Judge orders Richmond Hill recordings released

Monserrate Shirley, Mark Leonard, Bob Leonard, left to right. (Provided photos / Marion County Jail)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – An alleged jailhouse murder-for-hire scheme in the Richmond Hill explosion case involved a plan to get a critical witness in the case to confess to framing the lead suspects, newly filed court documents show.

Monserrate Shirley, Mark Leonard and Bob Leonard, Jr. each face more than 50 charges in connection to the deadly 2012 blast.

Mark Leonard also faces a conspiracy to commit murder charge filed in early 2013, for allegedly attempting to have a witness in the case killed from behind bars. Prosecutors say Leonard attempted to hire an undercover Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent, who was posing as a hit man. That agent had “several telephone conversations with Leonard about having the witness killed, how to do it, payment therefore and how it would vindicate Leonard,” according to court documents.

Those telephone conversations were all recorded.

Last month, Shirley’s attorneys asked Judge Sheila Carlisle to order those recordings to be released to the defense. They wanted to know if Leonard mentioned her during those conversations with the undercover agent, and what he said.

Late Monday, Carlisle granted that request in part, ruling that only parts of the recording where Shirley’s name is mentioned will be turned over.

Newly filed court documents obtained by I-Team 8 show that includes a portion of the conversation where Leonard allegedly asks the undercover agent “to force the witness to call 911” before carrying out the hit. According to court filings, Leonard is heard telling the agent to force the witness to say “I did not mean to frame Mark and Moncie for their own house in Richmond Hills.”

Prosecutors had objected to releasing the recordings, saying they are immaterial to Shirley’s case and could lead to further witness intimidation.

A June 2014 trial date was scrapped last month, and no new date has been set.

Prosecutors have said they intend to try Mark Leonard first. His attorneys have told the judge they don’t anticipate being ready for trial until April 2015.

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