3 convicted in Indianapolis arson-for-insurance explosion that killed 2
03/11/2016 5:27 pm PST
A massive explosion completely levels an entire suburban Indianapolis neighborhood, killing two people and causing millions of dollars in damage.
Hell erupts in an upscale neighborhood in Indiana: A massive explosion rocks Richmond Hill on November 10, 2012.
Rubble rains down as fire swallows an entire block of homes. As the sun rises and smoke clears, 33 homes are destroyed and two people are dead.
Dion and Jennifer Longworth, married for 11 years, were trapped in their house. Investigators swarm the scene and pinpoint the source of the explosion -- the home of Monserrate Shirley.
Shirley claims the fire was caused by a natural gas leak. But investigators say this was no accident. All signs point to arson.
Shirley tells affiliate WXIN she had nothing to do with the catastrophe that killed two of her neighbors.
But cops claim Shirley, a Puerto Rican-born ICU nurse, knew everything. And they say she didn't act alone. They claim her boyfriend Mark Leonard and his brother Bob were also involved in a sinister plot to blow up the house in an alleged scheme to collect $300,000 in insurance money.
Cops claim Shirley was fully prepared for this unnatural disaster: Boarding her cat, taking her 12-year-old daughter to a safe place and removing a Picasso painting, all on the night before the explosion.
Investigators say that in a photo of the scene, the burn patterns on the floor found in both the kitchen and the living room prove somebody deliberately spilled gasoline and set it on fire. Investigators say they used the timer on the microwave to trigger the explosion.
Shirley eventually confesses and cuts a plea deal, agreeing to testify against her boyfriend and his brother. That leads to the arrest of two other suspects, Gary Thompson and Glen Hultz, friends who Shirley says wanted in for a cut of the insurance money.
It took a jury just four hours to convict Shirley's boyfriend Mark Leonard. He was found guilty of 53 felony counts, including two counts of murder.
He's now serving two consecutive life sentences, plus 75 years. His brother Bob was convicted on 51 felony counts and faces life without parole. Gary Thompson and Glen Hultz have yet to stand trial. Monserrate Shirley is still awaiting her sentence.