Testimony from trial of Richmond Hill Explosion suspect Bob Leonard, Day 5
9:00 a.m. – Court called into session.
9:05 a.m. – Chad Jackson, 8331 Fieldfare Way, called as witness by the prosecution.
Jackson: "There was a big shake and then a piece of our headboard came down on top of me. We thought initially it was a bomb blast or some type of airplane crash."
Jackson describes coming upon Glen Olvey: "He was covered in drywall. He was in a state of shock. His wife was being treated, and at that point they had not yet found his daughter."
9:25 a.m. – Jackson says he and his wife called Monserrate Shirley a few days after the explosion.
Jackson: "I had suspected, or we had suspected, that it was not an accident. We really wanted to ask her for information about what really happened."
Jackson: "I thought she would be more willing to disclose information if she wasn't around Mark."
9:28 a.m. – Defense attorney Ted Minch begins cross-examination.
Minch: "When you first met Mark Leonard, you observed that he was on home detention?"
9:32 p.m. – Minch: "You said in your deposition that your first thought after the explosion was that somebody wanted to do him in."
Jackson: "I thought, based on the people I saw coming around, it wouldn't surprise me if somebody wanted to burn their house down."
9:34 a.m. – Minch: "So you had occasion to have that conversation with Monserrate Shirley. And you described her during that conversation as evasive?"
9:36 a.m. – Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson redirects.
Robinson: "Your thought that somebody else did this, based on Mark Leonard's lifestyle, that eventually changed?"
9:38 a.m. – Jackson dismissed.
9:39 a.m. – Patrick Crosley, 8337 Fieldfare Way, called as witness by the prosecution.
Crosley: "I knew Moncie and her husband John pretty well. Her daughter knew my daughters. We went to their daughter's 1st Communion dinner at their house."
Crosley says John Shirley kept an "incredibly nice" yard. "In fact, he wouldn't tell us how he did it."
9:43 a.m. – Crosley on when Mark Leonard moved in: "The yard wasn't as nice. It was louder at night. A lot of people hanging out. It was just a different atmosphere. Seemed like a different place."
9:47 a.m. – Crosley says none of his family was home at the time of the explosion: "We got out of our car to a great fire and conflagration and silliness and surrealism."
9:53 a.m. – Crosley says he saw Monserrate Shirley and Mark Leonard at a meeting a few days after the explosion.
Crosley: "It was interesting. [Mark] seemed … nonchalant. He didn't seem upset. He didn't seem anything."
9:54 a.m. – Crosley dismissed.
9:55 a.m. – Glenn Olvey, 8343 Fieldfare Way, called as a witness by the prosecution.
Olvey says he lived with his wife Gloria and two daughters, Catherine and Amojean, at the time of the explosion. He says they knew their neighbor, Monserrate Shirley, but their socializing was mostly confined to running into each other out in the yard.
Olvey says when Mark Leonard moved in, they noticed a change:
"The yard wasn't as well-kept. Different vehicles coming in and out. Didn't see Monserrate's daughter out in the yard as much."
10:00 a.m. – Olvey says he was about to go to sleep when the explosion happened: "I had planned to go ahead and go to bed right after I saw some of the news. Checked the weather. I had plans to play golf the next day."
Olvey: "The news had just come on. The next thing I knew, I was flying through the air. It felt like somebody turned on a giant fan with a heat source attached to it. Then total darkness. I remember my youngest daughter screaming. I remember my wife asking me what happened. After that, nothing until we were outside."
10:04 a.m. – Olvey: "It seemed like a lifetime we were outside and had no idea where Amojean was." A neighbor eventually walked up and said they had her safe.
10:06 a.m. – Olvey says he received severe road rash from where the drywall of the ceiling had fallen and slid across his back.
10:09 a.m. – Defense attorney Ted Minch begins cross-examination.
Minch: "You testified during your deposition that you thought you'd seen Bob Leonard at Monserrate Shirley's house. You testified that you thought it was within the first couple weeks of Mark Leonard moving in, and then you hadn't seen him in the months prior to the explosion."
Minch: "On Nov. 10, 2012, when you were outside, you smelled something. Is that correct?"
Olvey: "Yes. I thought it was propane."
Olvey says he couldn't pinpoint the origin of the smell. He didn't smell it again when he returned from a trip to the gas station.
Minch: "Did your wife call your attention to the gas meter at the Shirley residence?"
10:16 a.m. – Minch: "On either the 9th or the 10th, you don't recall seeing the white van do you? Or anyone coming and going?"
10:18 a.m. – Olvey dismissed.
10:19 a.m. – Gloria Olvey called as a witness by the prosecution.
Olvey: "All of a sudden, everything just went dark. I was knocked sideways in the chair I was in. A warm rush of air came across me. I sat up and the whole corner of the house came down on me."
Olvey says her oldest daughter, Amojean, was fortunately downstairs at the time: "If she would have been upstairs, she probably would have been killed."
10:22 a.m. – Olvey: "I asked [my youngest daughter] Catherine if she had her phone. She said yes, so I told her to call 911."
Olvey says her neighbor had to use a 2x4 to pry her out from under the ceiling.
Olvey: "I had several cuts to my face. I had several puncture wounds from nails all over my body. I had a pretty significant gash on my calf. It took 33 stitches to close it."
10:25 a.m. – Olvey says she knew "Moncie" and her daughter, Brook.
Olvey: "[Monserrate] became kind of antisocial" about a year prior to the explosion. "If you got a wave when she was driving by, that became unusual."
10:28 a.m. – Olvey says she heard a mechanical hissing sound coming from the Shirley house on the Friday before the explosion.
Olvey: "It was right by the meter. I went over. There was no vapor, no smell, no dripping. I couldn't tell where it was coming from."
10:31 a.m. – Defense attorney Ted Minch begins cross-examination.
Minch: "You said you saw Mark Leonard on almost a daily basis, but you never interacted with him."
Olvey says she saw people moving boxes and items in and out of the van and into the garage frequently.
10:33 a.m. – Minch: "Did you see that white van outside of the house on Nov. 9?"
Olvey: "I can't say that I did."
Olvey says a Realtor's lockbox was hanging on Shirley's gas meter.
10:40 a.m. – Olvey dismissed.
10:41 a.m. – Katherine Olvey called as a witness by the prosecution.
Olvey: "I was about to go upstairs and change into my pajamas, and then it was just dark. I could feel that I was bleeding from my head."
Olvey says neighbors had to help pull her out of the collapsing house.
Olvey: "We kicked down the gate so I could get out. I walked down the street and found a firefighter. I turned around and there were houses on fire. Houses missing."
10:44 a.m. – Olvey says she had to get stitches in her face and head and legs.
10:45 a.m. – Olvey dismissed.
10:50 a.m. – Court recesses for break.
11:30 a.m. – Prosecution enters audio recording of security company call to Dion Longworth after explosion.
Longworth: "I think my house blew up!"
Longworth: "I'm stuck in the basement. I can see outside, but I can't get outside."
Longworth: "I need help. Send help."
12:00 p.m. – Court recesses for lunch.
1:05 p.m. – Court resumes session.
1:07 p.m. – John Longworth, Dion's father, called as witness.
Longworth: "I'd gone to bed early that evening with a cold. My grandson called sometime after 11 p.m. asking if I'd felt an earthquake. I said no. I tried to go back to sleep. A short time later he called back and said there'd been reports of an explosion on Fieldfare Way."
Longworth says he quickly dressed and drove toward Richmond Hill.
Longworth: "I was able to get within about a quarter mile of the entrance."
He says he was eventually redirected to Mary Bryan Elementary.
Longworth: "I go in and they had maybe 200-300 people in there. I asked police what was going on. They had a list of people, but Dion and Jennifer weren't on it. A chaplain told me they may have been taken to a hospital. They gave me a list of four possible hospitals. I called my wife and asked her to call two, while I drove to the other two."
Longworth: "We eventually went back to the school. That's when a chaplain told me that 8355 was ground zero."
Longworth: "They told me they would be getting a coroner … that once they got the fire under control, they would be searching for bodies. That's when I called Jennifer's parents and Dion's mother and told them they probably needed to head to the school."
Longworth: "I kept thinking maybe they would show up. That they'd show up somehow."
Longworth says he and others searched for Dion and Jennifer's dog Pepper, but never found it.
Longworth says the last time he saw Dion and Jennifer alive was 9-10 days before the explosion, when they had lunch.
1:13 p.m. – Longworth dismissed.
1:14 p.m. – Nancy Buxton, Jennifer's mother, called as a witness.
Buxton is extremely soft-spoken. She says Dion and Jennifer had been married since 2011.
Buxton says she and her husband were watching the Notre Dame game with her elderly mother, and they had it turned up very loud because she is hard of hearing.
Buxton: "John Longworth called and said something had happened in the subdivision. I turned on the TV and it was on every channel. The explosion."
Buxton: "I wanted to go to the neighborhood, but John said not to yet. That it was chaos."
Buxton: "We went to the gym and we sat down, and we pretty much waited all night to hear the news."
1:26 p.m. – Buxton dismissed.
1:29 p.m. – Dr. Jay Carter, forensic pathologist, called as witness.
Carter explains her qualifications and gives a brief description of forensic pathology. Says she has performed 10,000+ autopsies.
Carter says Dion Longworth was positively ID'd by dental records.
Carter, on Dion Longworth's autopsy: "The primary observation was there was extensive damage from fire. Over 90% of the body was charred and therefore not identifiable by normal means."
Carter says Dion inhaled a large amount of soot and carbon monoxide.
Carter: "He would have to be alive, initially, to inhale the soot and have carbon monoxide in the blood."
Carter says she ruled Dion Longworth's cause of death as inhalation of soot and hot gases, with charring to 90% of body. Manner of death ruled as homicide.
1:42 p.m. – Prosecutors move to autopsy of Jennifer Longworth.
Carter: "This body also had a large amount of thermal injury with charring – about 80% in this case. There was no soot beyond the tongue. The tongue was sticking out and burned, but there was no soot in the respiratory tract."
1:45 p.m. – Carter dismissed.
1:47 p.m. – IFD Lt. Mario Garza called as a witness.
Garza explains his credentials, training as a fire investigator, etc. Says he was assigned to be the lead fire investigator in the Richmond Hill Explosion.
Garza begins describing basics of fire investigation, the scientific method and generally how this investigation was conducted.
2:16 p.m. – Denise Robinson: "How were you looking at that entire neighborhood in light of what you had to do?"
Garza: "You don't look at it as a whole. You take it in pieces. Even though this may have been bigger than most of the scenes I've worked, you still have to do the same things. The steps are the same."
2:21 p.m. – Robinson: "Was every bit of lumber looked at for evidentiary value?"
Garza: "Yes. We looked at everything."
2:45 p.m. – Garza dismissed for day. Court adjourns for the day.