Attorneys spar in Richmond Hill explosion hearing

Defense wants separate trials

INDIANAPOLIS - Legal wrangling highlighted a hearing Wednesday in the Richmond Hill house explosion case.

Attorneys representing Monserrate Shirley and Mark Leonard, two of the three people charged in the November 2012 blast that killed two people and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes, are requesting separate trials.

The defense attorneys also requested that the state drop its push for a life without parole sentence, contending that should be up to a jury.

Prosecutors said they would prefer one trial, but they will be ready for multiple trials if need be. They are holding onto the contention that life without parole would be appropriate.

Jennifer and Dion Longworth were killed in the explosion that leveled homes in the south side neighborhood.

The next hearing in the case is set for Aug. 14, with a trial set to begin in June 2014.

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