The Associated Press
A judge sentenced a man to more than two life sentences in prison on Friday for his role in a 2012 southside house explosion that killed a Greenwood school teacher and her husband and destroyed or damaged dozens of homes.
Bob Leonard of Indianapolis was convicted last month on all 51 counts he had faced, including murder, arson and insurance fraud charges. Leonard, 57, received two consecutive life sentences without parole on the murder counts, along with 70 years on the other charges, according to Allen Superior Court Executive John McGauley.
Prosecutors said surveillance video, witness testimony and DNA evidence proved Leonard was involved in the plot with his half brother and others to use natural gas and a microwave to blow up the house to claim $300,000 in insurance.
Leonard’s half brother, Mark Leonard, was convicted of being the mastermind behind the Nov. 10, 2012, explosion. He was sentenced in August to two life sentences, along with 75 years in prison.
The home was owned by Mark Leonard’s girlfriend at the time, Monserrate Shirley, who testified that Bob Leonard was brought into the plot after a first attempt to burn down her house failed in October 2012. Prosecutors allege the suspects planned to destroy the house by filling it with natural gas.
A microwave apparently set to start on a timer sparked the blast.
The explosion just north of County Line Road destroyed the home and the house next door, killing her neighbors, Jennifer and John “Dion” Longworth. Jennifer Longworth was a teacher at Southwest Elementary School in Greenwood.
It also damaged or destroyed more than 80 other homes in the Richmond Hill neighborhood.
During Bob Leonard’s trial last month, Shirley told jurors that when she asked him about the explosion that killed her next-door neighbors, he replied: “Oh well, they died. You were in it. You talk, we talk.”
Prosecutors presented 16 days of testimony during Bob Leonard’s more than month-long trial in Fort Wayne, where the trial was moved because of high publicity of the case in Indianapolis. Mark Leonard’s trial was conducted in South Bend.
Bob Leonard didn’t testify in his defense, and his attorneys called just two witnesses who were on the stand for about a half hour.
Shirley, who testified against both men, has pleaded guilty to two conspiracy charges. She faces a 20 years to 50 years in prison when sentenced.
Her cooperation also led to charges against two alleged co-conspirators, Glenn Hults and Gary Thompson, who are scheduled for a joint trial in June. Thompson faces two counts of murder and 47 arson-related counts, while Hults faces a charge of conspiracy to commit arson.