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10 jurors return to witness Leonard sentencing

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WISH) — Ten of the original jurors returned to the St. Joseph County courthouse Friday to witness Mark Leonard’s sentencing.

Leonard was convicted last month in connection to the 2012 explosion in the Richmond Hill neighborhood in south Indianapolis that killed two people and damaged more than 80 homes.

The judge called it a “scheme” based out of greed and money. Prosecutors alleged that Leonard plotted to blow up his then-girlfriend’s home to collect insurance money.

The jurors did not weigh in on the proceeding Friday because Mark Leonard and his attorneys waived that right after his conviction on 53 counts last month.

Instead, judge John Marnocha imposed the sentence of two consecutive life sentences in addition to 75 years for arson-related charges.

“I think he did the right thing,” said juror Dan Goheen, a utility repairman. “The judge is a very smart man. He thinks everything out. I don’t think he made a bad decision.”

Goheen was one of the jurors who returned Friday. He said the prosecution’s presentation of the case – combined with expert testimony – convinced him of Leonard’s guilt.

“How the state built everything piece by piece, we could see what was coming next,” Goheen said.

Edel Berberi told reporters that some days during the seven-week trial she would go home exhausted by the day’s complicated testimony.

While she said nothing surprised her today, she agreed with the judge’s sentencing.

“If that’s the law then that’s the law,” she said. “I won’t lose any sleep over it.”

Goheen said the 10 jurors who returned Friday have developed a strong friendship and even planned to go to lunch following Friday’s hearing.

“We had a bond together by the time this was over. Some of us wanted to see it through the rest of the way. When you are there that long, you want to see your friends again too.”

At least three other jurors declined to be interviewed but commented that “justice was served.”