Pharos-Tribune

State News

December 21, 2012

Three charged with murder in home explosion

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

Curry said Bob and Mark Leonard told investigators they had last seen each other four days before the explosion, but investigators found surveillance video from two businesses showing them together on the two days before the blast.

The day before the blast, Curry said, the brothers allegedly spoke with an employee of local gas utility Citizens Energy.

They "asked that person various questions regarding gas, including the differences between propane and natural gas, the role of a regulator in a house and controlling the flow of natural gas and how much gas it would require to fill a house," he said.

On the day after the explosion, Bob Leonard allegedly called his son and asked him to retrieve a bag and six or seven boxes from a white van outside his mobile home that he said were filled with items he had salvaged from Shirley's home after the blast.

"That, of course, is impossible because everything in the house was destroyed. Plus no one was allowed access to the property after the explosion," Curry said.

The late-night blast, which was heard from miles away, destroyed five houses including the Longworths' home, damaged about 90 more and sent residents fleeing, some in their pajamas.

Officials ordered the demolition of about three dozen of the mostly heavily damaged homes and say the blast caused an estimated $4.4 million in damage.

Shirley has said Leonard had replaced the thermostat and that the furnace was working. Cable has said the daughter told her mother she had smelled an odd odor in recent weeks, but that they hadn't reported it.

John Longworth was an electronics expert and his wife was a second-grade teacher.

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