Request to split Richmond Hill suspect’s trial into two parts denied

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Mark Leonard

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (Feb. 11, 2015)– A St. Joseph County judge has turned down a motion by the lead Richmond Hill defendant to divide his trial into two parts.

Mark Leonard asked judge John Marnocha to split his murder and arson conspiracy charges into two separate trials.

Leonard wanted the prosecution to prove that arson destroyed his girlfriend Moncy Shirley’s house in November 2012, killed two neighbors and wrecked dozens of nearby homes. Then, separately, he wanted the state to prove that he led the insurance fraud conspiracy that resulted in the tragedy.

Prosecutors disagreed, arguing that the conspiracy was part of the fatal explosion.

Leonard also dropped his request for a delay in the trial, which is slated to begin June 4 in South Bend.

Meanwhile, Bob Leonard Jr., one of four people arrested in the conspiracy, has been transferred to the Allen County jail in Fort Wayne to await his trial which hasn’t been set yet.