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.