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Prosecutor seeks life without parole in fatal explosion

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Three people face life in prison for last year's southside explosion that killed a Greenwood teacher and her husband.

The Marion County Prosecutor's Office has asked for life sentences without parole for Monserrate Shirley, who owned the house, her boyfriend Mark Leonard, and his brother Bob Leonard Jr.

They each face two counts of murder for the deaths of Jennifer and John Longworth and multiple counts of arson in the explosion that decimated much of the far southside neighborhood and required dozens of homes to be razed

Aggravating circumstances that would allow life without parole are that the murders were committed by the unlawful detonation of an explosive device, that more than one person died, and that John Longworth died after coming into direct contact with fire from the explosion, according to a news release from the Marion County Prosecutor's Office.

“This decision was arrived at after thoughtful consideration in accordance with our procedure in potential capital cases,” Prosecutor Terry Curry said in the release.

“The intentional acts of the defendants, as alleged, were undertaken with no regard whatsoever to the tragic consequences which did in fact flow from a scheme to blow up the Shirley residence. Those alleged acts, if proven, thus justify that the defendants spend life in prison with no option for parole.”

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