Indiana

Defendant in Indiana house explosion gets maximum 50 years

A woman who was one of five people charged in a deadly Indianapolis house explosion has been sentenced to 50 year in prison.

Monserrate Shirley received the maximum term Tuesday during a sentencing hearing, which stretched over two days because of a large number of witnesses. Shirley tearfully apologized, saying "this is something that will be in my heart forever."

The 51-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit arson in the November 2012 natural gas explosion that destroyed her home, killed a couple who lived next door and damaged or destroyed 80 homes. More than a dozen of her former neighbors testified about their losses.

Shirley's defense attorney said she should have received a lesser sentence, arguing that she was coerced by her then-boyfriend.