Man Behind Deadly Indiana House Explosion/Insurance Scam Dies in Prison

February 2, 2018

The man who authorities said was the mastermind behind a deadly 2012 house explosion in Indianapolis was found dead in prison Tuesday, an Indiana Department of Correction spokesman said.

Mark Leonard, 48, was found dead around 9:15 a.m. Tuesday at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in southwestern Indiana, department spokesman Doug Garrison said. The cause of death wasn’t immediately known.

Leonard was convicted in 2015 of murder, arson and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud in the November 2012 natural gas explosion that destroyed his then-girlfriend’s home and killed two next-door neighbors. That blast damaged or destroyed more than 80 homes on Indianapolis’ south side. Leonard received two life sentences without parole, plus 75 years.

Leonard also was sentenced to an additional 50 years in February 2017 for trying to have a witness killed.

The Indiana Supreme Court last May rejected Leonard’s appeal, affirming his convictions and sentences in the house explosion.

Authorities said Leonard was the mastermind behind the blast. They said he enlisted his then-girlfriend and three others in the plot to claim insurance money. Prosecutors said a natural gas line was tampered with and a microwave on a timer was used to ignite the explosion.

His half-brother, Bob Leonard, was also convicted of murder, arson and other charges. He received a nearly identical sentence of two consecutive life terms without parole, plus 70 years.

Related: