A judge sentenced a woman in Indiana to 50 years in prison for her role in planning to blow up her house to collect insurance money, reported The Wall Street Journal. The 2012 explosion killed two people.
On Tuesday, Marion County Superior Court Judge Sheila Carlisle sentenced 51-year-old Monserrate Shirley after Shirley pleaded guilty in 2015 to two felony counts of conspiracy to commit arson at her Richmond Hill home in Indianapolis. Shirley testified against her boyfriend who lived with her at the time, Mark Leonard, and his half brother Bob. Together, the three cooked up the house explosion plot to collect $300,000 in insurance money.
Prosecutors said Leonard lead the plot for the November 2012 explosion. He is said to have poured gasoline in the bedrooms, let the house fill with gas after removing safety valves, and started the fire by setting the microwave to spark. Shirley and Leonard were at a casino gambling when the explosion happened. The explosion would kill a couple living next door and would go on to damage or destroy 80 homes nearby. Of the homes impacted by the explosion, 30 were so beyond repair they had to be destroyed.
Shirley’s former boyfriend was sentenced to life in prison without parole last year after being found guilty of 57 counts including murder, arson, and insurance fraud. Leonard’s half brother Bob is also serving a life sentence after being convicted of similar charges earlier this year. Gary Thompson, a friend, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit arson. A person who didn’t alert police about the arson plot will be sentenced Dec. 28 after pleading guilty to assisting a criminal.
The Indy Channel reported that the 461 days Shirley has already served will go towards her sentence.