The Latest: Parents of blast victims relieved by verdicts

AP News
|
Posted: Jul 14, 2015 2:12 PM
The Latest: Parents of blast victims relieved by verdicts

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Here are the latest developments in the trial of a man convicted of planning an Indiana house explosion that killed two people and damaged or destroyed more than 80 homes (all times EDT):

2 p.m.

Parents of the couple killed by the explosion of a neighboring house in their Indianapolis subdivision say they're relieved by guilty verdicts against the man charged with planning the blast.

Jurors on Tuesday convicted 46-year-old Mark Leonard of murder and other charges in the 2012 explosion that killed John "Dion" Longworth and his wife, Jennifer.

John Longworth says the verdict just adds sadness to the deaths of his son and daughter-in-law. Longworth says Leonard has thrown his life away but he won't be able to hurt anyone else outside prison.

Don Buxton says he grieves for his daughter every day and expects to visit the cemetery on Wednesday.

___

1:50 p.m.

Defense attorneys said they have filed motion to have a sentence of life without parole dismissed because they don't believe prosecutors have proven the necessary aggravating factors.

"We don't think there's any legal basis to do the life without parole," defense attorney John Shircliff said. "We believe the judge has to dismiss this no matter what."

Defense attorney Diane Black said they opted to have a judge hear the case on whether Leonard should face life without parole because their case will be based on constitutional arguments.

Shircliff said they plan to appeal the verdict.

"You guys probably saw most of our motions for mistrial. Those will all be part of the appellate record. We do believe there are grounds to appeal the case," he said.

___

1:45 p.m.

A prosecutor says the murder convictions against a man charged with plotting with a deadly Indianapolis house explosion confirms it was a "senseless, criminal act."

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said after the verdicts were announced Tuesday that he expects 46-year-old Mark Leonard will spend rest of his life in prison. A jury convicted Leonard on all charges against him, including murder, arson and insurance fraud.

A judge is to consider Wednesday whether to sentence Leonard to life in prison without parole. Curry says with so many convictions against Leonard, he will essentially be imprisoned rest of his life regardless of the judge's decision on a life sentence.

___

1:20 p.m.

A jury has convicted man of murder, arson and other charges for his role in a house explosion that decimated an Indianapolis subdivision nearly three years ago, killing a couple living in the neighborhood.

The jury found 46-year-old Mark Leonard guilty Tuesday of all counts against him, including murder and felony murder. Prosecutors alleged Leonard was the mastermind behind the explosion, plotting with his then-live-in girlfriend Monserrate Shirley and his half brother Bob Leonard to blow up the home for $300,000 in insurance.

Shirley accepted a plea deal and testified against her former boyfriend. Bob Leonard and two others are awaiting trial.

Defense attorney John Shircliff told jurors during closing statements that Shirley was a "master liar" and wasn't a credible witness.

___

1 p.m.

Jurors have reached a verdict in the trial of a man accused of planning a fatal Indianapolis house explosion.

Court officials say the verdict will be announced Tuesday afternoon at the courthouse in South Bend in the trial of 46-year-old Mark Leonard.

Leonard faces 53 charges, including murder and arson, for the November 2012 blast that killed John "Dion" Longworth and his wife, Jennifer.

Jurors resumed deliberations Tuesday morning after meeting for about 25 minutes Monday following closing arguments.

Prosecutors say Leonard plotted with his former live-in girlfriend, Monserrate Shirley, and his half-brother, Bob Leonard, to blow up the home to collect insurance money.

Defense attorney John Shircliff told jurors that Shirley is a "master liar."

___

10 a.m.

Jurors have resumed deliberations in the trial of a man accused of planning an Indianapolis house explosion that killed two people and damaged or destroyed more than 80 homes.

The jury returned Tuesday morning to the courthouse in South Bend in the trial of 46-year-old Mark Leonard.

Leonard is facing 53 charges, including murder and arson, for the November 2012 blast that killed John "Dion" Longworth and his wife, Jennifer.

Jurors deliberated for about 25 minutes Monday following closing arguments.

Prosecutors say Leonard plotted with his former live-in girlfriend, Monserrate Shirley, and his half-brother, Bob Leonard, to blow up the home to collect insurance money.

Shirley is a key witness for the prosecution. But defense attorney John Shircliff told jurors that she's a "master liar."