State of Indiana argues against change of venue in Richmond Hill - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

State of Indiana argues against change of venue in Richmond Hill explosion

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Monserrate Shirley Monserrate Shirley
Mark Leonard Mark Leonard
INDIANAPOLIS -

Prosecutors are responding to a change of venue request in the Richmond Hill explosion case.

The attorney for Monserrate Shirley, one of the defendants in the deadly November 10th explosion that rocked the south side neighborhood, filed for a motion for change of venue last week.

Shirley's attorney argued that due to negative publicity about the case, his client would not get a fair trial in Marion County.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Denise Robinson argued that the motion should be denied. While the State of Indiana conceded that there has been widespread publicity, Robinson said that a lot of that publicity stemmed from Shirley herself granting media interviews.

Shirley's attorney also said public outrage about the case could impact jury selection, although the state said that's "nothing beyond an assertion that this might be the case."

A judge will make the final decision on whether or not to move the trial to another county.

Jennifer and Dion Longworth died in the blast, which prosecutors say was intentionally set. Mark Leonard, Shirley's boyfriend, and his brother Bob Leonard, also face charges. All three face felony murder and arson charges.

A witness told police that her ex-boyfriend, who is the son of Bob Leonard, hid boxes in her basement the day after the explosion. Prosecutors allege those items had been taken out of the home prior to the explosion.

Investigators are still searching for a fourth suspect, who is believed to have been in the van with Bob Leonard the day of the explosion.

See the state's response here.

See all stories, video and documents related to the south side explosion.

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