CRIME

Attorney describes Indianapolis house explosion as stupid, selfish insurance fraud gone awry

  • In this file photo taken on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, Mark Leonard walks to a pre-trial hearing  in Indianapolis. Leonard is one of three people charged with rigging a house to explode to collect insurance. Opening statements were scheduled Monday afternoon in the trial of Mark Leonard after the final jurors were selected. Leonard faces 53 charges, including murder, arson and conspiracy, in what prosecutors say was a plan to blow up a house to collect insurance money. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, FILE)

    In this file photo taken on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, Mark Leonard walks to a pre-trial hearing in Indianapolis. Leonard is one of three people charged with rigging a house to explode to collect insurance. Opening statements were scheduled Monday afternoon in the trial of Mark Leonard after the final jurors were selected. Leonard faces 53 charges, including murder, arson and conspiracy, in what prosecutors say was a plan to blow up a house to collect insurance money. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, FILE)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2012 file aerial photo, the two homes that were leveled and the numerous neighboring homes that were damaged from a massive explosion that sparked a huge fire and killed two people are shown in Indianapolis. Opening statements were scheduled Monday, June 8, 2015, in the trial of Mark Leonard after the final jurors were selected. Leonard faces 53 charges, including murder, arson and conspiracy, in what prosecutors say was a plan to blow up a house to collect insurance money. (Matt Kryger/The Indianapolis Star via AP, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2012 file aerial photo, the two homes that were leveled and the numerous neighboring homes that were damaged from a massive explosion that sparked a huge fire and killed two people are shown in Indianapolis. Opening statements were scheduled Monday, June 8, 2015, in the trial of Mark Leonard after the final jurors were selected. Leonard faces 53 charges, including murder, arson and conspiracy, in what prosecutors say was a plan to blow up a house to collect insurance money. (Matt Kryger/The Indianapolis Star via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

An attorney for a man charged in a deadly house explosion that damaged or destroyed more than 80 homes in an Indianapolis neighborhood says he never meant to cause so much damage.

Public defender Diane Black during opening statements in the trial of Mark Leonard described the 2012 blast as "a stupid and selfish insurance fraud that went horribly wrong." Black told jurors that while the case cries out for the strongest punishment based on the result, it is their job to determine Leonard's responsibility.

Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson told jurors she won't argue that the deaths of two neighbors were intentional but said Leonard should have known it was a possibility. She says the case is about greed.

Leonard faces 53 charges, including murder, arson and conspiracy.