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Indianapolis man files notice that he'll appeal life sentences in deadly house explosion


INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man has filed formal notice that he will appeal his two life sentences for blowing up his former girlfriend's house and killing two of her neighbors in 2012.

Mark Leonard's public defender filed the appeals notice Friday with the Indiana Supreme Court. Online records did not indicate the basis on which Leonard will appeal.

St. Joseph Superior Court Judge John Marnocha in South Bend sentenced Leonard to two life terms plus 75 years without parole last month. Leonard was convicted in July on 53 counts including charges of murder, arson and conspiracy.

The November 2012 explosion, which injured a dozen other people, also damaged or destroyed dozens of homes in a subdivision on Indianapolis' south side.

Marnocha decided Leonard should be given two life sentences without parole because prosecutors had proved three factors: that more than one person was killed, an explosion was involved and 34-year-old John "Dion" Longworth had burned to death. Longworth's 36-year-old wife, Jennifer, was killed instantly.

Marnocha said at the sentencing that Leonard turned the house into a bomb in what prosecutors described as a plot to trigger a natural gas explosion at the home of Monserrate Shirley to collect $300,000 in insurance.

Shirley, 49, has agreed to plead guilty to two conspiracy charges. Leonard's half brother and two other people are awaiting trial.

Leonard, 46, is serving his sentences at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City.

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