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Woman Accused In Richmond Hill Blast Asks For Separate Trial

Monserrate Shirley is one of three defendants in the Richmond Hill murder and arson case.

Home Explosion

Photo: Courtesy: Marion County Prosecuter's Office

Monserrate Shirley, left, says she was in an abusive relationship with Mark Leonard, right, and should be tried separately in the Richmond Hill murder and arson case.

The Indianapolis woman charged in the Richmond Hill explosion wants a separate trial.

An attorney for Monserrate Shirley has filed papers saying she was trapped in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend, Mark Leonard.

Shirley, Leonard and Leonard’s brother, Robert Leonard Jr., are accused of causing the blast that killed two people and damaged more than 80 homes on Indianapolis’ southeast side Nov. 10.

But prosecutors say they still plan to try all three defendants.

“I think it contains a lot of information that a jury would likely never hear,” says Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson.

Robinson says she’ll file a response to Shirley’s motion by Sept. 20. She says because Shirley and the Leonards are accused of conspiring to cause the blast, they should stand trial together.

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