There were no replies and he sits back down at the prosecution table.
5:42 p.m. – Defense attorney David Shircliff begins questioning the potential jurors, asking them about things that may impede their ability to be a fair juror. Some bring up scheduling conflicts and personal or family medical conditions.
5:47 p.m. – Shircliff brings up again the fact that Mark Leonard will not be testifying. He asks the jury box if that is an issue for them.
5:48 p.m. – Juror 52 says she wouldn’t have a problem with it. Another potential juror says she understands why he wouldn’t.
5:52 p.m. – Shircliff asks if there is any reason why they cannot presume Leonard’s innocence. Nobody raises his or her hand and Shircliff sits back down at the defense table.
6:00 p.m. – Jurors 49, 51 and 54 were selected to serve in the jury, bringing the total to 16 jurors seated.
*END OF COURT FOR JUNE 5*
June 4, 2015
9:15 a.m. – Defense attorneys enter the St. Joseph County courthouse
10:00 a.m. – Potential jurors watch judicial center orientation video before jury selection. Supplemented with reading of the charges by Judge John Marnocha.
10:10 a.m. – Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson enters the courthouse
10:38 a.m. – Media crews enter courtroom
10:41 a.m. – Mark Leonard enters the courtroom wearing a white shirt and green/tan tie instead of an orange jumpsuit. Ankles chained, handcuffed. Handcuffs and ankle chains were removed before potential jurors saw him. Wednesday, he had a goatee. Thursday, he was clean-shaven.
10:59 a.m. – Judge Marnocha enters the courtroom and takes the judge’s bench. He provides defense and prosecution with questionnaire answers from potential jurors.
11:11 a.m. – All 56 potential jurors being questioned Thursday enter the courtroom. Fourteen jurors are questioned at a time.
11:18 a.m. – Judge Marnocha says in digital age, it’s not surprising that nearly all potential jurors have at least heard about this case. “We do not expect you to be a blank slate, use your common sense,” he said. “Decide this case based on what you see in this courtroom.”
11:20 a.m. – Judge tells potential jurors that the State must prove that a certain event occurred, and that defendant was involved in some fashion with that event.
11:21 a.m. – Judge Marnocha: “The info you have about this case, have any of you gotten that information personally from people in Richmond Hill or someone with personal knowledge.”
11:22 a.m. – Juror 11 says he has friends in Indianapolis, but not from Richmond Hill. They were not personally affected. Not sure if they were present.
11:24 a.m. – Judge Marnocha: “Have any of you formed a final opinion?” A couple of jurors raised their hands.
11:27 a.m. – Judge Marnocha says case will likely take four to six weeks, tells potential jurors that he will try and push things along as quickly as possible. Reminds them that jury service is their duty as a citizen.
11:33 a.m. – Judge asks potential jurors if there are any questions related to the charges. Says the number of charges should not influence their decisions.
11:34 a.m. – Judge introduces State prosecutors. Asks potential jurors if they know anyone.
11:37 a.m. – Judge introduces defendant Mark Leonard and defense. Asks jury if they know anyone.
11:40 a.m. – Jurors 2, 17, 54, 55, 19, 14, 4, 6 and 26 say they know other jurors. They say it will not affect them in terms of serving jury duty. Judge explains that they don’t want “blocks” of people making decisions together because they know each other.
11:43 a.m. – Judge asks if anyone has been on a jury before. Juror 9 served on civil case, juror 11 served on criminal case.
11:46 a.m. – Judge asks if any juror or family members were victims of crime or convicted of crime. Juror 6’s son is in jail.
11:50 a.m. – Judge reminds jurors that charges alone do not imply that defendant is guilty and is presumed innocent. Burden of proof is on the State, who must prove accusations beyond a reasonable doubt.
11:53 a.m. – Judge Marnocha provides a definition of reasonable doubt, noting that in federal court, jurors wouldn’t have been read a definition.
11:56 a.m. – Judge says “this is not a death penalty case.”
11:57 a.m. – Judge asks if religious, moral or other beliefs will prevent anyone from being a fair juror. None of the jurors said yes.
12:00 p.m. – A video is played showing Judge Marnocha reading a list of potential witnesses in the case and asks jurors if they know anyone listed. No hands were raised.
12:07 p.m. – Prosecutor Denise Robinson begins asking questions of the 14 potential jurors in the jury box.
12:09 p.m. – “As a jury, what is your job?” Juror 4: “Be fair and impartial.” Robinson mentions that the media “can get it wrong.” Juror 6, formerly a member of the media, explains that media outlets can receive bad information.
12:11 p.m. – “When people talk to the media, they are not under oath. In court, they are,” said Robinson.
12:12 p.m. – “Who is entitled to a fair and impartial trial?” Robinson asked. Potential jurors say victims, defendant.
12:13 p.m. – “Everyone is entitled to a fair and impartial trial,” said Robinson.
12:14 p.m. – “How do we prove this case,” Robinson asked. Juror said through evidence, witness testimony.
12:15 p.m. – “How many of you watch TV shows about court room drama?” Asked Robinson. Some hands go up. “How many of you would watch a show about what you experienced this morning?” No hands go up. “Why?” she asked. Juror said it was boring.
12:17 p.m. – “This is not scripted,” said Robinson, “I am not an actor.” She explains that they must pay attention and that some evidence may be “boring.”
12:18 p.m. – Denise Robinson discusses circumstantial evidence vs. direct evidence to the potential jurors. Says both should be considered equally. “Don’t forget your common sense,” she said.
12:21 p.m. – Robinson discusses the charges. Asks juror to define murder, explains that Indiana does not have a “premeditated murder” charge. Murder can be performed “intentionally” or “knowingly.” She discusses the differences.
12:25 p.m. – Robinson provides distinction: Knowingly means acting with a high probability (not certain) of a certain outcome. Intentionally means acting with a conscious objective of the outcome.
12:28 p.m. – Felony murder discussed, which is different from the others. “Did kill someone while committing a crime.” Potential juror points out that the outcome is the same.
12:30 p.m. – Arson is one of the types of charges where a death is highly probable, which is why the felony murder charge applies.
12:33 p.m. – Robinson uses an example of a bank robbery where the teller, who knows about the bank, was in on it. Two men enter bank, and there is one driver. All four people should be considered guilty, jurors say.
12:35 p.m. – One of the robbers shoots and kills a person. “Who is guilty of murder?” Robinson asked. Jurors not as quick to answer, then someone says “all four.” Robinson says this is “accomplice liability.” A person who aids someone committing an offence also will be responsible for that offence, according to Indiana law.
12:37 p.m. – Robinson discusses how jurors should interpret emotions, actions, etc. of witnesses.
12:43 p.m. – Robinson asks if anything discussed has presented a problem for them in terms of being fair jurors. No reply from jurors.
12:44 p.m. – Robinson asks specific questions to potential jurors about their answers on questionnaire.
12:46 p.m. – Robinson sits back down at prosecution table.
1:18 p.m. – Defense attorney Diane Black begins questioning talking to potential jurors.
1:21 p.m. – Black says she heard about Leonard trying to have a witness killed. “How am I going to help [him]?” Juror says it could mean he may be guilty. All other potential jurors agree. “Then why are we here?” Black asks.
1:23 p.m. – Potential juror says when he saw news footage, it looked more like Iraq or Lebanon than Indiana. “To learn that he tried to hire a hitman, it seems like he’s guilty and we’re just going through the motions of the law [as a formality.]”
1:26 p.m. – Another juror says it will be difficult to forget about prior knowledge, hitman situation and news content while being presented evidence.
1:33 p.m. – “It’s the elephant in the room that you’re not going to be able to ignore,” said Black.
1:34 p.m. – Black said a reporter called her and asked how she will stand up for Leonard and defend him. “I hope they understand that I have a job and a duty to do,” she said.
1:37 p.m. – Juror talks about how sitting in the jury box is different. May be easier for attorneys to separate from emotion, but says it’s difficult for potential jurors.
1:42 p.m. – Several jurors tell Black that they think Leonard is guilty after discussion about hitman. Some say they’re not sure if they can be a fair juror.
1:47 p.m. – Black sits back down at defense table.
1:52 p.m. – Judge Marnocha asks questions to two potential jurors who are currently enrolled in classes. Asks what would happen if they are selected as jurors.
1:54 p.m. – Out of 14 potential jurors, none of the first group are selected to serve in the jury.
3:15 p.m. – Potential jurors re-enter courtroom. A new group of fourteen takes the jury box. Judge Marnocha asks same introductory questions as other group. One juror says her daughter was a victim of violent crime and it might affect her. Another said he’s served jury duty for a murder trial before.
3:23 p.m. – Judge explains that he realizes that people have personal traumas and are exposed to things in a courtroom that they would not normally see. Asks jurors if they could remain impartial.
3:27 p.m. – Several potential jurors bring up potential scheduling conflicts with such a long trial.
3:29 p.m. – State prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth begins speaking with potential jurors.
3:30 p.m. – “What do you need to convict someone of a crime?” Hollingsworth asks. “Proof, evidence,” potential jurors answer. Says defense talking about Leonard possibly hiring a hit man is not evidence.
3:32 p.m. – “Can you give the State a fair trial?” Hollingsworth asks. “Can you be fair to both sides?” Jury box is quiet.
3:36 p.m. – Hollingsworth provides an example of a robbery with eyewitnesses and even recorded on video. “Are they guilty?” he asked. “Yes,” one potential juror said. Hollingsworth explains that they have not been found guilty in a court of law.
3:38 p.m. – Reminds jurors that they have not seen any evidence in the alleged plot to hire a hit man.
3:40 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks if they can be fair. One juror says, “There’s no way this can be fair with the media firestorm…South Bend is too close to Indianapolis.”
3:43 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks, “If it’s on the news or on the Internet, is it true?” Jurors shake their heads no. One juror says neither is the State’s words without evidence.
3:44 p.m. – Hollingsworth talks about the role of a juror and courtroom television shows as Robinson did earlier in the day.
3:45 p.m. – “What if the State is presenting evidence, and it reminds you of Law and Order, could that possibly happen?” Says the jurors may think they know what’s happening next, and if they see something different they may think the State screwed up. Reminds them to not assume things during trial.
3:48 p.m. – Hollingsworth discusses again the difference in murder charges, and how those who assist a suspected criminal are also suspected.
3:54 p.m. – Hollingsworth asks the jurors what a conspiracy is. He explains that someone or a group of people plan out a crime, then take action on that plan.
3:56 p.m. – Hollingsworth discusses again about the difference between “knowingly” and “intentionally” committing a crime. Also discusses felony murder distinction again, saying it’s a death that results from another crime.
4:00 p.m. – Hollingsworth reminds the jurors that in Indiana, there is no “premeditated murder” and that there are no degrees of murder like other states have.
4:03 p.m. – Juror brings up things he heard on the news, another talks about how different news outlets say different things. Hollingsworth reminds them the State must still prove everything to them. He then sits down.
4:05 p.m. – Defense attorney David Shircliff begins to question jurors. “What questions do you have?” Potential juror asks why Diane Black released information about hit man allegation. Juror says she thinks it’s an attempt to give jurors a bias.
4:08 p.m. – Another potential juror says that tainted his view. “It was like a left hook knocked us down, I’m not sure I can get back up.” Said he didn’t hear that in the news and it took him by surprise.
4:11 p.m. – One potential juror says she still thinks she needs to hear other evidence dispite hit man statement.
4:16 p.m. – Potential juror brings up Black’s statement about when a reporter asked how she could defend Leonard, says it stuck in her mind that even Black second-guessed Leonard’s innocence.
4:18 p.m. – Several potential jurors shake their heads in agreement when one says, “There’s no way he’s innocent, I feel like we are wasting our time.” Says the news can’t be completely wrong and that it’s hard to ignore aftermath photos.
4:20 p.m. – Potential juror says, “It seems like you guys are all on the same team to convict [Leonard].” A few others nod in agreement.
4:23 p.m. – Shircliff talks about a podcast he listened to about knowing anything in an instant. Google, Twitter, etc. Podcaster said that is fundamentally different than thinking. Shircliff says there is a difference between knowing something because you can see it and truly understanding its meaning.
4:26 p.m. – “If Mark Leonard is innocent, why would we tell you he tried to hire a hit man to kill a potential witness?” Shircliff asked. Judge Marnocha calls State and defense teams to his bench.
4:29 p.m. – Shircliff rephrases his question, “Does this statement by Mrs. Black about hiring a hit man prove [Leonard] committed arson or other charges?”
4:31 p.m. – One juror said she understands Leonard’s charges still needs to be proved. Another juror said it at least implies he’s guilty of something.
4:32 p.m. – “I’m very confused and lost on what we’re talking about,” a potential juror said.
4:33 p.m. – “Is there any way you can presume that Mark Leonard is innocent,” Shircliff asked. One juror said she is 95% sure she can’t remain impartial. She also brought up the impact that the aftermath photos had on her.
4:35 p.m. – Another juror says he thinks Leonard is guilty right now, based on media coverage and hit man statement.
4:36 p.m. – Judge instructs potential witness to not talk about what she saw on the news last night. She also says she can’t presume Leonard’s innocence.
4:37 p.m. – Shircliff goes down the line of potential jurors, asking if they can presume innocence. Many say no, saying the media and Black’s statement regarding the hit man influenced them. Only one says she can presume his innocence.
4:48 p.m. – Shircliff says this is one of the longest, hardest and complicated cases he has worked on, thanks the potential jurors for their time and returns to the defense table.
5:00 p.m. – All 14 in jury box excused again. 28/56 now interviewed, nobody selected to be on the jury.
5:10 p.m. – Judge Marnocha says defense’s move to talk about hit man should have been excluded.
5:11 p.m. – Judge says jury has been exposed to this issue, and it’s so intertwined with pre-trial publicity, he doesn’t think a jury can be selected from this pool.
Jury selection will restart Friday “from zero” as the judge put it, with fresh jurors.
5:12 p.m. – Judge will not allow anyone to ask jury about if they were aware of facts about the case before trial.
5:15 p.m. – Robinson says the hit man statement happened so quickly that the State did not have time to object.
*END OF COURT FOR JUNE 4*