Jury selection off to rough start in Indiana explosion case

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By: Associated Press

(Source: https://goo.gl/Nd9gFp License: https://goo.gl/sZ7V7x)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Jury selection in the trial of an Indianapolis man charged in a deadly 2012 house explosion will start fresh Friday after the judge dismissed all of the first 54 prospective jurors on the first day.

St. Joseph Superior Court Judge John Marnocha made the dismissals Thursday and says he’ll keep a tighter rein on questioning after defense attorney Diane Black disclosed that defendant Mark Leonard has been accused of trying to have a witness killed.

Marnocha says proceedings will start Friday with another 70 prospective jurors and as if Thursday’s proceedings never occurred.

Leonard faces two counts of murder and arson, conspiracy and insurance fraud counts. Prosecutors say he masterminded a scheme to blow up a house belonging to then-girlfriend Monserrate Shirley and collect $300,000 in insurance proceeds to pay off debts.