Owner of Ind. house that blew up claims abuse

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Attorneys for an Indianapolis woman whose home exploded say she was abused by her co-defendant boyfriend and powerless to stop the blast that killed two neighbors.

WTHR-TV reports (http://bit.ly/16NV3y7 ) attorneys for Monserrate Shirley have filed court papers arguing she should be tried separately from boyfriend Mark Leonard and his brother, Bob Leonard, because she’s a victim of his “manipulation, abuse and coerciveness.”

The lawyers say “evidence will reveal a naïve, controlled woman who blindly followed and trusted Mark Leonard.” They say Mark Leonard wouldn’t want the evidence introduced in court and that the cases should be separated.

Shirley and the Leonards each face charges of murder, arson and insurance fraud in connection with the Nov. 10, 2012, explosion that damaged dozens of homes. A pretrial hearing is set for Thursday.

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Information from: WTHR-TV, http://www.wthr.com/

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