Tags: mark leonard | murder | conviction | life | prison

Mark Leonard Murder Conviction Could Mean Life in Prison With No Parole

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Jul 2015 10:42 AM

Mark Leonard was convicted on 53 counts including murder, arson, and conspiracy Tuesday for his role as the mastermind in the fatal Indiana house explosion that killed two people and destroyed more than 80 homes in 2012.

Judge John Marnocha of the St. Joseph County Superior Court is set to hear arguments on Wednesday to determine whether or not Leonard, 46, should receive a life without parole sentence in prison for his part in instigating the Nov. 10, 2012 explosion, according to The Associated Press.

All in all, Leonard’s 53 convictions could add up to 300 years in prison, according to the Indianapolis Star. The guilty verdict also includes two counts for knowing murder and counts for arson and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

The jury took only four hours over a period of two days to convict Leonard, according to the AP, and prosecutors alleged that Leonard was the mastermind who plotted along with his live-in girlfriend, Monserrate Shirley, and his half-brother, Bob Leonard, to blow up Shirley’s home in order to collect $300,000 in insurance coverage. Prosecutors also alleged that excessive levels of natural gas were released into the home before it was ignited with a timed device on a microwave. Bob Leonard is scheduled to go on trial in January for the same charges Mark Leonard faced.

The two people killed during the fire were Shirley’s next-door neighbors John Dion Longworth, 34, and his wife, Jennifer, 36. Both sets of parents attended court while the guilty verdicts were read.

“As far as I'm concerned, the Leonard gang has sentenced my family to outdoor prison for the rest of our lives," said Don Buxton, Jennifer’s father, according to the Indianapolis Star. “My wife always talks about what she won't have with her daughter, you know — going shopping and taking care of her kids and all of these things. We won't have any of that.”

Dion’s father, John Longworth, said that he brought copies of Leslie D. Weatherhead’s book, “The Will of God,” to one of the court sessions. Longworth said that the book, which explores how to deal with loss, details how he copes with his own grief. He is considering giving a copy of the book to Leonard, though Longworth admitted to having a hard time forgiving him.

“I have to let go of it every day,” Longworth said, according to the Indianapolis Star.

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Mark Leonard was convicted on 53 counts including murder, arson, and conspiracy Tuesday for his role as the mastermind in the fatal Indiana house explosion that killed two people and destroyed more than 80 homes in 2012.
mark leonard, murder, conviction, life, prison
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2015-42-15
Wednesday, 15 Jul 2015 10:42 AM
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