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Defendant in Indiana house explosion gets up to 50 years

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

Monserrate Shirley was given the maximum term on Tuesday during a sentencing hearing that stretched over two days, because of a large number of witnesses. Shirley tears apologized, saying: “this is something that 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 destroyed her house, killed a couple who lived next door and destroyed or damaged 80 homes. More than a dozen of her former neighbors testified about their losses.

Shirley’s lawyer said that they should have received a less sentence, with the argument that she was forced by her then boyfriend.

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