Man arrested in connection with south side explosion files motion to change venue

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A man arrested in connection with the south side explosion has filed a motion for a change of venue Tuesday.

Mark Leonard and his lawyer filed the motion with the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, claiming Leonard would not be able to get a fair trial in Marion or surrounding counties due to the high publicity of the incident.

The prosecutor’s office filed a response to Leonard’s motion Wednesday, stating the suspect’s request should be denied or further reviewed.  According to the court document, prosecutors argued Leonard did not provide enough evidence to suggest there would not be a fair trial in the state.

Prosecutors also argued there have been “numerous cases with significant publicity” where an impartial jury was selected.

Leonard and girlfriend Monserrate Shirley, the owner of the home at the epicenter of the explosion, were charged in December with two counts of murder and multiple counts of arson in connection with the Nov. 10 explosion that killed neighbors Dion and Jennifer Longworth. Prosecutors said the explosion was the result of a scam to collect insurance money.

Last week, Shirley filed a motion to move her trial outside of Marion County as well.

Leonard’s brother, Bob, was also charged in connection with the explosion.  All three are scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 21 for a pretrial hearing.  A jury trial is scheduled for March 4.

3 comments

  • zuladiene

    I think that this guy is the mastermind of all this and now are trying to make look guilty at this lady. But the truth is going to be know and she is going to be free soon. Everything in this state is because there are racism. But don't worry Monserrate you are going to be reinvindicated.

  • zuladiene

    This guys are using this lady as scapegoat. But she does not have nothing to do with what they are accusing her.

  • indyboom

    no way she gets off, her house, SHE increased the insurance on her personal property, She moved him in, SHE lied to investigators, SHE was more worried about her house when SHE called a friend in the neighborhood instead of what she told investigators that someone called her. Shes just as guilty

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