Lawyer: Concurrent trial for Richmond Hill suspects is 'gimmick'

Lawyer asking court to deny request

INDIANAPOLIS - Robert Leonard, one of three suspects charged in the deadly Richmond Hill explosion, wants his own separate trial.

In new court filings, his lawyer asked the court to deny the prosecutor's request for a concurrent trial.

A concurrent trial means three separate juries would hear the evidence at the same time in the same room.

Leonard's court documents call such a plan a "gimmick" and criticize the Marion County Prosecutor's Office in that the concurrent trial plan "amounts to nothing more than an end around to protect its interest in having these defendants tried together despite the overwhelming reasoning that supports the court's determination that these defendants should be tried separately."

The lawyer for Robert Leonard, Ted Minch, is asking Judge Shelia Carlisle to deny the state's request for a concurrent jury trial.

Lawyers for Monserrate Shirley asked for an extension on Friday's deadline to tell the court their position on a concurrent jury trial.

The court granted an extension until Jan. 10.

Mark Ray Leonard's legal team is expected to file their legal brief later Friday.

All three suspects are facing murder and arson charges in connection to the deadly Richmond Hill explosion in 2012.

Their trial date is scheduled for June 16, 2014.

Officials with the Marion County Prosecutor's Office believe a concurrent trial is possible because it’s been done in other states.

Prosecutors said the move would save money. It would also spare investigators and the victims of the deadly November 2012 explosion from having to testify three times.

If the judge denies the request, each separate trial would take up to six weeks.

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