Neighborhood blows up in botched insurance arson

By James Quiggle
January 17, 2017
Ignited home’s natural gas line, burning next-door neighbors alive

imageDid an arson fire or drone strike wreck the home in a tree-lined Indianapolis neighborhood? Hard to tell the difference.

Bob Leonard helped open a natural gas line inside the home. He wanted to trigger an arson blaze for a false $300,000 insurance claim. His half-brother Mark and live-in girlfriend planned to make the fraudulent insurance claim.

Big scewup. The unstable gas fumes erupted instead. Much of the quiet, tree-lined neighborhood was leveled. Homes stood in ruins, shaken by shock waves pulsing through the subdivision.

The young couple Dion and Jennifer Longworth lived next door. She was killed instantly when the second floor where she stood pancaked in the explosion.

Dion was trapped in the basement. He tried to claw open a hole in the wall to escape outside. A fire fighter desperately swung his ax, trying to enlarge the small opening. “It’s so hot, it’s so hot. Please get me out of here!” Longworth begged.

The flames grew too hot, and the firefighter retreated. A fireball coursed into the basement, enveloping Dion.

“It’s so hot, it’s so hot. Please get me out of here!” Longworth begged.“Oh well, they died,” Leonard casually remarked after hearing about the Longworth’s deaths.

Dozens of homes also were ruined or damaged, causing at least $5 million in damage. Many terrified neighbors were trapped in their wrecked homes. Kids couldn’t sleep alone after rescue, and loud noises scared them. Some adults were too traumatized to go to work.

Leonard helped lead the botched arson plot, teaming with his half-brother Mark Leonard. Bob helped rig a timer to a microwave. It triggered the gas fumes after plotters opened up the home’s gas line.

Bob received life in state prison without parole. Mark was handed life in prison back in 2015.


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