IBJNews

Richmond Hill suspect charged with plotting to kill witness

Associated Press
March 28, 2013
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A man already charged in a deadly house explosion in Indianapolis tried to arrange for a key witness to be killed, despite signs in the jail warning inmates that their phone calls were recorded, prosecutors said Thursday.

Mark Leonard also wrote and signed a contract to hire a hit man and confirmed in a phone call with an undercover federal agent posing as a hit man that he wanted the witness dead, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said at a news conference in downtown Indianapolis.

Leonard, his girlfriend, Monserrate Shirley, and his brother Bob Leonard already face life in prison without parole if convicted of felony charges including murder and arson in the Nov. 10 blast. Teacher Jennifer Longworth and her husband, John, were killed in the explosion that also left 33 homes in the Richmond Hill subdivision so damaged that they had to be demolished.

Curry said Leonard has now also been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

Leonard asked a fellow inmate at Marion County Jail if he could put him in touch with a hit man to kill the witness who he said was "blabbing," according to the affidavit. The inmate, who Leonard believed belonged to a motorcycle gang, indicated he could help, and they drew up a contract agreeing that Leonard would pay a $15,000 kill fee on his release. Leonard even drew a map indicating the location of the witness' home, the affidavit says.

Leonard also offered a $5,000 bonus on two conditions: that the hit man would first persuade the witness to call 911 and recant his statement to investigators, and that the death would look like a suicide.

The affidavit does not describe how or when federal authorities became involved, and Curry declined to provide details, but soon after Leonard's conversation with the inmate he found himself on the phone with a man he believed to be a hit man. Instead, it was a federal agent.

The agent asked Leonard if he was certain he wanted to go through with the killing and Leonard said he was, according to the affidavit. When the agent asked Leonard if he wanted the witness to suffer, Leonard told him no, because "that takes too much time," the affidavit says.

The witness told investigators that Leonard had told him about the explosion a week before it occurred and that Leonard was already shopping for the Ferrari that he intended to buy with the insurance money, according to a probable cause affidavit related to the original charges.

Investigators believe Leonard and the others orchestrated the fatal explosion by removing a gas fireplace valve and gas line regulator so that the house filled up with natural gas, then set a microwave to start on a timer, sparking the blast.

Curry said in February he would seek life without parole for Shirley and the Leonards because a jury was unlikely to choose the death penalty.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.

ADVERTISEMENT