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Three Make Court Appearances In Indy Explosion


Three people accused in the deadly on Indianapolis' south side appeared in court on Monday and pleaded not guilty before a Marion County judge.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry has named Monserrate Shirley, Mark Leonard and Robert Leonard suspects in the Nov. 10 blast that killed two people and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes.

All three were charged with two counts of murder, one count of conspiracy to commit arson, 33 counts of arson, a Class B felony and 12 counts of arson.

The death penalty will be under consideration in the case. A committee will review the case after at least 30 days.

Police say that the source of the blast was a microwave oven and it ignited natural gas that was intentionally left on in the house.

A natural gas step-down valve into the home had been removed and a gas valve in the fireplace was missing.

Investigators say that without the valve, it took six to nine hours for the house to fill with gas to reach the combustibility to cause an explosion.

Authorities believe that the explosion was part of a financial scheme to get out from under the debt of the home and other financial difficulties.

All three defendants are being held without bond. A jury trial date was set for March 4.