Three people have been arrested and charged with felony murder in the Southside Indianapolis home explosion, which took place last month.
Monserrate Shirley, who co-owned the home where the blast originated, along with her boyfriend, Mark Leonard, and his brother Robert were charged, reports The Indy Star.
The trio was taken into custody on Friday morning, according to prosecutors. Authorities allege that the trio released gas into the house and detonated it with a microwave oven. They apparently failed to blow the house up the week before the incident.
Shirley increased the insurance coverage on her house to $300,000, according to investigators. Two people, Shirley’s next door neighbors, were killed in the blast, which destroyed Shirley’s home and the two net to it. It also damaged 80 other homes in the neighborhood.
Prosecutors in the case called the deadly explosion a “thoroughly senseless act.” Following the blast, Shirley told reporters that she and her boyfriend were away from their home at a casino the night it blew up, notes WIBC. She stated:
“Everybody’s pointing a finger at me like I did something wrong. I mean, I’m totally devastated like my neighbors are.”
Investigators initially began to suspect Shirley and the Leonards last month because they were gone the night of the blast, their cat was boarded, and Shirley’s daughter had been visiting a friend that night. Investigators also stated that the couple was in debt and struggling financially.
Police announced last month that they were considering the case a criminal investigation. They served more than 20 search warrants, one of which was to Robert Leonard’s home. If convicted of the felony murder charges, the three responsible for the deadly Indianapolis home explosion could face the death penalty.