Prosecutors: Debt motive for 2012 Indy explosion

INDIANAPOLIS - Prosecutors suggested Friday that growing gambling and credit card debt were the motive behind a deadly explosion on the city’s south side in 2012.

Monserrate Shirley, her then-boyfriend Mark Leonard and his brother, Bob Leonard, face charges of murder, arson and conspiracy to commit arson in the Nov. 10, 2012, blast that killed two of Shirley's neighbors and wrecked dozens of houses in the Richmond Hill subdivision on the city's far south side.

According to court documents, Shirley racked up $63,000 in credit card debt and Mark Leonard lost nearly $10,000 at a casino, putting the debt on Shirley’s card.

Prosecutors also said a week before the explosion, Mark Leonard told a friend he was "looking for a Ferrari to buy" on Craigslist. Leonard claimed he and Shirley were expecting to get $300,000, of which he would get $100,000.

Prosecutors say they intend to present evidence of mortgage liabilities, the threat of foreclosure, Shirley's inability to sell her home and the fact that the home's insurance coverage had been increased prior to the explosion

A hearing is scheduled for the week of July 28 on Mark Leonard's request that his trial be moved to another county. Hearing dates have not been set for similar requests by Shirley and Bob Leonard.

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