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Bob Leonard Jr. sentenced to life in prison without parole in deadly Richmond Hill explosion

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (March 18, 2016) – Convicted Richmond Hill killer Bob Leonard Jr. was sentenced Friday for his role in the deadly 2012 Richmond Hill explosion.

Leonard received two life without parole sentences plus 70 years.

Last month, it took a jury about four and a half hours to find him guilty of all 51 counts for his role in the natural gas explosion that blew up Monserrate Shirley’s house in the Richmond Hill community on November 10, 2012. The explosion killed Jennifer and Dion Longworth and destroyed more than 80 homes. The total cost of the damage was more than $4 million.

Dion Longworth’s mother called Leonard “unrepentant” and “arrogant" in court Friday.

Leonard stared her down after she read her statement, while later maintaining his innocence.

“I’m innocent. They withheld evidence. The state didn’t present the evidence, and my attorney didn’t either,” said Leonard, as he was led away from the courthouse.

The convicted killer didn’t show any remorse throughout Friday’s hearing as seven people took the stand to give victim impact statements.

Many of them were family members of Jennifer and Dion Longworth, who both died as a result of the blast. Dion Longworth was burned alive inside his home that night and had to be identified by dental records.

Jennifer Longworth’s father Don Buxton said the now two trials and sentencing for Mark Leonard and his brother Bob, along with more trials to follow, make the pain much harder to bear.

“It never gets easy, and I think the longer on we get, the harder it becomes, because the memories are still fresh,” he said.

In court Friday, prosecutors said Bob Leonard should’ve known people could have been killed as a result of the scheme, that he openly denied knowing about Friday to the judge who sent him away for life.

“I was very gratified with the sentence. I think it’s very appropriate, two life without parole sentences plus 70 years means Bob Leonard will never get out of prison,” said Denise Robinson, Marion County Deputy Prosecutor.

Robinson said Gary Thompson and Glenn Hults are still implicated in the plot, with Thompson recently granted a continuance. His trial will start in Marion County in September. Robinson said Hults would be tried after that.

Monserrate Shirley will also have to be formally sentenced. She pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for her testimony.

Leonard’s half-brother and Shirley’s ex-boyfriend Mark Leonard was sentenced to life without parole in August 2015. He’s serving his sentence at the state prison in Michigan City.

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