Indiana Supreme Court rejects Mark Leonard's appeal in Richmond Hill Explosion case

Posted at 4:27 PM, May 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-02 18:12:49-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Supreme Court has upheld the conviction and life without parole sentences given to Richmond Hill Explosion mastermind Mark Ray Leonard.

Leonard had appealed his sentences – two consecutive life without parole sentences, plus 75 years – on the grounds that prosecutors presented insufficient evidence and that the court should not have allowed them to enter a recorded statement he made while incarcerated in the Marion County Jail.

In the recording – made of phone calls between Leonard and an undercover ATF agent posing as a hitman for hire – Leonard tried to have a witness killed and gave explicit instructions as to how he wanted it done.

MORE | Recording captures Mark Leonard calmly explain instructions to 'hitman'

Leonard was eventually separately convicted and sentenced to an additional 50 years in prison in that case.

On Tuesday, the Indiana Supreme Court denied Leonard's appeal, ruling against him on all counts.

SPECIAL SECTION | The Richmond Hill Explosion Trials

Leonard would now have to appeal his case to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals if he chose to continue fighting his convictions.

Leonard is one of five people serving prison sentences for their roles in the deadly 2012 Richmond Hill Explosion. His brother, Bob Leonard Jr., is also serving two consecutive life sentences without parole.

Leonard's former girlfriend, Monserrate Shirley, was sentenced to 50 years in prison in December as part of a plea deal in exchange for her testimony in the case.

Two other defendants, Glenn Hults and Gary Thompson, were sentenced to three years and 20 years in prison, respectively.

MORE | Read Monserrate Shirley's full sentencing statement | Psychologist says Monserrate Shirley was abused as a child, has 'dependent personality disorder' |Monserrate Shirley 'deserves to die behind bars,' neighbors tell judge Monserrate Shirley a 'smart, but lazy' nurse, former coworker testifies | John Longworth: 'She traded our children's lives for her own'