Mark Leonard charges

Mark Leonard
Mark Leonard charges
Mark Leonard charges
Mark Leonard charges
Mark Leonard charges
Mark Leonard charges
Mark Leonard charges
Mark Leonard charges

Mark Leonard, 46, was found guilty on all 53 charges in the 2012 south side explosion in the Richmond Hill neighborhood. Below is a list and brief explanation of those charges. 

  • Counts 1-2: "Felony Murder" - GUILTY
    • one count for Dion Longworth, one count for Jennifer Longworth
    • "Felony Murder" is the title given to a death that happens during the commission of another felony, in this case arson. Mark Leonard did not have to intend to kill anyone to be found guilty of these charges; all prosecutors have to prove is that he is guilty of arson and that the Longworths died because of that arson.
  • Counts 3-4: Conspiracy to Commit Arson - GUILTY
    • Under Indiana law, "conspiracy" just means that two or more people together discussed/planned carrying out the crime
  • Counts 5-16: Arson - Class A Felony - GUILTY
    • One count for each of the residents who was injured in the explosion and/or resulting fires
  • Counts 17-49: Arson - Class B Felony - GUILTY
    • One count for each family whose home was destroyed in the explosion and/or resulting fires
  • Count 50: Arson - Class B Felony - GUILTY
    • This is the same crime as counts 17-49, but represents in a single charge all homeowners whose house was damaged but not destroyed as a result of the explosion and/or resulting fires
  • Count 51: Conspiracy to Commit Insurance Fraud - Class C Felony - GUILTY
    • While Leonard was charged with conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, he was not charged with insurance fraud itself because all of the insurance policies were only in Monserrate Shirley's name, so she was the only one who officially filed claims on those policies.
  • Counts 52-53: "Knowing Murder" - GUILTY
    • one count for Dion Longworth, one count for Jennifer Longworth
    • These charges still count as felonies under Indiana law, attorneys just refer to them by a different name to help differentiate them from counts 1 and 2 because prosecutors have to prove different elements for Leonard to be found guilty on these charges.
    • Prosecutors do not need to prove that Leonard intended to kill anyone for the jury to find him guilty of these charges. In fact, prosecutors explicitly said Leonard didn't intend to kill anyone in the explosion.
    • Prosecutors do need to prove Leonard knew there was a "high probability" someone could die as a result of the explosion.
    • These counts come with lesser-included charges of Reckless Homicide.
      • If the jury finds Leonard guilty of Murder on these counts, they will not even debate Reckless Homicide.
      • If the jury finds Leonard not guilty of Murder on these counts - even if they find him guilty of Reckless Homicide - prosecutors cannot move forward with life without parole as a potential sentence.

Statement from Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry:

“On the evening of November 19, 2012, many of us from the public safety community stood in the dark on the Southside to disclose that the investigation of the circumstances of the Richmond Hill explosion was now a homicide investigation. Today’s verdict confirms what investigators realized from almost day one, that the explosion which occurred on November 10 was a senseless, criminal act which resulted in the horrific deaths of Dion and Jennifer Longworth, injury to dozens of others, unparalleled property destruction, and the loss of a sense of safety and security for all residents of that neighborhood. By today’s conviction of Mark Leonard and the guilty plea by Monserrate Shirley, we have now completed two significant steps in realizing the justice we have pledged from day one for the Richmond Hill residents.

“The investigation and prosecution of this matter has literally taken tens of thousands of hours of effort by numerous individuals. I commend Det. Jeffrey Wager and IMPD investigators, Lt. Mario Garza and IFD investigators, agents of the Federal ATF, and our trial team for their extraordinary work leading to this conviction.”

Case Background

After 19 days of testimony, attorneys spent another 4 hours delivering closing arguments. Jurors returned a guilty verdict on all counts after just 2.5 hours of deliberation.

Judge John Marnocha then gave the jury their final instructions, including a reminder of all 53 charges Leonard faces and what the State has to prove in order for the jury to return a guilty verdict. It also includes definitions, such as the legal difference between "intentionally"  and "knowingly" committing a crime.

Leonard is the accused ringleader of the plot to destroy Monserrate Shirley's home to cash in on the $300,000 insurance policy. The explosion killed two people, Dion and Jennifer Longworth, and did more than $4 million in damage, destroying more than three dozen homes and damaging more than 70 others.

Prosecutors have asked for a sentencing enhancement that would allow them to seek a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. That will only be possible if Leonard is found guilty of murder on the final two counts of "knowing murder."

Monserrate Shirley pleaded guilty to her charges in exchange for taking life without parole off the table. She will not be sentenced at all until all four of the other suspects have been tried. A judge will then sentence her to 20-50 years in prison, and some or all of that could be suspended. That means she could stay in prison for 50 years, or go home as soon as the other trials are complete.

Bob Leonard's trial has already been announced as the next in line. It will be held in Fort Wayne.

Read the original probable cause affidavit from December 2012.