Five suspects are accused of conspiring to trigger a massive natural gas explosion that leveled a house on the south side of Indianapolis on November 10, 2012. Mark Leonard’s trial is being held in South Bend for the next 4-6 weeks. Below is more information on each suspect.
- Arrested with Mark Leonard (She and Leonard were questioned on November 13, 2012 and then charged on December 21, 2012).
- CHARGES: Conspiracy to commit arson. Plea deal made with prosecutors January 20, 2015 to drop murder and arson charges in exchange for testifying against co-defendants.
- SUMMARY: Monserrate Shirley, 49, is Mark Leonard’s girlfriend. She owned the home at 8349 Fieldfare Way that was blown up. Prosecutors say she helped plan to have the home empty during two failed attempts to destroy the home, and also during the successful blast. Mark Leonard allegedly plotted the insurance fraud scheme for nearly a year to bail Shirley out of financial trouble.
- STATUS: Held without bond. Shirley faces a potential 20 to 50 years in prison. But a judge could give the single mother a suspended sentence.
- Arrested with Monserrate Shirley (He and Shirley questioned on November 13, 2012 and then charged on December 21, 2012).
- CHARGES: murder, arson and conspiracy to commit arson.
- SUMMARY: 46-year-old Mark Leonard’s girlfriend is Monserrate Shirley. He is accused of masterminding the insurance fraud scheme to blow up her home. He expected to get a $300,000 insurance policy payout from State Farm. Prosecutors say he and Shirley were at a southern Indiana casino while the crime was committed by Bob Leonard and Gary Thompson. Mark Leonard’s white van was allegedly used by the pair to set up the blast. He is also accused of attempting to hire a hit man to kill a witness.
- STATUS: On trial in South Bend. He faces life without parole if convicted.
BOB LEONARD, JR.
- Third suspect arrested (Questioned and released on November 20, 2012. Charged December 21, 2012).
- CHARGES: Murder, arson and conspiracy to commit arson.
- SUMMARY: Bob Leonard, 56, is accused of triggering the blast with Gary Thompson. A witness says he saw two men matching their descriptions at Shirley’s home the day of the blast. Prosecutors say he conspired with his brother and Shirley to commit the insurance fraud scheme. They say he and Thompson filled the home with natural gas and set a timer on a microwave oven with a propane tank inside to spark the explosion.
- STATUS: Held without bond. Trial scheduled for January 19, 2016 in Fort Wayne. Prosecutors are seeking life sentence without parole if convicted.
- Fourth suspect arrested (January 28, 2015).
- CHARGES: murder, arson, conspiracy to commit arson.
- SUMMARY: According to court documents, Thompson, 44, admitted to helping Mark Leonard in at least one failed attempt to blow up Shirley’s home. Thompson had worked for Mark Leonard for several years. He denies being involved in the successful explosion. But a witness says two men matching the descriptions of Gary Thompson and Bob Leonard were seen at Shirley’s home the day of the blast.
- STATUS: Held without bond. Thompson won’t face trial until next year at the earliest.
- Fifth suspect arrested (April 14, 2015).
- CHARGES: conspiracy to commit arson.
- SUMMARY: Glenn Hults, 49, is a friend of Mark Leonard. Prosecutors say he knew of the arson plot as early as July 2012. He’s accused of encouraging Leonard and Shirley to go through with the insurance fraud scheme. Court documents show Hults agreed to keep Shirley’s daughter overnight and to keep some of Shirley’s personal belongings.
- STATUS: Currently out on bond and under GPS monitoring. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for September.