Mark Leonard, convicted in Richmond Hill explosion, found dead in prison

Mark Leonard

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Mark Leonard, one of the people convicted for his role in the 2012 Richmond Hill subdivision explosion, was found dead in prison Tuesday morning, a state correctional authority said.

Leonard was convicted in 2016 by a Marion County jury of murder, arson and other charges for his role in the Richmond Hill explosion. The blast left two people dead, and destroyed dozens of homes in the south side Indianapolis neighborhood.

Leonard died about 9:15 a.m. in the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in southwestern Indiana, said Doug Garrison, chief communication officer for the Indiana Department of Correction.

Leonard had been in the prison since Dec. 21, 2012.

Prosecutors said Leonard played a critical role in the conspiracy to rig the gas system and collect insurance money from the explosion of Monserrate Shirley’s home in the Richmond Hill subdivision. Leonard’s defense team said prosecutors did not provide credible evidence that Leonard had taken part in the conspiracy.

Leonard’s half-brother Bob was sentenced in Fort Wayne in 2016.

A jury convicted Leonard of offering $15,000 to having a witness killed before his trial began. Leonard was sentenced to 50 years in prison for attempting to hire a hit man to kill a witness. This was in addition to the two life sentences he received for his role in the deadly blast. Leonard lost an appeal in his case in October in the Indiana Court of Appeals.