After four years, the Richmond Hill explosion case is coming to a conclusion. Monserrate Shirley was sentenced Tuesday to 50 years in prison for her role in the Nov. 10, 2012, explosion in the Indianapolis south side neighborhood.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry says he never thought the case would take four years to come to a conclusion, but there were many circumstances..
"Obviously, we knew it would be a protracted process, particiulary once it became apparent that it would be a change of venue in the first case and ultimately two cases. Then being subject to court schedules out of Marion County," Curry says.
Shirley’s then-boyfriend Mark Leonard and his brother Bob Leonard, Jr. were convicted and each sentenced to life without parole for their roles in the crime. Each of those trials lasted approximately six weeks and were heard in other counties, requiring attorneys, investigators and nearly 175 witnesses to travel for the proceedings, where approximately 2,500 pieces of evidence were introduced. A fourth conspirator, Gary Thompson, was sentenced to 20 years. A fifth and final defendant, Glenn Hults, is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 28.
The explosion at Shirley’s house caused a fire at the next door home of Dion and Jennifer Longworth, causing their deaths. Other residents of the neighborhood were injured in the explosion, and numerous nearby homes were also damaged or destroyed. Prosecutors say the incident was the result of a fire intentionally set in order to claim damage for insurance money.