Prosecutors reach plea deal with Richmond Hill suspect Gary Thompson


INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Another step toward closure in the south side explosion case: prosecutors have reached a plea deal for suspect Gary Thompson.

Thompson was set to go to trial next month for murder and dozens of other charges. But now, with good time credit, he'll likely serve just ten years in exchange for pleading guilty to his role in the case.

About two dozen Richmond Hill neighbors gathered Monday night to hear directly from prosecutors about the plea deal. The agreement, signed by suspect Gary Thompson, will be filed Tuesday morning.

"It calls for a guilty plea to an A felony conspiracy to commit arson resulting in serious bodily injury," explained Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry.

"Maybe this was the best they could, you know, get without dragging this to be another six week trial," said Richmond Hill neighbor Doug Aldridge.

Thompson is the third suspect to face a trial in connection with the 2012 explosion that destroyed dozens of homes and killed Jennifer and Dion Longworth.

Under the plea deal, Thompson gets a 30 year sentence with 20 years executed and two years probation.

Curry explained that the crime was committed under the prior code, so with good time credit, Thompson will serve a minimum of ten years. Neighbors at the meeting told prosecutors they're ok with the deal.

"I think a lot of people in the neighborhood are tired of putting their lives on hold getting constant email reminders that we have another trial to go to," Aldridge said. "We all want justice served but on the other hand we want this over."

The entire case is nearly over. Mark Leonard and his brother Bob Leonard have already been convicted. Thompson's now pleaded guilty. And a trial for conspiracy suspect, Glenn Hults, is in November. That's expected to last only a week and a half.

Then Monserrate Shirley, who took a plea and agreed to help prosecutors by testifying against the other suspects, will be sentenced. She faces 20 to 50 years in prison.

"It would be our hope and our plan to have a sentencing for Monserrate Shirley for December of this year and thus have everything resolved by year end," Curry said. "It's been a significant commitment and I have to say I'm really proud of our office and the commitment we've made to this case and the results we've obtained for this neighborhood."

Resolution for those in Richmond Hill is the justice they've waited for for four long years.

"We could have this done by Christmas and it would be a wonderful Christmas gift," Aldridge said.