The Latest: Defense attorney says little following verdict

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Posted: Feb 24, 2016 5:13 PM
The Latest: Defense attorney says little following verdict

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — The latest on the conviction of an Indianapolis man on numerous charges, including murder and insurance fraud, for a 2012 house explosion that killed two neighbors (all times local):

5:10 p.m.

The defense attorney for an Indianapolis man convicted of murder in connection with a 2012 house explosion had little to say after his client was found guilty on all 51 counts he faced.

Attorney Ted Minch said only that the "jury's verdict is what it is," as he left the Allen County Courthouse in Fort Wayne on Wednesday.

Jurors convicted his client, 57-year-old Bob Leonard, in connection to the blast that killed a married couple and devastated a neighborhood on the south side of Indianapolis.

Leonard is scheduled for sentencing on March 18. He faces the possibility of a life sentence without parole.

Prosecutors said surveillance video, witness testimony and DNA evidence showed that Leonard, his half brother and others were involved in the plot to blow up the house for $300,000 in insurance money.

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3:30 p.m.

A judge has found that an Indianapolis man convicted of murder, arson and insurance fraud for his role in a 2012 house explosion that killed two neighbors and devastated a neighborhood will face the possibility of a life sentence without parole.

Allen Superior Judge Frances Gull held a hearing Wednesday shortly after a jury found 57-year-old Bob Leonard guilty of all 51 counts he was facing, and ruled all the aggravating factors were present for a sentence of life without parole.

She set a sentencing date of March 18.

Prosecutors said surveillance video, witness testimony and DNA evidence proved he was involved in the plot with his half brother and others to blow up the house for $300,000 in insurance.

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2:10 p.m.

The father of a man killed in a 2012 house explosion in Indianapolis says he's pleased that jurors handed down a murder conviction in the case.

Bob Leonard was convicted Wednesday on murder, arson and 49 other charges. Prosecutors say he, his half brother and three other people plotted to use natural gas and a microwave to blow up the home to collect $300,000 in insurance money.

John Longworth's son, John "Dion" Longworth, and his daughter-in-law, Jennifer Longworth, were killed in the blast. They lived next door.

Longworth says it's sad that "someone would throw away life for a little bit of money." He says he's happy to know someone as evil as Leonard won't be able to hurt anyone else.

Longworth compared hearing the verdict to the relief he felt when learning he had a high number in the draft during the Vietnam War. He says he's learned to live with the loss, and that it's now easier to remember his son and daughter-in-law, and smile.

Longworth says the verdict "helps with putting the nightmare behind us." But he says he's looking forward to the final trial of the other two men charged.

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1:25 p.m.

An Indianapolis man has been convicted of murder, arson and insurance fraud for his role in a 2012 house explosion that killed a couple and devastated a subdivision.

Jurors convicted 57-year-old Bob Leonard on Wednesday on all of the more than 50 counts he was facing. The jury began deliberating Tuesday.

The decision comes seven months after Leonard's half brother, Mark Leonard, was convicted of being the mastermind behind the Nov. 10, 2012, explosion that damaged or destroyed more than 80 homes in the Indianapolis neighborhood. He was sentenced in August to two life sentences and 75 years in prison.

Prosecutors say they plotted to blow up the home for $300,000 in insurance money. Prosecutors say testimony, surveillance video and DNA evidence proved Bob Leonard was involved.

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1:10 p.m.

Court officials say jurors have reached a verdict in the case of an Indianapolis man charged with murder, arson and insurance fraud in a 2012 house explosion that killed two neighbors and damaged or destroyed more than 80 homes.

Allen Superior Court Executive John McGauley released a statement saying the verdict would be announced Wednesday afternoon in the case of 57-year-old Bob Leonard. Jurors began deliberating Tuesday afternoon.

Prosecutors said surveillance video, witness testimony and DNA evidence show that Leonard was involved in the plot with his half brother and others to use natural gas and a microwave to blow up the house for $300,000 in insurance. Defense attorneys say prosecutors failed to prove Leonard was involved.

Leonard's half brother, Mark Leonard, was convicted of being the mastermind behind the Nov. 10, 2012, explosion. He was sentenced in August to two life sentences and 75 years in prison.

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8:30 a.m.

A jury has resumed deliberating whether a man is guilty of helping plot a 2012 house explosion in Indianapolis that killed a couple and damaged or destroyed more than 80 homes.

The jury in Fort Wayne was behind closed doors Wednesday morning after deliberating for about an hour Tuesday following closing arguments on the murder, arson and insurance fraud against 57-year-old Bob Leonard.

Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth told jurors the explosion was no accident, while defense attorney Ted Minch argued prosecutors failed to prove Leonard was involved despite testimony from 150 witnesses.

Minch tried to discredit the testimony of Monserrate Shirley, the girlfriend of Leonard's half brother and owner of the house that exploded. Minch says Shirley had the motivation to commit the crime because of financial problems.