Fourth Richmond Hill suspect appears in court, asks for public defender

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INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 30, 2015) - The fourth person arrested in connection with the November 2012 explosion that killed two people on Indianapolis' south side appeared in court for his initial hearing Friday morning.

Gary Thompson, 44, asked for a public defender, a request the judge granted. It was also requested that he be held separately and have no contact with co-defendants Monserrate Shirley, Mark Leonard and Bob Leonard.

Thompson said he'd been unemployed since 2008. He's being held on no bond due to felony murder charges filed against him. A pretrial hearing is set for April.

Thompson was arrested Wednesday in the case. The probable cause affidavit released Thursday showed Thompson told investigators that he'd been involved in two unsuccessful attempts to set fire to the home on Fieldfare Way in the Richmond Hill subdivision. He denied playing an active role in the fatal blast on Nov. 10, 2012.

He's charged with two counts of murder, a count of conspiracy to commit arson and 46 counts of arson.

According to court documents, investigators said Thompson helped remove and replace the thermostat in the home. A witness reported seeing men matching the descriptions of Thompson and co-defendant Bob Leonard at the home hours before the explosion. Detectives interviewed Thompson twice during the month of January. He said he discussed ways to set off the explosion.

“Gary Thompson advised there was discussion that the microwave oven could also be programmed to start with metal in the microwave which would spark and become an ignition source,” according to court documents.

Prosecutors described Thompson as a longtime associate of co-defendant Mark Leonard, who faces a June trial in South Bend. Leonard's case continues to move forward with a hearing on several motions set for February 6. The court granted him a change of venue request and a judge from South Bend will travel to Indianapolis for the hearing.

PHOTOS: Richmond Hill explosion