INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The Marion County prosecutor announced Friday that charges have been filed in connection with the fatal Richmond Hill explosion.
Monserrate Shirley, owner of the home where the explosion occurred, her boyfriend, Mark Leonard, and his brother, Bob Leonard, were arrested Friday. Jail records show all three of them have each been charged with two counts of murder, along with dozens of charges of arson.
The murder charges stem from the deaths of Dion and Jennifer Longworth .
Two people were killed and dozens of homes were irreparably damaged in the Nov. 10 blast caused by ignition of natural gas. Eight days later, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said the investigation had become a homicide investigation.
According to court documents, 12 Richmond Hill residents were injured in the blast, and damages to property in the area are estimated at $4 million.
Prosecutor details allegations against three
During Friday's news conference, Curry called the explosion a "thoroughly senseless act" and said that his office was committed to seeing that justice is done. He went on to detail highlights of the accusations against the three.
He said investigators believe the microwave oven, which had the capability to be set to start up to 24 hours in advance, was the point of ignition and had exploded from the inside. He also noted no gas leaks in the lines were found, but the regulators that would have controlled the flow of gas had been removed, and the valve to the gas fireplace in the home was missing. Under those conditions, he said, it would take six to nine hours for the house to be filled with gas.
Curry said an acquaintance of Mark Leonard told investigators he had tried to blow up the house the weekend before but had failed. He noted that the Friday before the explosion, both Mark and Bob Leonard had spoken with a Citizen's Energy employee and asked about the differences between propane and natural gas and how much it would take to fill a house.
That failed attempt led to extra charges of conspiracy to commit arson for Shirley and Mark Leonard, Curry said.
Curry also said the insurance on personal property in the house had been increased to $450,000 shortly before the explosion.
The residents were out of town the night of the explosion.
Homeowner claimed to be victim
In the days after the explosion, after finger-pointing at the residents of the home where the explosion occurred, who were out of town at that time, Shirley said they were victims, just like everybody else .
Costs pile up
The Indianapolis Department of Public Safety has said the cost of the response to the explosion and continuing investigation has already topped $300,000 .
Thirty-one homes are on the list for demolition.
Inventions were built by Purdue mechanical engineering students for a final class project.
U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly has traveled around the state throughout the week talking with workers at automotive plants.
A man wanted for burglary and theft has been found thanks to an anonymous tip.