Topless coffee shop fire trial won’t be moved

Posted Dec. 02, 2010, at 11:25 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The man accused of burning down the topless coffee shop in Vassalboro, Maine, will be tried in the county where the alleged crime occurred.

A judge on Wednesday rejected Raymond Bellavance Jr.’s request to move his trial. Bellavance contended it would be too difficult to find unbiased jurors in Kennebec County. But the Kennebec Journal says the judge found that media coverage wasn’t extensive enough for Bellavance to presume prejudice.

Police say Bellavance set the fire at the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop because he was angry at his ex-girlfriend, who worked there and allegedly had a relationship with the owner.

Owner Donald Crabtree and six others were sleeping in a room connected to the coffee shop when the fire started on June 3, 2009. All escaped without injury.

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