Man denies burning down Maine topless coffee shop

AP News
Posted: Dec 29, 2011 3:37 PM
Man denies burning down Maine topless coffee shop

A man is denying involvement in a fire that destroyed a small Maine town's topless coffee shop where his ex-girlfriend worked.

Raymond Bellavance Jr. testified for about four hours Thursday in his arson trial in Kennebec County Superior Court. He's charged with setting fire to the Grand View Coffee Shop in Vassalboro in June 2009.

The coffee shop featured topless waitresses.

Prosecutors say Bellavance burned it down because he was angry with an ex-girlfriend who worked there and had a relationship with the owner.

But Bellavance claims he wasn't jealous of his ex-girlfriend's other partners. The 50-year-old Augusta resident says witnesses who say he torched the shop are lying.

The trial has been going on for nine days. A judge says closing arguments could be held Friday.