- Associated Press - Thursday, February 11, 2016

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - An Indianapolis woman said she asked her then-boyfriend’s half-brother what he had done when she learned the fire they planned to ignite using natural gas had triggered an explosion that killed two neighbors and destroyed or damaged more than 80 homes.

Monserrate Shirley said Bob Leonard’s response was: “Oh well, they died. You were in it. You talk, we talk.”

Bob Leonard, is now on trial in Fort Wayne on 53 charges, including murder, arson, conspiracy. His half-brother, Mark Leonard, was convicted of the same charges and sentenced in August to life in prison without parole.

Shirley testified she went along with the plan to burn down her house to collect $300,000 in insurance out of love.

“I was doing everything Mark Leonard told me to do because I was in love with him,” she testified.

Shirley has pleaded guilty to two conspiracy charges as part of a plea agreement that required her to testify against the two brothers. She faces a prison sentence of 20 to 50 years in prison.

Shirley testified Bob Leonard was brought into the plan after a first attempt to burn down the house failed in October 2012. She said she heard her boyfriend tell Bob Leonard: “I have work for you to do, but I can’t tell you on the phone.”

She said Bob Leonard asked his half-brother if Shirley knew about the plot.

“Yes, she knows. She’s with us,” Shirley quoted Mark Leonard as saying.

Shirley testified that Mark Leonard promised Bob Leonard $10,000 to blow up the house. But she also said they couldn’t afford to pay Bob Leonard the $1,200 advance he requested.

Shirley, whose daughter was 13 years old at the time, described the neighborhood as a “place for kids to play without fear of nothing.”

That sense of security ended on Nov. 10, 2012, when Jennifer and John “Dion” Longworth were killed in the explosion and fire that followed.

“They didn’t deserve it,” Shirley testified.

The trial was moved to Fort Wayne because of extensive media coverage in Indianapolis. Mark Leonard was tried in South Bend.

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