Three years after a deadly home explosion that rocked a subdivision in Indianapolis, the jury had a verdict. Mark Leonard, 46, is guilty of murder, arson, and insurance fraud.
As the judge read the jury’s verdict, Leonard showed no emotion. He was deemed guilty of all 53 counts. Prosecutors argued that Leonard was the mastermind who organized and implemented a devastating explosion that damaged and destroyed over 80 homes in an Indianapolis suburb.
The plan was for Leonard and his then-girlfriend Monserrate Shirley and half brother Bob Leonard to blow up the home and claim the$300 000 in insurance.
Dion Longworth and his wife Jennifer were killed in the explosion. Longworth’s dad, John, is relieved that Leonard won’t be able to hurt anyone else. Despite the conviction against Leonard, Longworth took no satisfaction in the verdict, saying “When the thing you want most is to have your child back, nothing makes it better”.
The jury took less than four hours over two days to make a decision in the verdict. During the trial, prosecutors called 169 witnesses to testify against the defendant. In emotional and disturbing testimony, first responders recall seeing Longworth alive in the basement through a hole. Witnesses testified that Longworth was crying “It’s so hot, so hot. Get me out! Please, get me out!”
With the verdict delivered, the judge will hear arguments on Wednesday for the sentencing of Leonard. Prosecutors will push for life without parole on two counts of murder. Defense attorneys in the case have filed a motion to dismiss this request because they feel prosecutors have failed to prove the necessary aggravating factors.
Leonard’s brother, Bob, is set to go on trial in January 2016 to face the same charges as Mark.