Richmond Hill: The odd boardings of Snowball the Cat

Jurors hear a lot about cat, little about Leonard

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Four weeks into his murder trial, jurors have heard more about the cat of his half-brother's former girlfriend than Bob Leonard, Jr.

An Allen County jury heard testimony Tuesday about a suspicious pattern of boardings by Monserrate Shirley of her cat Snowball. Prosecutors called three witnesses, all of whom testified that Snowball had been boarded at their animal kennels during three successive weekends in 2012, ending with the weekend of Nov. 10 – when Shirley's house in the Richmond Hill neighborhood blew up.

MORE | Full testimony from Day 11

One of those witnesses, Arbor Lane Kennels owner Kathleen Tilson, testified that Shirley returned after the explosion asking for a receipt stating she'd requested Snowball be groomed during her stay.

In all, witnesses said Snowball was boarded from Oct. 26-29, Nov. 3-5 and Nov. 9-15 -- the three weekends prosecutors allege Shirley and the Leonard brothers conspired to blow up her house.

None of the kennels that boarded Snowball had any previous record of ever doing so, and Shirley's ex-husband John testified last week that he and his wife never boarded the cat while they were married.

The evidence about Snowball was all presented in July at the trial of Mark Ray Leonard in South Bend. Prosecutors have said they will be presenting new witnesses and evidence not heard previously in their case against Bob Leonard, Jr.

Jurors' first hint about Bob Leonard's alleged involvement in the explosion may come from Monserrate Shirley herself, who is scheduled to testify later in the trial.

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Call 6 Investigator Rafael Sanchez and Senior Digital Correspondent Jordan Fischer will be in Fort Wayne covering the trial every day. Download the RTV6 app to get the latest live blog posts as the proceedings unfold.


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RELATED LINKS | Richmond Hill Special Section |  Mark Ray Leonard convicted on all counts

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