You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Local

  • Late-year risk jumps for drivers and deer
    If you live in Indiana, you’re 21 percent more likely to slam your car or truck into a deer during the next 12 months than you were during the entire previous year.
  • Trust sees more land buys for The Landing
    Red Rok might become a building block.The downtown barbecue restaurant leases the first floor of 123 W. Columbia St., a building bought for $900,000 last week by the Downtown Development Trust.
  • 911 center allowed budget boost
    The Allen County Council granted a request Thursday from the Fort Wayne-Allen County 911 call center for nearly $300,000 while denying a smaller request from the Soil and Water Conservation District.
Advertisement

Not guilty plea filed in plot to kill witness

– A judge Wednesday entered a not guilty plea for a man accused of plotting to kill a key witness against him in a deadly house explosion in Indianapolis.

Mark Leonard, 44, is charged with conspiracy to commit murder for allegedly trying to arrange the death of a witness who told police Leonard confessed to the November explosion that killed two people. The conspiracy charge carries a penalty of 20 to 50 years in prison.

Leonard, his girlfriend, Monserrate Shirley, and his brother, Bob Leonard, are charged with murder and arson in the Nov. 10 blast. Teacher Jennifer Longworth and her husband, John, were killed in the explosion that also left 33 homes in the Richmond Hill subdivision so damaged that they had to be demolished.

Judge Sheila Carlisle set a possible jury trial date in the murder-for-hire case for June 3. Leonard’s public defender, Deana Martin, said the trial likely would be delayed.

Leonard asked a fellow inmate at Marion County Jail if he could put him in touch with a hit man to kill the witness, according to a police affidavit filed last week. The inmate, who Leonard believed belonged to a motorcycle gang, indicated he could help, and they drew up a contract agreeing that Leonard would pay a $15,000 kill fee on his release, the affidavit said.

Leonard later spoke on the phone with someone he believed to be a hit man, the affidavit said. The man actually was a federal agent.

Investigators say Leonard and the others orchestrated the explosion by removing a gas fireplace valve and regulator so that the house filled up with natural gas, then set a microwave to start on a timer.

Advertisement