4th Richmond Hill explosion suspect faces court

INDIANAPOLIS - The newest suspect in a deadly 2012 blast faced his first court appearance Friday.

New details were released Thursday on Gary Thompson, the fourth person arrested in the Richmond Hill explosion case that killed a couple and damaged more than 80 other homes in a south side subdivision.

Thompson, 44, is facing two counts of murder linked to the incident that happened on Nov. 10, 2012, according to online court documents filed on Jan. 27. He is also facing a count of conspiracy to commit arson, and 46 counts of arson, which were announced Thursday morning.

Previous Story: Could plea deal lead to 4th Richmond Hill suspect? 

Monserrate Shirley, the woman whose house exploded, took a plea deal on conspiracy charges last Tuesday in Marion Superior Court. She not only led police to Thompson, but will also testify against the other three suspects involved.

The Marion County Prosecutor's Office and Indianapolis metro police (IMPD) gave comments Thursday morning on the arrest.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Thompson had worked for Mark Leonard (another suspect) for several years. Thompson reportedly told IMPD detectives that during the month of October 2012, Mark had approached Thompson and asked him to pour six cans of gasoline inside Shirley's home.

Thompson told investigators that Mark offered him $5,000 in exchange for Thompson to start the fire the weekend of Oct. 27, 2012. Thompson said however, that he got scared and did not set the fire that weekend.

Thompson told detectives that the next week, he worked on the thermostat at Shirley's house at the request of Mark. Thompson also said during this time he had conversations with Mark about the use of natural gas to ignite a fire.

Prosecutors said another attempt to set fire to the home failed on the weekend of Nov. 3, 2012.

The explosion occurred the very next weekend.

SPECIAL SECTION | Indianapolis Explosion

As mentioned, Shirley's former boyfriend Mark Leonard and his brother Robert Leonard are also facing charges in the explosion.

Shirley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson as a class A felony, and conspiracy to commit arson as a class B felony. All other charges were dismissed, including the possibility of a sentence of life without parole. 

According to prosecutors, she faces a maximum sentence of 50 years and must cooperate in the cases against the Leonards. 

Hours before the explosion, witnesses reported seeing two men in a white van go into the home that exploded. One of the two men was identified as Robert Leonard, but the second man was never identified. It was not yet clear if Thompson was believed to be the second man in the vehicle.

Watch RTV6 and refresh this page for updates.

Print this article Back to Top