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5th person charged in deadly Richmond Hill explosion

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A fifth suspect is now charged in connection with the alleged conspiracy leading up to the 2012 south side explosion at Richmond Hill. Glenn Hults was arrested late Tuesday, jail records obtained by I-Team 8 show.

Hults, 48, faces one count of conspiracy to commit arson. Hults was expected to appear before Judge Sheila Carlisle for an initial hearing Wednesday at 1 p.m.

He’s accused, along with Monserrate Shirley, Mark Leonard, Bob Leonard and Gary Thompson of being involved in a plot to set the explosion in the Richmond Hill neighborhood that killed Dion and Jennifer Longworth and damaged nearly 80 homes in November 2012. But, prosecutors were quick to point out they don’t believe Hults was involved in the explosion itself.

“Four other individuals charges were directly involved in explosion,” Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry told I-Team 8 Tuesday following the charges. “Mr. Hults is not alleged to be directly involved in the explosion itself, but on a more peripheral level, by agreeing to watch Monserrate Shirley’s daughter.”

Prosecutors allege Hults agreed to keep Shirley’s daughter overnight at his house on the weekend prior to the explosion. That initial explosion attempt failed, prosecutors have alleged.

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“The weekend of October 27, he agreed to watch Ms. Shirley’s daughter, and he was doing so with the knowledge that he was doing so because there would be an attempt to burn her house on that evening,” Curry said.

As I-Team 8 was first to report in January, the scope of Hults’ alleged involvement in what prosecutors say was an explosion plot were first publicly revealed by Shirley after she agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors in early January 2015.

As part of that plea agreement Shirley agreed to testify against her co-defendants, and named Hults during interviews as having first had conversations with Mark Leonard on July 4, 2012 about plans to set fire to Shirley’s house. This conversation occurred, Shirley testified, while the three were attending a pool party at a home near Geist Reservoir.

Shirley said she and Leonard had been invited to the party by Hults, who she described as Leonard’s “friend.” According to court documents, Leonard asked Hults to convince Shirley that it would be “easy” to submit an insurance claim if she had a fire in her house.

Hults told detectives he “didn’t remember any conversations about setting arson fires” and didn’t remember Leonard ever asking him to tell Shirley how easy it was to get money from an insurance company after a house fire, according to court documents.

However, court records show Hults did admit to detectives that that he had received a check for $70,000 from his insurance company after a fire in his own home that he attributed to a faulty tanning bed. He told detectives that Gary Thompson, the man charged as the fourth suspect in the Richmond Hill explosion case, installed the tanning bed and had done other electrical work at his house.

Shirley told detectives she initially rejected the plan that July day, saying it was “too risky,” according to court documents.

As I-Team 8 reported in January, speculation surrounding the potential of a fifth suspect’s arrest swirled following the arrest of Thompson that month, but prosecutors refuted claims at the time that further charges were pending. With no new evidence introduced since then, Curry acknowledged that there may be questions about why charges were filed nearly four months later.

“Between the time that that information was provided to our deputy prosecutor and investigators through Ms. Shirley, there’s been some discussions between Glenn Hults and his counsel, and obviously that led to the charges being filed today,” Curry said.

Curry did not confirm whether a plea deal had been offered to Hults, or whether he had rejected such an offer.

Messages left seeking comment from Hults’ attorney were not returned Tuesday.

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