FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- "I think she lied to us from the very beginning." That was one of the first things jurors at the trial of Richmond Hill Explosion suspect Mark Ray Leonard heard about Monserrate Shirley.
It's something they won't hear at all in his brother's trial.
Doug Aldridge lived on Towhees Drive on the night of the 2012 Richmond Hill Explosion. He was a member of the neighborhood association, and so was familiar with the people who lived around him – including Monserrate Shirley. He and his wife were also the first people who saw Monserrate Shirley at the evacuation point at Mary Bryan Elementary following the blast.
In June, defense attorney David Shircliff asked Aldridge about his interaction with Shirley that night. A transcript of Aldridge's testimony in response to Shircliff's questions follows:
3:21 p.m. – Shircliff: "I have a couple of questions to ask you about your neighbor Moncie."
3:21 p.m. – Aldridge: "I knew Moncie. I didn't know her socially, but I knew her from the neighborhood. I knew she had her house for sale."
3:22 p.m. – Aldridge said he and his wife were the first people Monserrate Shirley saw when they came to Mary Bryan Elementary.
3:22 p.m. – Aldridge: "The first thing [Shirley] asked was: What happened? And my wife told her their house had blown up."
3:24 p.m. – Shircliff asks Aldridge where he was when he heard Monserrate Shirley had taken a plea, and whether he is "OK with that." Prosecutor Denise Robinson objects. Both sides approach the bench.
3:25 p.m. – Shircliff returns to podium, but does not repeat questions. Asks another: "Do you know where Moncie lived after the incident occurred?" Aldridge says no. "Did you have any contact with her after the explosion?" Aldridge: No.
3:28 p.m. – Prosecution steps up for redirect. Ask Aldridge whether anyone was with Monserrate Shirley when he saw her at Mary Bryan Elementary. Aldridge says yes, and identifies that man as Mark Ray Leonard.
3:28 p.m. – Aldridge dismissed as a witness.
After a break, Aldridge was recalled to the witness stand to answer more questions from the defense.
4:08 p.m. – Court resumes. Doug Aldridge called back to witness stand for more questions from defense.
4:09 p.m. – Defense attorney David Shircliff asks Aldridge about how Monserrate Shirley seemed the night of the explosion.
4:10 p.m. – Aldridge: "When I first saw her after the night of the explosion, you know, it was her home. She was visibly distraught."
4:10 p.m. – Shircliff asks about Aldridge's reaction to seeing Monserrate Shirley on TV when she was indicted.
4:10 p.m. – Aldridge: "The night of the indictment, there were a lot of emotions there. I could understand that. I didn't think anything of her less because nothing had been released about the case against her yet."
4:11 p.m. – Shircliff asks what Aldridge thinks of Monserrate Shirley now.
4:11 p.m. – Aldridge: "I think she lied to us from the very beginning."
4:11 p.m. – Shircliff: "So, betrayal?" Aldridge: "Yes."
4:11 p.m. – Aldridge is dismissed as a witness.
On Tuesday, a similar line of questioning by Mark Inman, one of the attorneys representing Bob Leonard – Mark Leonard's half-brother – was shut down when Judge Frances Gull upheld an objection by the prosecution on the grounds that it was hearsay. Their interaction follows:
10:49 a.m. – Defense attorney Mark Inman begins cross-examination:
10:49 a.m. – Inman: "You knew a lot of your neighbors. You were a part of the neighborhood association. You witnessed a sort of outpouring of generosity."
10:50 a.m. – Aldridge: "Somehow the word just got out. People just started showing up with food and water. They said, 'We heard and just had to help.'"
10:50 a.m. – Inman: "At some point one of your neighbors, Monserrate Shirley, showed up at the school. What did she say to you?"
10:51 a.m. – Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson: "Objection. Hearsay."
10:51 a.m. – Inman: "She's going to testify…"
10:52 a.m. – Judge Frances Gull sustains objection.
10:53 a.m. – Aldridge dismissed as a witness.
Despite the setback for the defense, jurors will eventually have a chance to hear about Monserrate Shirley on the night of the explosion firsthand when she testifies later in the trial.
To see a full transcript of testimony from Day 3, click here.
Call 6 Investigator Rafael Sanchez and Senior Digital Correspondent Jordan Fischer will be in Fort Wayne covering the trial every day. Download the RTV6 app to get the latest live blog posts as the proceedings unfold.