Neighbors react to ruling allowing Richmond Hill suspects to be tried separately

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Folks trying to rebuild their lives nearly a year after the deadly Richmond Hill explosion are reacting to news that the suspects will be tried individually. The judge in the case ruled that Moncy Shirley and Mark Leonard will each have separate trials. That also means Mark’s brother Bob, will be tried separately.

Richmond Hill resident Liz Kelley was at work when she learned the latest development.

“I was kind of shocked. I knew that the judge was going to rule on that eventually, so, I didn’t really know what to expect, but it really was kind of a blow,” said Kelley.

The Kelley’s are in their new house, trying to make it feel like home. It isn’t easy, though, because having three separate trials might mean a delay in justice.

“I’m listed on the probable cause affidavit, I could be deposed for the trials. That means I could be deposed for three trials now, and this could drag out – who knows how long,” said Kelley.

A home filled with natural gas fumes, a camping sized propane tank inside a running microwave as the timed detonator are what investigators think sparked the Nov. 10, 2012, blast. It killed two neighbors, and leveled a neighborhood. Allegedly it was Mark Leonard’s insurance scheme to collect $300,000. Moncy Shirley argued she was stuck in an abusive and manipulative relationship with Mark Leonard, and knew nothing about that and shouldn’t be tried with him.

“Clearly, we were looking at a lengthy trial to begin with, so we actually don’t look forward to the possibility of doing it three times, but if that’s what we have to do, we’ll do it,” said Terry Curry, Marion County Prosecutor.

There continue to be signs of revival in the Richmond Hill subdivision. Nick Hlavaty’s home is rebuilt. He’s glad that part is over with and will be even more glad when all three are tried.

“They’ll get what’s coming to them, at least we hope so, and we just have to relax and trust in the prosecutor and her office,” said Hlavaty.

Trial dates could be set for the middle of next year. The next time all three will be in court will be Dec. 4.

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