Family: Richmond Hill witness "watching his back" after murder plot
13 Investigates has learned the identity of the man investigators call "M.D."
He's the same man investigators say was targeted in the murder-for-hire scheme hatched by Richmond Hill explosion suspect Mark Leonard. (Eyewitness News is withholding his name in deference to the investigation.)
Gang intelligence at the Marion County Jail retrieved recorded phone calls of Leonard reportedly offering an undercover ATF agent $15,000 to kill M.D. Leonard promised a $5,000 bonus if the "hit man" made it look like suicide.
"He stated that he had money hidden," said Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry at a press conference Thursday.
Investigators say Leonard tried to carry out the plot in jail, despite warnings on the walls and on the phone advising someone could be listening.
"This call is from a corrections facility and it's subject to monitoring and recording," says a voice before the jail house calls are patched through.
The Marion County Sheriff's Department provided 13 Investigates copies of the notifications.
13 Investigates is also learning how M.D. is responding to Leonard's "murder" plot. We talked directly with a close family member who said, "M.D. Is okay. He is worrying," the relative said. "Police informed him before yesterday," about the plan, "He's watching his back."
Watching his back because it was M.D. who told investigators about another incriminating plan.
In court records, M.D. said a week before the Richmond Hill explosion that Mark Leonard told him "the house blew up. The tsunami winds came down the chimney, blew out the fire in the fireplace and the gas kept running and the house blew up."
Later that same day, M.D. said Leonard was "surfing on Craigslist, looking for a Ferrari to buy," explaining that "Moncy has jewelry insured and they expect to get $300,000."
Investigators determined Mark Leonard, his brother Bob Leonard, and Monserrate "Moncy" Shirley had tried to blow up the house during a first failed attempt. The following weekend, investigators say they succeeded and in the process killed Dion and Jennifer Longworth.
M.D.'s family member says he couldn't stand by after the death of the Longworths. He reportedly told his family he knew about the insurance fraud, and "(Mark Leonard) has been doing that for years. It's wrong. Murder is a different story."
Mark Leonard's attorney Deana Martin told 13 Investigates, "This is merely an allegation and we're investigating," but declined further comment.
Leonard is charged with conspiracy to commit murder and if convicted of this charge could face up to 50 years.