INDIANAPOLIS – The woman accused in last November’s south side explosion wants a separate trial and says she was coerced and intimidated into going along with the plot.
The defense team for Moncy Shirley filed a claim in court this week saying their client is a victim of abuse in connection with the Nov. 10, 2012, explosion that blew up her south side home, killing neighbors Dion and Jennifer Longworth. The blast damaged or destroyed dozens of homes in the Richmond Hill neighborhood.
She’s charged in the case alongside Mark Leonard and his brother Bob Leonard; all three are due back in court Wednesday for a motions hearing. Charges against them include murder and insurance fraud. Prosecutors said they plotted to blow up Shirley’s home in a bid to collect insurance money.
In defense documents filed this week, Shirley’s defense team says she was scared of Mark Leonard.
“The evidence will reveal a naïve controlled woman who blindly followed and trusted Mark Leonard and that he was so physically and emotionally abusive that she had zero power over her own fate,” the filing said.
Shirley wants a separate trial and says she doesn’t want her case tainted by allegations that Mark Leonard tried to have a key witness killed by arranging a hit from inside the Marion County Jail. The filing also claims that the deadly Richmond Hill blast wasn’t the first “insurance scam rodeo” perpetrated by the Leonard brothers.
When the trio was indicted last December, the prosecutor claimed Mark and Bob Leonard met with a man at a restaurant and asked him how to blow up a house with natural gas.
A motion filed by the state references surveillance video from a pair of south side restaurants: the Gas Light Inn on South Meridian and Dimitri’s, a now-defunct restaurant across the street from a hotel property where Mark Leonard used to work and where some evidence in the case was discovered.