Richmond Hill Trial: Leonard's friend says he 'knew too much'

Just a few days after the Richmond Hill explosion, Mark Duckworth left a troubling message on his father's answering machine: "Leonard don't have anything left to lose to kill me now."

"I knew too much," Duckworth said.

As it turned out, Mark Leonard, his friend of more than 20 years, agreed – so much so that he tried to hire a hitman from his jail cell to have Duckworth killed.

DAY 17 | Full testimony

Jurors at Leonard's murder trial in South Bend heard recordings Thursday of his conversations with an undercover ATF agent posing as a hitman. And on Monday, they heard from the man he wanted dead.

MORE | Full transcripts of recordings | Richmond Hill: Recording captures Mark Leonard calmly explaining instructions to 'hitman' | Affidavit: Mark Leonard tried to hire hitman to kill Richmond Hill witness

Duckworth said he called Leonard just a few days before the explosion to catch up. When he asked what he was up to, Leonard said he was looking online for a Ferrari.

"I said, 'How come?'" Duckworth said. "How can he afford a Ferrari?"

Leonard told him a sudden windfall was coming his way.

"He said the tsunami winds blew out the fireplace and the house blew up, and they were getting $300,000," Duckworth said.

Leonard also told him he and his then-girlfriend Monserrate Shirley were staying at an apartment in the meantime. When Duckworth called him back a few days later – still pre-explosion – Leonard said none of the tsunami stuff was true.

"I hadn't heard from him in a few days so I called him and asked him if he was still in that efficiency, and he said he'd made that all up, he was kidding," Duckworth said.

When he saw the news about the explosion, Duckworth said he texted a mutual friend that Leonard "made the news." He texted the same thing to Leonard himself the next morning – but their final phone conversation would end up being the last time he ever heard from Mark Leonard.

Four months later, Leonard was on the phone again – this time trying to arrange to have Duckworth killed.

"When we go back to this timeframe, were you and Mark Leonard friends?" Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson asked Duckworth.

"I thought we were," he said.
 

RTV6 will be in the courtroom throughout the trial. Court rules do not allow live coverage of the proceedings, but we will post a daily blog wrap up when breaks are allowed from proceedings.

MORE | Monseratte Shirley's ex-husband thought boarding of cat was 'odd' | Excess gas inside home was equivalent to 3 tons of TNT Firefighter likens blast to 9/11, questioned about bias | 'I had my hand on him' | Victims' moms testify | 'Once the floor caved in, I knew that was it' | Despite error in ATF report, no postponement for Mark Leonard trial | Trapped inside their homes Witnesses relive the blast Soldier: Richmond Hill like IED explosion in Afghanistan | 'If I had known, I would have risked everything' Monserrate Shirley 'lied to us' | Richmond Hill 'only meant to be a small fire' 

 

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