Attorneys for Richmond Hill suspect seek to exclude statement

Monserrate Shirley (left), Mark Leonard (middle) and Robert Leonard (right)

One of the men accused in the deadly Richmond Hill explosion asked the court to exclude a statement made by another suspect in the case.

Attorneys for Mark Leonard filed that request and five other motions Monday.

They want to exclude a statement made by Mark’s brother, Bob Leonard, during the investigation.

The other five motions deal largely with witness statements and testimony as well as trial procedures and order.

The Leonards and Mark’s girlfriend Monserrate Shirley are accused of murder, arson and insurance fraud for the explosion at Shirley’s south side home November 10, 2012. Shirley's neighbors, Dion and Jennifer Longworth, died in the explosion. Dozens of homes were destroyed or damaged.

In the last year, a Marion County agreed to separate the trials, ruled that they would run consecutively. Mark is scheduled to be tried first, followed by Shirley and Bob.

Prosecutors initially objected to the three trials, saying the plan will cost too much, and it could take nearly a year to hold all three trials. Prosecutors say they expect about 200 witnesses to be called, many of them residents who live in the Richmond Hill neighborhood and suffered through the explosion and its aftermath.

One of the motions filed by Mark’s attorneys is related to consolidating witnesses testimony.

As part of a January filing related to the scheduling of trials, they questioned having all of those witnesses take the stand and suggested that parties might be willing to stipulate to the injuries and much of the damage.

The other motions filed Monday deal with dividing the trial into segments, excluding certain testimony from the trial and a request to further depose a confidential informant.

The court scheduled five days in late July/early August to consider several outstanding motions, including a change of venue request.