New documents shed light on Richmond Hill explosion case
Search warrants released by investigators this week provide more details about how arson investigators pieced together what happened in the Richmond Hill explosion.
Two people died, several were injured and dozens of homes were destroyed as a result of the November 10th blast. Monserrate Shirley, Mark Leonard and Bob Leonard are accused of deliberately rigging the natural gas explosion that killed a couple next door.
Investigators believe the three conspired to fill Shirley's house with natural gas and programmed a microwave to start on a timer to spark it. Their alleged motive was to collect $300,000 in insurance money.
The documents show what items detectives searched for to connect the suspects to the explosion, specific details about how investigators eliminated an accident as the explosion cause and how they discovered it was the fireplace and programmable microwave oven that were used to trigger the deadly explosion.
The search warrants also show that Mark Leonard removed his personal belongings from the home a week before the blast.
Records released Thursday show police sought cell phone records that would confirm a Nov. 2 phone call in which Mark Leonard allegedly told a friend his house had exploded. That call came a week before the actual blast, following an alleged failed first attempt to destroy the home.
Leonard, his girlfriend, Monserrate Shirley, and his brother, Bob Leonard, are charged with murder and arson.
See the documents here (WTHR has chosen to redact the names of some witnesses who provided statements to investigators.):