FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Two jailhouse informants testified Tuesday about comments Richmond Hill Explosion suspect Bob Leonard, Jr., allegedly made while at the Marion and Allen County jails.
Jeremy Bullock told jurors he's currently serving an 8-year sentence for burglary and attempted carjacking. He said while he and Leonard were both in the Marion County Jail they struck up a friendship. During that time, he said, Leonard allegedly told him about how the explosion took place, including details about the microwave prosecutors say the conspirators used to start the fire.
"We had a couple conversations about the microwave," Bullock said. "He said when he was a kid he put a bowl with a metal lid on it in the microwave and it sparked real bad. He said he looked for that same kind of bowl in the failed attempt in the week before."
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Leonard also allegedly told him he wasn't trying to start a "small fire" – like his brother's attorneys claimed.
"I remember he said there was a fire station less than a mile away," Bullock said. "He said he had to make sure the house was totally consumed so they couldn't tell what was inside so they could collect the insurance money."
Leonard also apparently offered an explanation for the white van seen at Monserrate Shirley's home on the day of the explosion.
"He said, 'You wouldn't catch me over there that day. The house was full of gas,'" Bullock said. "He implied that he sent someone over there on a dummy mission. You know, to be a patsy."
Prosecutors also called 20-year-old Tristan Wiegman, who came forward in late January after the trial had already started with a statement he says he overheard Leonard say while they were both at the Allen County Jail.
Wiegman was arrested last year on charges of child molestation. His case remains pending.
According to his testimony, Wiegman overheard Bob Leonard talking to himself when he thought everyone else was asleep, saying, "Nobody was supposed to get hurt. It was supposed to be easy. Now I'm here. Now I'm in jail."
Leonard's defense attorneys questioned both informants harshly, suggesting they were only coming forward with information for a chance at getting out of jail earlier.
"This isn't the first time you've gotten up in front of a jury and testifies in a criminal matter, is it," attorney Ted Minch asked Bullock, saying he'd also offered information in previous cases.
Bullock said that was true. To a similar question, Wiegman said he was "just trying to do the right thing."