Jury acquits music venue manager in 2009 fire

The former manager of a southern Indiana concert hall has been found not guilty on charges that he set a 2009 fire that destroyed the venue.

The Herald-Times reported that a Brown County jury on Friday acquitted James Bowyer of Morgantown on all charges in his arson trial. He was accused of setting the fire that destroyed the Little Nashville Opry in September 2009.

Prosecutors said Bowyer set the fire in hopes of collecting $3 million in insurance money because he was heavily in debt from gambling losses.

Authorities said both Bowyer and his companion, Little Nashville Opry owner Esther Hamilton, had accumulated large debts from casino gambling.

Bowyer's attorney maintained during his trial he had not been the last to leave the property the night of the fire.

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