SOUTH BEND, Ind. (June 8, 2015)– The jury is finalized for the first Richmond Hill trial focusing on Mark Leonard’s trial in South Bend.Twelve jurors and six alternates will ultimately decide Leonard’s fate.
It took two-and-a-half days of court, but just before 1:00 p.m Monday afternoon, the group of 18 St. Joseph County residents were selected.
The morning got off to a rough start as one of the jurors who was already selected was dismissed.
Juror number three proved that she wouldn’t be able to commit to the Richmond Hill trial–expected to last up to six weeks.
Juror three wrote a note telling St. Joseph County Judge Marnocha that she will be moving out of state during the trial. It was determined that juror number three was logistically unfit to serve on the jury and was subsequently dismissed.
The focus Monday morning shifted to finding three alternate jurors.
Judge Marnocha told the potential jury pool that he doesn’t expect them to enter the trial as a “blank slate” due to the high level of pre-trial publicity. However, he wanted to know if the news coverage they have seen would impact their ability to serve as a fair and impartial judge.
The trial was moved out of Marion County due to the amount of pre-trial media exposure.
Mark Leonard is considered the mastermind behind an insurance scheme that resulted in the deaths of two Indianapolis residents.
Prosecutors say Leonard conspired to blow up his ex-girlfriend’s home in the Richmond Hill subdivision.
Leonard entered the courtroom Monday wearing a white button-down shirt, tie and black dress pants. He was shackled at both the arms and legs and escorted by a St. Joseph County court bailiff.
Opening statements started at 1:30 p.m. Monday.