Glenn Hults, 50, will serve 1 1/2 years in either prison or jail and six months in a work release program in the custody of Marion County Community Corrections, Marion Superior Judge Sheila Carlisle ordered on Wednesday. Carlisle suspended one year of the sentence and ordered probation.
Hults entered a plea agreement in November to a felony charge of assisting a criminal in connection with the November 2012 explosion that killed two people, injured 13 others, and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes in the neighborhood on Indianapolis’ southeast side. Prosecutors initially charged him with the more serious felony of conspiracy to commit arson.
Court documents had alleged that Hults, the last suspect to be charged in the case, knew of the plot before his four co-defendants blew up the home of Monserrate Shirley, causing massive damage in Richmond Hill and killing neighbors John “Dion” Longworth and Jennifer Longworth.
But Hults only admitted to failing to cooperate with police after the explosion, hindering the investigation by helping his co-defendants elude arrest for a time. He faced a sentence of six months to three years in prison.
Carlisle said Hults only reluctantly took responsibility for his role in the crime and said he could have helped police and prosecutors resolve the case earlier if he had cooperated from the start.
“Come on,” Carlisle told Hults during the sentencing hearing. “You know what you did.”
Shirley, her boyfriend Mark Leonard, his half-brother Bob Leonard, and their friend, Gary Thompson, conspired to set fire to Shirley’s home to collect about $300,000 in insurance money. After several unsuccessful attempts, the plotters blew up Shirley’s home.
Police were able to arrest Hults due to Shirley’s cooperation with police. She struck a deal with prosecutors in which they allowed her to plead guilty to two felony arson conspiracy counts in exchange for her testimony against her co-defendants. Earlier this month, a judge sentenced Shirley to 50 years in prison.
Since the explosion, residents and others have grappled with post traumatic stress disorder, as well as their grief over the loss of the Longworth couple.
“You chose Mark Leonard over the police department, over the whole neighborhood, knowing that the crime he committed killed two people,” Carlisle said.
Hults’ defense attorney argued that the defendant played no part in planning or executing the explosion. Hults spoke to family members of the Longworth couple, telling them that he prays for Dion and Jennifer daily.
“I’m sorry for all (of) your losses,” Hults said.
Deputy Prosecutor Michael Lux, though, said Hults lied to police and prosecutors in three separate interviews after the explosion to cover for his friend, Mark Leonard.
“We’re never going to know the consequences of that decision,” Lux said.
For the last time, John Longworth, Dion’s father, and Don Buxton, Jennifer’s father, took the stand to tell a judge about the loss of their children.
“I can’t believe that five stupid people turned so many lives upside down,” Buxton said.
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