Mark Leonard sentenced to life in prison for deadly Indianapolis house explosion

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By: Tom Coyne/Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The man convicted of planning a massive Indianapolis house explosion that killed two neighbors has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

A judge ordered the sentence Friday for 46-year-old Mark Leonard, saying he orchestrated the November 2012 blast that killed the couple who died and destroyed or damaged more than 80 homes.

Judge John Marnocha said Leonard turned the house into a bomb in what prosecutors said was a plot to trigger a natural gas explosion at his then-girlfriend’s home to collect $300,000 in insurance.

A jury convicted Leonard last month of murder, arson and conspiracy charges after his trial in South Bend.

Homeowner Monserrate Shirley has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. Leonard’s half brother and two others are awaiting trial.