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Mark Ray Leonard back in court for allegedly trying to hire hitman to kill Richmond Hill witness

Posted at 4:22 PM, Jan 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-27 23:23:35-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- Convicted Richmond Hill Explosion mastermind Mark Ray Leonard will be back in a Marion County courtroom Monday – this time accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill a witness in the case.

Leonard was arrested in December 2012, along with his brother, Bob Leonard Jr., and then-girlfriend Monserrate Shirley, in connection to the explosion on the south side of Indianapolis that killed Dion and Jennifer Longworth and damaged or destroyed nearly 100 homes.

SPECIAL SECTION | Richmond Hill Explosion & Trials

Prosecutors say while Leonard sat in the Marion County Jail, he attempted to hire a hitman to kill a man named Mark Duckworth, who he intended to try to frame for the explosion.

Up until that point, Leonard and Duckworth had been friends for 20 years. Duckworth told a South Bend jury at Leonard's murder trial that he spoke with his old friend just days before the explosion. In that phone call, he said, Leonard told him he was looking online for a Ferrari.

"I said, 'How come?'" Duckworth said. "How can he afford a Ferrari? He said the tsunami winds blew out the fireplace and the house blew up, and they were getting $300,000."

A few days later, Duckworth saw the reports of the explosion and texted Leonard that he'd "made the news." Leonard never responded.

READ MORE | Mark Leonard's friend says he 'knew too much' | Affidavit: Mark Leonard tried to hire hitman to kill witness

A few weeks later, Leonard was in jail when he allegedly asked another inmate – acting as a confidential informant – about how to contact a hitman.

Instead of a gun-for-hire, Leonard eventually spoke on the phone with undercover ATF Agent Jeremy Godsave under the fictitious name "Jay."

In a recording played at his murder trial, Leonard can be heard giving "Jay" directions to Duckworth's house. He also asked "Jay" to make Duckworth call 911 and say three specific sentences before he killed him.

The primary thing he wanted authorities to hear the victim say: "I did not mean to frame Mark and Moncie for their own house in Richmond Hill."


According to prosecutors, Leonard apparently believed a gunpoint confession from Duckworth would get him out of jail.

Jurors eventually convicted Leonard on all counts for his role in the explosion. He was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences without parole. The Indiana Supreme Court is currently evaluating his appeal.

Leonard was set to begin trial for his alleged attempt to hire a hitman on Monday at 9 a.m. in Marion County Superior Court.