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Authorities: 3 set deadly Ind. blast for insurance

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm •  Published: December 21, 2012

A probable cause affidavit says Shirley filed for bankruptcy this year but stopped making her court-arranged payments and failed to appear at a July bankruptcy hearing. The home's original loan was for $116,000 and a second mortgage was taken out on the home for $65,000, the affidavit also says.

A friend of Mark Leonard's also told investigators that Leonard would surf online dating sites "and located older, heavier women, wine and dine them," then borrowed money and never paid them back, according to the affidavit.

The friend said Shirley was aware of the scheming "and was OK with it so long as he did not sleep with the women," the affidavit says.

Leonard has a criminal record that includes stalking and intimidation and convictions on dealing and possessing cocaine, according to prison records.

Two men, one fitting Bob Leonard's description, were seen at Shirley's home the day of the explosion, and Curry indicated investigators believe that's when the gas line and valve were tampered with. He said authorities are still trying to determine the second man's identity.

Curry said that the day before the blast, the brothers asked an employee of local gas utility Citizens Energy several questions, "including the differences between propane and natural gas, the role of a regulator in a house and controlling the flow of natural gas and how much gas it would require to fill a house."

Curry said Shirley and her boyfriend had followed the same pattern two weekends in a row, visiting a southern Indiana casino, dropping off Shirley's daughter with a baby sitter and boarding the family's cat.

An affidavit says that when a friend of Mark Leonard's called him Nov. 2, eight days before the successful blast, Leonard told the friend "the house blew up" and that he and Shirley were staying in an efficiency apartment.

In another call that day, Leonard told his friend he had been surfing Craigslist "looking for a Ferrari to buy" and explained that he could afford the luxury car because Shirley had jewelry insurance and "they expect to get $300,000 and he would get $100,000" in the insurance payout, according to the affidavit.

It's not clear whether investigators think Leonard believed the first explosion attempt had succeeded. Curry's spokeswoman, Brienne Delaney, said the office could not comment beyond what was in the court documents.

The day after the explosion, Bob Leonard allegedly called his son and asked him to retrieve from a white van items he said he had salvaged from Shirley's home after the blast.

"That, of course, is impossible because everything in the house was destroyed," Curry said. "Plus no one was allowed access to the property after the explosion."


Associated Press writer Ken Kusmer contributed to this report.