Monserrate Shirley, one of the three suspects charged in the 2012 deadly Richmond Hill explosion in Indianapolis, Indiana, reached a plea deal with prosecutors, which could lead to a stronger case against the other two suspects. Shirley, whose house exploded, had been charged with murder, 40 counts of arson and conspiracy to commit arson. She has reportedly pleaded guilty for at least one of the charges.
A hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday for the change of plea since Shirley had earlier pleaded not guilty. The blast, which occurred on Nov. 10, 2012, had killed Shirley’s two next-door neighbors and damaged more than 80 homes in the southeast side subdivision, according to Indianapolis Star, a local news network.
Jim Voyles, Shirley’s attorney, reportedly declined to comment on the deal.
Prosecutors claim that the three people had rigged the blast to collect $300,000 in insurance, according to The Associated Press.
"You go from something where you believe you have a defensible chance," Bob Hammerle, a defense attorney in Indianapolis, said, according to The Indianapolis Star, adding: "And you wake up and you found out you're dangling at the edge of a cliff."
The terms of the plea have not yet been disclosed. Deana Martin, public defender for Mark Leonard, Shirley’s former boyfriend, who is also charged in the case, said that she could not confirm how the plea will change the prosecution.
"The only information I have is that despite more than two years of proclaiming they had a strong case against all defendants," Martin said, according to The Indianapolis Star, adding: "The state has done an about face and offered Ms. Shirley some type of plea offer."
Leonard’s half brother, Bob, has also been charged in the case. Bob Leonard’s lawyer Ted Minch has reportedly not seen the details of the agreement yet.