Jury selected in 2nd Richmond Hill trial, opening statements Thursday

Bob Leonard (WISH Photo)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WISH) — A jury of 12 jurors and six alternates has been seated for the second trial in connection to the deadly 2012 Richmond Hill explosion.

Bob Leonard, Jr.’s trial was moved to Fort Wayne because of pre-trial publicity.

Leonard is one of five people accused in connection to the deadly explosion.

The jury selection process began and ended Tuesday. 18 jurors, 10 women and 8 men, were seated by 6 p.m.

Bob Leonard, Jr. is facing more than 50 charges, including murder and arson.

The 2012 explosion killed Dion and Jennifer Longworth, and damaged or destroyed upwards of 80 homes in the south side neighborhood.

Bob Leonard’s half-brother Mark was convicted this past summer in South Bend after a lengthy trial. Mark Leonard is currently serving two sentences of life without parole, plus 75 years, at the state prison in Michigan City.

The court there said they had 800 potential jurors summoned for the trial. That’s ten times the size of a typical jury pool for a murder trial in Allen County.

A spokesperson for the court says right now they have two other trials going on at the same time in Allen County, so they have 1500 prospective jurors under summons right now.

Marion County prosecutors will work to connect Bob Leonard to the deadly explosion at his half-brother Mark’s ex-girlfriend’s home in November of 2012.

Mark Leonard, his half-brother Bob Leonard, Jr., Monserrate Shirley, Gary Thompson and Glenn Hults all face charges in connection to the plot investigators say was all to collect insurance money.

Prosecutors said Mark Leonard was the ringleader, but during Mark’s trial last year, prosecutors said Mark had some of his friends or acquaintances actually work to rig and set the explosion using a microwave and gas fireplace.

One of those people prosecutors said helped Mark to set the explosion: was his half-brother Bob Leonard.

Also during Mark’s trial, prosecutors revealed they found DNA matching Bob Leonard’s on the front door of Mark’s ex-girlfriend’s home.

Bob has denied having anything to do with the explosion.

Mark Leonard’s ex-girlfriend, Monserrate Shirley, agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors. She agreed to testify against her co-defendants in the case.

The state has listed 162 witnesses they may call over the next several weeks.

Opening statements are set to begin Thursday.

The trial could last through the beginning of March.

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