INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Supreme Court is considering Bob Leonard’s appeal in the Richmond Hill explosion case. The court heard arguments on Thursday morning.
Last year, a jury convicted Bob Leonard of 51 charges, including two murder charges. The murder charges were the focus of Thursday’s hearing.
Andrew Borland, Leonard’s attorney, argued the jury should have been given a reckless homicide instruction. The state countered by saying there was nothing reckless about Leonard’s role in the deadly explosion.
Borland said Leonard never expected to kill anyone. He argued someone who wants to collect insurance money would not intentionally destroy a neighborhood and put himself on national news. Borland called Leonard and the others involved in the plot “inept arsonists.”
“None of the evidence suggests that they thought that was going to happen, that they hoped that was what was going to happen. The evidence in this case is simply, they wanted to collect some insurance money and they did a really really horrible job of it with tragic results,” said Borland.
Andrew Kobe, the deputy attorney general, said Leonard researched how to fill a home with gas and wanted to destroy the house. Kobe argued every act was intentional. The state believes Leonard knew there was a high probability that someone would die in the blast.
“It may not be that you were hoping you’d kill someone, but that’s not what the law requires. The law requires that you are aware of a high probability that that’s going to happen. When you blow up a bomb next to people, a high probability is that people are going to die. And really here it’s lucky there weren’t more casualties,” said Kobe.
If the court upholds the conviction, Leonard will continue to serve his two life without parole sentences. If the court sides with Leonard, the state could retry him on those two murder charges with a reckless homicide instruction, or choose not to retry him and rely on the remaining charges that were not challenged.
Leonard is serving 70 years for the arson and conspiracy to commit arson charges.