Jury selection set to begin in Indy blast trial in South Bend

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By: Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Jury selection is set to begin in the trial of a man charged in the 2012 Indianapolis house explosion that killed two people and damaged or destroyed more than 80 homes.

Mark Leonard faces more than 50 counts including murder, conspiracy and insurance fraud.

The selection process that begins Thursday in St. Joseph Superior Court in South Bend will choose 12 jurors and six alternates. Opening statements are scheduled for Monday. Prosecutors have said the trial could last six weeks.

The case was moved to South Bend because of pretrial publicity in central Indiana.

Prosecutors have said the explosion was a scheme to collect $300,000 in insurance. It occurred when the home of Leonard’s then-girlfriend, Monserrate Shirley, filled up with natural gas after a valve and a regulator were removed.