INDIANAPOLIS -- In the four years since the Richmond Hill Explosion, the woman at the center of it all, Monserrate Shirley, has been visible only in glimpses. On Monday, a former neighbor and coworker offered another one into her work as a registered nurse.
"Moncie was what I would call a smart nurse, but a lazy one," said Alaina Lennon, who lived in the Richmond Hill neighborhood and also worked with Shirley at Community Hospital South.
Shirley's time as a nurse was an arguing point for both sides during her testimony at the trials of former boyfriend Mark Ray Leonard and his brother, Bob Leonard Jr. Attorneys have alternately argued that her profession shows she is a compassionate person at heart – and that the high-stakes nature of the job showed she was capable of standing up for herself and making difficult decisions under pressure. Shirley's nursing license was ultimately suspended by the Indiana State Board of Nursing in January 2013, just two months after the explosion.
Lennon's statement Monday at Shirley's sentencing hearing offered a different view of Monserrate Shirley the nurse.
"Most of the time when I followed Moncie I had to make sure everything was taken care of for our patients," Lennon said. "She was more interested in socializing and flirting with physicians."
SPECIAL SECTION | Richmond Hill Explosion
Evidence about an alleged affair Shirley had with a doctor while still married to her former husband was kept out of a previous trial when the judge ruled it irrelevant.
Lennon also expressed a sentiment echoed by nearly all of the Richmond Hill residents who spoke Monday: that Monserrate Shirley likely never would have come forward had she not been caught.
"I have no doubt in my mind that the only reason she agreed to this plea deal is that she got caught," Lennon said. "If she hadn't gotten caught, if she had gotten away with it, she never would have come forward."
And, also like her neighbors, Lennon called for Judge Sheila Carlisle to give Shirley the maximum sentence of 50 years.
"Moncie deserves the full, maximum sentence you can provide," Lennon said. "She deserves to die an old lady behind bars."
Shirley's defense team will have Tuesday to present evidence and arguments in her favor before Judge Carlisle makes her sentencing decision.