A woman who was one of five people charged in a deadly Indianapolis, Ind., house explosion faces the possibility of up to 50 years in prison when she’s sentenced Tuesday.
A Marion County judge heard victim-impact testimony Monday during the first day of 51-year-old Monserrate Shirley’s sentencing hearing.
Shirley 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.
Prosecutors say Shirley, her ex-boyfriend, his half brother and two other people were involved in a plot to destroy Shirley’s home to collect $300,000 in insurance money.
Among those testifying Monday was Glenn Olvey, who lost his home to the explosion that killed Jennifer and John Longworth, who lived two doors down from Olvey’s home.
“That day not only changed me, it changed my children, it changed my wife, it changed everything,” he told the packed courtroom.
The explosion trapped Olvey, his wife and one of their two teenage daughters when their home’s roof collapsed.
WTHR-TV reports that Olvey told reporters after his testimony that he had tried to lock eyes with Shirley as he was leaving the stand. Olvey said he wanted to ask his former neighbor, “How could you do something like this?”
Shirley will be sentenced Tuesday following additional testimony. She faces between a minimum 20-year suspended sentence with probation and a maximum 50-year prison term.
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