Richmond Hill explosion suspect’s trial to be held in South Bend
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (August 20, 2014)– Court documents reveal that a suspect in the Richmond Hill explosion case will have his trial in St. Joseph County.
Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson told the court that while there had been extensive pre-trial media coverage, a test jury pool revealed that many potential jurors had personally witnessed the explosion that killed two people and rocked a south side neighborhood in November of 2012.
Leonard, his half-brother Bob and his girlfriend Moncy Shirley are accused of blowing up her home in an insurance fraud scheme. The trio are accused of murder, arson and insurance fraud. Investigators claim Leonard planned the blast.
Dion and Jennifer Longworth were killed, 80 homes were damaged and losses totaled $4 million.
In July, Marion Superior Judge Shelia Carlisle approved Leonard’s motion for a change of venue after the Marion County Prosecutor dropped its objection to moving the first Richmond Hill case out of Indianapolis.
A blind draw among the four judges in St. Joseph County will determine who the judge will be. Following that draw, the court dates will be set.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry estimates it will cost more than $700,000 to take Leonard’s trial to South Bend.
“We literally believe we’re going to have to rent a semi for the purpose of hauling the exhibits alone and as you’re aware we anticipate we’ll have over 200 witnesses,” Curry said.
In 1995, Kofi Ajabu’s trial in a Carmel triple murder was moved from Hamilton County to South Bend.