Monserrate Shirley's attorney asks for change of venue in for trial in Indianapolis home explosion

Attorney cites hostility from public, media

INDIANAPOLIS - Monserrate Shirley's attorney wants her trial moved out of Marion County, citing hostility from the public and the media in the wake of the deadly Indianapolis neighborhood explosion.

James Voyles, a well-known Indianapolis defense attorney now representing Shirley, filed a change of venue request with the court Thursday morning.

Special Section: Indy Explosion

In the filing, Voyles claims his client is unable to receive a fair trial in Marion County due to public hostility, public outrage, "prejudicial news reporting or editorializing that castigates her" and "speculative opinions about her personality and character."

Shirley, who lived in the Richmond Hill home that exploded the night of Nov. 10, killing two neighbors, her boyfriend, Mark Leonard, who also lived in the home, and his brother, Robert Leonard, were charged last month with two counts each of murder, one count each of conspiracy to commit arson, 33 counts each of arson, a Class B felony, and 12 counts each of arson, a Class A felony.

Prosecutors said the trio plotted to fill the couple's home with gas and ignite it using a microwave timer, killing neighbors John and Jennifer Longworth, leveling five homes and causing $4 million worth of damage in the neighborhood.

The death penalty will be under consideration in the case, prosecutors said.

Mark Leonard and Robert Leonard have been appointed public defenders.

No hearing date has been set for Monserrate Shirley's change of venue request.

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