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Prosecutors release video of Richmond Hill Explosion suspects never before seen by public

Posted at 7:26 AM, Oct 17, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS -- For the first time, investigators have released three videos jurors saw before they convicted Mark and Bob Leonard of the 2012 Richmond Hill Explosion.

The conspirators’ first attempt came on Oct. 27, 2012. The plan called for the use of gasoline to burn down the house. When it failed, one of the co-conspirators, Gary Thompson, backed out. 

On Nov. 3, the second attempt also failed because not enough natural gas built up in the house.

SPECIAL SECTION | The Richmond Hill Explosion

What happened in between that attempt and the third, successful one on Nov. 10 is documented in new videos released to RTV6 this week.

On Nov. 4, Mark and his brother Bob went shopping. Mark spent $16 on a slide switch thermostat. Unlike the digital one he had at the south side house, this one could produce a spark at the right temperature. 

Five days later, on Nov. 9 – one day before the explosion – the Leonard brothers walked into a local tavern, the Gaslight Inn, looking for one of the co-owners, who was a Citizens Energy employee.

In the video, the brothers can be seen talking to the man, who had no connection to the plot, at length. He said the brothers wanted to know how much gas it would take to fill the house to cause a blast. 


As the employee explained in court documents, he told them, “A house is like a balloon, which would fill until it popped.”

On the day of the explosion, Mark Leonard and Monserrate Shirley, for the third week street, headed to the Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg while their home filled with natural gas.

Mark gambled for nine minutes and lost $100. Shirley played the slots for three minutes. For the majority of the 12 hours they were recorded on camera at the casino, they sat at the bar – waiting for a phone call.


The casino was meant to be their alibi. When Shirley gets the first call from a neighbor – caught on camera – the pair heads for the doors, where they checked two small bags.

The two can be seen holding hands and kissing as they take an elevator out of the casino.

It’s at the point that Shirley gets a second call – this one, apparently describing the extent of the blast – that she becomes visibly distraught.

Nevertheless, by the time the pair returned to Indianapolis, they had their stories straight.

Five years later, all five of the co-conspirators are serving sentences behind bars. Shirley received a 50 year sentence in the Indiana Department of Correction. The Leonard brothers each received two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

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