INDIANAPOLIS -- Before Judge Sheila Carlisle handed down her sentence, Monserrate Shirley spoke for several minutes about her role in the Richmond Hill Explosion and the remorse she feels.
The following is an abridged version of that statement (all quotations from Monserrate Shirley):
"First, I want everyone to know how deeply I am sorry about this horrific tragedy."
Shirley said she can't imagine what it was like for her neighbors to have to evacuate their homes in fear for their lives.
"This is something that will be in my heart forever. I am sorry for causing so much pain. I never thought in my mind it would be like that. I am so sorry for keeping silent after this tragedy. I was scared for my life and for my daughter.
On the night of Nov. 10, 2012, two innocent people's lives were taken. Two innocent, beautiful people. This is something that will be with me for the rest of my life. I do not have the words to express how sorry I am."
Shirley then spoke directly to the Longworth and Buxton families, saying she was sorry she caused the death of their children.
"We should go first before our children. It is a pain I wish I could take from your heart."
"My friends, my neighbors who trusted me in my community … I let everyone down. Every day I ask myself why I didn't stop this. Why didn't I reach out? But I was scared."
Shirley again addresses the Longworth and Buxton families, saying that she "has been honored" to read a book compiled after the explosion about Dion and Jennifer Longworth's lives.
"I haven't been in my daughter's life for four years, but it's nothing compared to losing a child."
She then repeated a sentiment she expressed multiple times: wishing she could undo the explosion.
"I wish I could take all of this back. You don't know how much pain I live with every day of my life."
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