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Richmond Hill: Lawyers make final pitches

Posted at 9:04 PM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 21:04:53-05

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Has the State proved Bob Leonard, Jr.'s, guilt in the deadly Richmond Hill Explosion beyond a reasonable doubt?

Allen County jurors were left with that question to answer Tuesday afternoon following four hours of closing arguments by the prosecution and Leonard's defense.

MORE | Read full closing arguments from both sides

Deputy Prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth told jurors Bob Leonard was tasked by his brother Mark with making sure the house was damaged enough to ensure they could collect on the $300,000 insurance policy.

"They had to make sure the house was seriously damaged, because there was a fire station just a mile away," Hollingsworth said. "To collect that $300,000 insurance payout, the house had to be completely obliterated."

In Leonard's defense, attorney Ted Minch accused the State of only calling three witnesses to testify about what his client actually did: Monserrate Shirley; "convicted murderer" Jeremy Bullock; and jailhouse informant Tristan Wiegman.

Minch suggested Shirley would have said anything to secure her plea deal.

"The deal she received is a great deal by any definition," he said. "Two potential life without parole sentences gone. Dismissed. Four counts of murder. Gone. Dismissed. She pleaded guilty to none of the intentional acts."

BIGGEST MOMENTS FROM THE TRIAL | Jailhouse informants take the stand | Bob Leonard's son testifies against father | Monserrate Shirley says she feared for her life | White van tracked to Bob Leonard | The odd boardings of Snowball the Cat | WATCH: Is this how Richmond Hill blast ignited?

In her rebuttal, Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson said there was too much evidence for there to be any doubt about Leonard's guilt.

"Aristotle said the sum of coincidence equals certainty," Robinson said. "The sum of coincidence in this case is overwhelming. If you find that Bob Leonard did anything in this case – took any affirmative action – it's as if he did everything himself. That's the law."

Jurors were given the case to deliberate just before 4 p.m., but were sent to a hotel for the evening an hour later. They were instructed to report back to the courthouse at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to continue deliberations.


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.

FOLLOW | Rafael Sanchez on Twitter | Jordan Fischer on Twitter

RELATED LINKS | Richmond Hill Special Section |  Mark Ray Leonard convicted on all counts

PREVIOUS | Timeline of events | Gallery: The Richmond Hill Explosion | Where were you at 11:11 PM?

INTERACTIVE MAP | Residents relive Richmond Hill explosion


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