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Richmond Hill: Family, friends point to Leonards

Posted at 4:09 PM, Feb 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-12 19:32:41-05

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- After three weeks laying the groundwork, Marion County prosecutors finally began tying Bob Leonard, Jr., to the deadly Richmond Hill Explosion.

DAY 11

While jurors weren't initially told the significance of two sets of golf clubs carted into the courtroom, they did hear firsthand who they belonged to: Monserrate Shirley's ex-husband John.

John Shirley told jurors he left the clubs at the house at 8349 Fieldfare Way after his divorce. He said that's the last place he saw them – and that he assumed they were destroyed in the blast.

Shirley also provided testimony on one of the trial's more unusual subjects – Snowball the Cat.

Snowball was boarded for three consecutive weekends in November 2012, including the weekend of the successful attempt to blow up Monserrate Shirley's home. John Shirley said he and his wife had never boarded the cat while they were married.

MORE FROM DAY 11 | Full testimony | Richmond Hill: The odd boardings of Snowball the Cat

DAY 12

The first witness to actually identify Bob Leonard, Jr., in court testified Wednesday on the twelfth day of the trial.

That witness was Ken Bailey, a special investigator for State Farm Insurance.

Bailey said he tracked reports of a white van seen in the Richmond Hill neighborhood to Bob Leonard's doorstep. He said Leonard told him he had the van on the weekend of the blast, but then became defensive.

"We had that conversation," Bailey said. "Immediately after, he asked me, 'What did Mark tell you?' I told him I had more questions, and he told me he wanted to speak to an attorney.'"

After jurors were dismissed for the day, Judge Frances Gull approved testimony from a new witness: Tristan Wiegman, an accused child molester who came forward saying he'd overheard Leonard talking about the case at the Allen County Jail.

MORE FROM DAY 12 | Full testimony | Jailhouse informant accused of child molesting, blackmail, to testify | Richmond Hill: White van tracked to Bob Leonard's door

DAY 13

Thursday was dominated entirely by one witness: Monserrate Shirley.

Shirley said she begged Mark Leonard not to go through with his plan to burn down her house. She also said she didn't tell the truth after the explosion because she feared for her life.

"Mark Leonard told me if I ever told anyone about this he would cut me into pieces and my daughter … and no one would ever find us," Shirley said. "I was afraid! I didn't want anything to happen to my baby."

Shirley admitted to making the hotel reservations, and to making arrangements for her daughter and their cat, Snowball, but maintained she didn't know the scope of what the Leonards were planning. Bob Leonard's defense attorney Ted Minch wasn't swayed.

"Well the truth is, you did more in this case than those three things you told the jury," Minch said. "You didn't just make the hotel reservations and take care of Brook and the cat. You made those insurance claims. You cashed those checks. You lied to all those people."

MORE FROM DAY 13 | Richmond Hill: Monserrate Shirley says Mark Leonard threatened her, her daughter

DAY 14

The last day of Week 4 brought the trial closer to home for Bob Leonard when his son, Justin, was called to take the witness stand against him.

Justin told jurors he and his father had been estranged for many years.

"We'd had a broken relationship," Justin said. "We hadn't talked to each other for about a 10-year stretch. It was getting better, though. We were working on repairing it."

But when his father called him saying he needed his help, Justin said he and his girlfriend drove to his trailer. There, Justin said, Bob asked him to take several totes, boxes and golf clubs for his uncle Mark, who had apparently been displaced by an explosion.

"He asked me to take some things. Just until they got back on their feet, is what I was told," Justin said.

Prosecutors say those totes and boxes were full of items pulled from Monserrate Shirley's home prior to the explosion. The golf clubs belonged to John Shirley.

Bob Leonard's trial was scheduled to resume Tuesday. Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said he believed the State could wrap up its case next week.

MORE FROM DAY 14 | Full testimony | Richmond Hill: Bob Leonard's son takes the stand


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

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